It’s easy to get lost in fantasy worlds through science fiction movies and novels, but did you know that some of your favorite mythical creatures actually exist? From dwarfs and supergiants to ghosts and invisibility cloaks, the cosmos is home to a multitude of mystical objects.
White Dwarf Stars
With names like LSPM J0207+3331 and ASASSN-16oh, these dwarfs may not be fit to accompany the likes of Happy and Sneezy. White dwarf stars represent one of three final stages of stellar evolution, along with neutron stars and black holes. Each star’s mass determines which one it will ultimately become.
Our Sun will eventually become a white dwarf when it exhausts its fuel, but don’t worry - we’ve got over four billion years’ worth left! Before it is reduced to a white dwarf it will actually expand into a red giant, swelling out to encompass Earth’s orbit. But in some cases, stars start out as giants...
Taller than trees? These giants can be over 100,000x taller than our entire planet! Supergiant stars are likely decreasing in numbers as time goes on; while scientists believe they used to be more common, our whole galaxy now contains just a small smattering of supergiants.
These massive stars grace the galaxy for a relatively small amount of time. They burn through their fuel extremely quickly - just a few million years, as opposed to a hundred billion years for small stars! Supergiants end their lives in dramatic explosions called supernovas.
Ghostly Solar Neutrinos
Even an average star like our Sun has some ghoulish qualities. Each second, it sends billions of phantom-like neutrinos out into space. They travel almost as fast as light and don’t usually interact with normal matter - billions of them are going straight through your body while you read this!
Galactic Invisibility Cloak
Extensive clouds of dust enshroud the heart of the Milky Way Galaxy, making it completely hidden from view - at least when it comes to visible light. The dust isn’t a problem for infrared light, however, which has allowed us to get a glimpse of our galaxy’s violent core thanks to the Hubble and Spitzer telescopes.