Who doesn’t love a good list of shocking facts? Here are 20 Space facts you probably didn’t know.
1. Our Sun is huge!
OK, so maybe you knew this one. But did you know that the sun is 864,000 miles in diameter! You can fit 1,300,000 earths inside of it. And it is so dense that it holds 99.8% of all the mass in our solar system. But it is merely a yellow dwarf star.
2. Neutron stars are small
Neutron stars are the remnants of huge stars after they have went supernova. The remaining nucleus is around 15 miles across, but they have the mass of 1.5 times our sun! Neutron stars are the closest thing you can get to a black hole. Their gravity can be up to a million billion times the gravity on earth. They can also spin up to 600 times per second. Yet some still host exoplanets. They are capable of producing heavy elements that make up everything around us.
3. It’s quiet out there
Sound is simply the vibration of air molecules. Well the vacuum of space doesn’t have air so it’s completely silent. If you could survive in space without a space suit, a bomb could go off right next to you and there would be absolutely no sound. You would probably die from the explosion though.
4. No Moons
Mercury and Venus are the only 2 planets in our solar system that have no confirmed moons. This is a baffling fact because there are over 200 moons shared amongst the other planets and dwarf planets in the solar system.
5. Mars has the tallest mountain
Olympus Mons on Mars is the tallest mountain in the entire solar system. At 3 times taller than Mount Everest, it’s 16 miles high. If you were at the far base of the mountain, the other side of the mountain would be over the horizon.
6. The Milky Way is huge
Our home, the Milky Way galaxy is roughly 110,000 light years wide. It would take a modern day spacecraft 450 million years to travel from one side to the other. The sun only has about 22 orbits left around the galaxy before it dies.
7. Jupiter has a lot of moons
Jupiter currently has 80 moons. I say currently because astronomers are finding new ones all the time. Some of them are the size of planets themselves.
8. Pluto is tiny
Pluto is smaller than the United States. It is almost half the size of our moon.
9. Uranus is blue because it has gas
Uranus is made up of mostly hydrogen, helium, & methane in its atmosphere. The methane filters out the red light from the sun and the blue light is reflected back into space.
10. There are more stars in the sky than grains of sand on Earth
There are currently 70 sextillion stars in the observable universe. That’s 10 times the amount of sand grains on Earth. It’s true, I counted them. JWST is showing us the cosmos in even greater detail than ever before.
11. You get taller in space
Due to the lack of gravity, if you spend enough time in space your spine will elongate. But you will lose the height advantage as soon as you come back planetside.
12. The moon is leaving us
The moon moves away from the Earth about 1.5 inches per year. Causing our days to become slightly longer as the Earth’s rotation slows down. 1.4 billion years ago a day on Earth was 18 hours and 40 minutes long.
13. You can’t burp in space
With the lack of gravity in space, solids and gases can’t separate leaving astronauts in a bit of a pickle if they get gassy.
14. Ink pens don’t work in space
Ink pens work on gravity as the ink flows down to the ball point. In space this doesn’t happen so NASA had to develop a pen that would work in zero gravity. It costs millions of dollars to design. The Russians just used pencils.
15. We have 5 dwarf planets
Ever since Pluto got the shaft and was kicked out of the club. A new sub-category of planets was created. Dwarf planets are smaller planetoids that orbit the sun. The number is actually varying depending on who you ask. The number grows from 5 to 120 based on some parameters.
16. It takes 8 minutes for light to travel from the Sun to the Earth
It’s as if you looking back in time. It takes 8 minutes for the light you see outside to travel to you from the sun. Ever wander why our sky is blue on Earth?
17. The ISS is the largest artificial object in space
The International Space Station is 356 feet long and is 250 miles high. It can be see with the naked eye as it passes overhead at night.
18. The Andromeda galaxy will collide with us
In roughly 5 billion years the Andromeda galaxy will collide with the milky way galaxy to form a new, much larger galaxy called Milkdromeda.
19. Jupiter’s red spot is old
Jupiter’s famous red spot storm has been encircling the planet for more than 100 years. You can fit Earth inside of the storm easily, it is so large.
20. Black holes everywhere
The center of the Milky Way has a super massive blackhole called Sagittarius A. But a new study has concluded that there are tens of thousands of other black holes swirling around the center of the galaxy. Some are paired with other stars, some wander around by themselves.