There’s no questioning the fact that the universe is weird. Just look outside and you’ll see all manner of strange, self-reproducing flora and fauna, crawling upon a blue ball of semimolten rock covered in a thin, hard shell and blanketed by a tenuous film of gases. Yet our own planet represents a tiny fraction of the peculiar phenomena that can be found lurking throughout the cosmos, and every day astronomers turn up new surprises. In this gallery, we take a look at some of the most outlandish objects in space.
The strongest substance in the universe forms from the leftovers of a dead star. According to simulations, protons and neutrons in a star’s shriveled husk can be subject to insane gravitational pressure, which squeezes them into linguini-like tangles of material that would snap — but only if you applied to them 10 billion times the force needed to shatter steel.