Ah, space. It’s the final frontier — and perhaps the eeriest one, too.
A number of social media users each shared the “scariest space fact/mystery” they could think of after a recent prompt on the “Ask Reddit” forum. The results have been about as spooky as you’d expect.
Here are a few of the top responses — make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground before reading.
The Kessler Effect
“The Kessler Effect is the theory that a single destructive event in low earth orbit could create a cascade where satellites break up into tiny fragments taking out other satellites, breaking up into smaller fragments and so on, until the earth is completely surrounded by a massive cloud of tiny flying death shrapnel which would make leaving this planet almost impossible,” one user wrote.
The Speed of Light
“I’ve seen videos showing the scale of the universe before, but this one really hit home for some reason,” another user wrote. “The speed of light, the fastest speed possible, looks painfully slow when you look at it in the context of even a fraction of our solar system. We’re stuck here, aren’t we?”
One user explained vacuum decay, or “the most efficient way to destroy a planet.”
“Matter, as it is, isn’t in its full resting state, and a little surge of energy could shift it enough to completely change chemistry and physics in our universe,” they wrote. “It’s been theorized that there are already these vacuum ‘bubbles’ in space racing out at the speed of light. It’s basically death on god mode.”
Gamma Ray Bursts
“We could be hit by one of these with very little warning, and if it was reasonably close (in universal terms anyway) could wipe us out rapidly or cause a ton of damage,” one user wrote.
According to a study conducted by Arizona State University, the explosions are extremely powerful. A typical one releases as much energy in seconds as the sun will in its entire 10-billion-year lifetime.
The Carrington Event
Finally, a Redditor who claimed to be an astronomer offered “something to worry about” that could reasonably happen in our lifetimes.
“May I introduce you to the Carrington Event of 1859? Basically, Carrington was a scientist who noticed a flash from a huge cluster of sunspots, which was the biggest coronal mass ejection from the sun ever recorded (aka a ton of material ejected from the sun at high speeds). It hit Earth within a day- aurora were seen as far south as Hawaii, wires on telephone poles burst into flame, and telegraph operators even reported contacting each other when not connected,” they wrote. ” If a similar event were to strike Earth today, it would cause billions of dollars in damage, because blown transformers are super hard to replace and a lot of satellites wouldn’t be able to handle it.”
A Reddit user aptly summarized how we felt after reading this thread post.
“I came to feel metaphorically scared, not actually scared … s***,” they wrote.
If you enjoyed this story, you might also like reading about what black holes actually are.
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