The pages of astronomy books are filled with ancient secrets. Thanks to advances in technology, experts can now look back and solve some of the most enigmatic space puzzles ever. From the sudden appearance of a “star” 900 years ago over China to the fact of Wow’s famous sign, here are ten cosmic mysteries that have finally been cracked.
Related: 10 historical photos taken from space
10 Lost iron meteorites in Antarctica
There are some space mysteries on Earth. One of these mysteries can be found in Antarctica. This frosty corner of the globe is where most meteorites are recovered. This abundance has nothing to do with the location but rather the color differences. It is easier to detect dark cosmic debris on the white expanse of this region than in places with forests or sand dunes.
Thousands of space rocks enter our atmosphere every year, so one would think that every type of meteorite could be found in Antarctica. not like that. The snow-covered continent is strangely devoid of iron meteorites.
The mystery persisted for decades until 2016. That year, British researchers released a study that suggested Antarctica had plenty of iron meteorites — they’re well hidden. Their iron content ensures that these meteorites get hotter than other space rocks when they enter our atmosphere. Once they hit ice or snow, they’ll burrow beneath the surface (melting their way down, really) and completely disappear from view. Antarctica may hold a treasure trove of iron-rich meteorites. We just can’t see them.
9 No green comet tails
Astronomers have never recorded a green-tailed comet. This was strange because many comets develop radiant green heads as they fly close to the sun. What was stopping the color from spreading to their tails? Interestingly, this question has been unresolved for 90 years.
Since the 1930s, researchers have suspected that dicarbon could explain the whole thing. Dicarbonate is a chemical that forms when organic matter at the head of a comet reacts with sunlight, causing its green color. Unfortunately, sunlight also destroys dicarbon, which may explain why the chemical doesn’t survive long enough to reach a comet’s tail.
In 2021, this theory was proven amazingly. Scientists had to recreate the process, and this was not an easy task. Dicarbonate is only found in extreme places (like space), and it is also a volatile chemical. For the first time in the world, they created Dicarbon, and while inside a vacuum chamber, it was connected to gas and lasers to simulate conditions in space. The laser, in particular, demonstrated that the sun’s radiation ripped off the carbon dioxide before turning the comet’s tail green.
8 Jovian Lightning’s Secret
Ancient astronomers assumed for centuries that the solar system’s largest planet had illumination, but this wasn’t confirmed until 1979 when NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft smashed into Jupiter. However, apart from confirming the old suspicion, Voyager 1 also discovered that Jovian illumination appears only near the planet’s poles. In comparison, the illumination of the Earth is more common among the equator.
It took another flight to understand why lighting bolts avoid Jupiter’s diaphragm like the plague. In recent years, the Juno spacecraft orbited Jupiter and learned that heat is the reason why lightning never strikes the planet’s equator.
Earth picks up the brunt of the sun’s warmth around the equator that fuels the rising hot air—the very thing that lightning needs to create. The process is reflected on Jupiter in a strange way. Once the sun’s rays make Jupiter’s equator warm, the world’s upper atmosphere settles in a way that prevents warm air from rising. For this reason, lighting hits freely at the poles where there is no atmospheric stability, and heat from inside the planet pushes hot air upwards.
7 strange light show
In 2022, the James Webb Telescope sent an impressive image to Earth. Show a bright light in the center of several rings. The cut out of the rings was eight spines of light radiating from the center outwards, roughly creating a spider web effect. When the strange but beautiful photo hit social media, people had one question, “What the hell is this?”
The researchers soon determined that the spikes were a “mistake” on the part of the telescope. They tend to produce such anomalies when photographing bright objects in space. Since the ripples weren’t real, this left unusual concentric circles around the star.
A closer look revealed that the “light” came from two stars. They circled each other in an eight-year cycle, and every time the stars got close to each other and moved away again, that’s the moment they produced dust and threw another ring.
6 glowing dots
In the year 2000, astronomers found a strange space… something. Billions of light-years from Earth floated point. It was the size of a galaxy, as glowing as a single galaxy. But here’s the mystery – the giant space bubble had no stars, only hydrogen gas. So, what made her shine so brilliantly?
Finally, about 30 points were discovered at the end. However, their light source was only revealed after dozens of astronomers, countless telescopes and advanced simulations gathered. Unexpectedly, the stars were involved – but in a very unusual way.
As it turns out, these giant orbs are star factories. In the depths of stellar spheres, new stars are being produced at a rate 100 times faster than those born in our Milky Way. For some reason, nearby galaxies also pour star-forming material into chaos. But the actual light comes from the moment new stars are born. At that moment, the stars release a burst of bright ultraviolet light, which is scattered in hydrogen gas, causing the dot to glow.
5 A 900-year-old puzzle
In the year 1181, Japanese and Chinese astronomers noticed a difference in the night sky. A new light appeared, it was as bright as Saturn, and it remained for six months. The description given by early stargazers to modern researchers provided ample reason to believe that they were describing a supernova. This celestial explosion became very popular in the scientific community, mostly because no one was able to find any trace of it.
In 2021, nearly 900 years after the mystery of the lost supernova began, the origins of the so-called “Chinese guest star” were finally discovered. Ancient reports said that the light appeared between the Chinese zodiacs of Huajai and Quanxi. In this region, it was believed that a star and a nebula formed when two white dwarf stars merged. Such an event is known to trigger a supernova, and the location and description of the light and age of the nebula fit the events of 1181.
4 At the time when I receded betel Gemini
Stargazers are very familiar with Orion. This star constellation is also known as “The Hunter,” Betelgeuse is the super red giant that marks Orion’s eastern shoulder. The star is among the brightest in the night sky, so when it suddenly dimmed in September 2019, astronomers quickly noticed. The fading lasted for a while, and by February 2020, Betelgeuse had waned by an unprecedented 35 percent.
Although the star had regained its former brilliance, the experts were puzzled. No one can explain why the red giant “eyelashes”. Putting best guesses on the table, the researchers hypothesized that the dimming was the result of a cloud of dust or a drop in temperature. During a multinational effort, researchers combed through observatory data and satellite images and realized that both theories were correct.
Betelgeuse had released a huge cloud of gas from its guts, but until the photosphere of the star began to cool down until the gas condensed into dust. This dusty atmosphere temporarily blocked the starlight. 
3 fiery lunar image
In 1953, Dr. Leon Stewart of Oklahoma photographed an event on the moon. He thought that the giant fireball he captured was a column of vaporized rock. If true, this would make him the first person to witness and document the moon’s influence. It became known as the “Stuart event,” but no one, not even astronauts or space probes, was able to find the crater.
However, the image established that something had happened on the moon in 1953. In 2003, NASA researchers analyzed the image and calculated that the object would leave a new-looking crater up to 1.24 miles (2 kilometers) wide. Taking cues from the lunar landscape, they searched a network of about 22 miles (35 kilometres) using images taken in 1994 by the lunar-orbiting Clementine spacecraft.
Incredibly, the NASA team found the Stewart crater. It was smaller, 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers) wide, but it was new, had the right look, and was also in the middle of the famous photo. The size of the crater also matches the estimated energy generated by the impact, which would have been 35 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.
2 Impossible Twin Galaxies
No two galaxies are alike. With this rule in mind, scientists were blown away when they discovered two identical galaxies in 2013. The pair sat next to each other, making it immediately apparent that they were eerily similar. The strange phenomenon became known as the Hamilton Object.
No theory made sense until someone suggested, in 2015, that gravitational lenses might be responsible. This rare phenomenon is madness. When large celestial bodies line up in a row, they can actually bend light and spacetime in such a way that when astronomers view objects through telescopes, they appear closer than they really are. Oftentimes, they also produce mirages for themselves. Results? The illusion that two identical bodies are sitting side by side.
When researchers looked closely at the formation that may have caused the Hamilton object, they discovered that between the Earth and its “twins” sits a massive cluster of galaxies. The latter causes the ripple effect, but in fact, the Hamilton object is a single spiral galaxy.
1 wow signal origins
In 1977, a legendary mystery was born. Astronomer Jerry Iman picked up radio waves from space that weren’t like anything he (or anyone else, for that matter) had seen before. He wrote “Wow!” Next to the printed sign and the name is stuck. Even today, Wow’s signal is described as evidence of alien contact or, at least, an unsolved mystery. In fact, the assets were actually discovered in 2017.
Researchers from St. Petersburg College suspected that comets might be the culprit. More specifically, a pair called 266P/Christensen and 335P/Gibbs. Both are coated with clouds of hydrogen gas. These details are important because hydrogen naturally emits 1420MHz. This was the same radio frequency emitted by the “alien” signal.
The telescope that picked up the Wow signal was pointing to a specific group of stars in the constellation Sagittarius, and both comets were confirmed to be in the region at that time. A closer look also revealed that 266/P Christensen was likely the comet that sparked the 40-year-old mystery. When its radio signals were compared to those of the Wow Signal, they were identical.
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