20 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SPACE
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
By M. Birundha, IV year M.B.B.S., JSS Medical College, Mysore
1. Earth is the only planet that wasn’t named after a god or goddess:
The name ‘Earth’ is derived from English and German words ‘ertha’ and ‘erde’ respectively, which means ‘ground’.
2. Due to the Sun and Moon’s gravitational pull, we have tides:
Newton’s law of universal gravitation states that the gravitational attraction between two bodies is directly proportional to their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the bodies. Therefore, the greater the mass of the objects and the closer they are to each other, the greater the gravitational attraction between them. Although the Sun is 27 million times greater than the Moon, it is 390 times far away from the Earth than the Moon. So, the moon is the dominant force affecting the Earth’s tides more than the Sun. Hence, the tides are larger in the night time than the day time.
3. If a star passes too close to a black hole, it can be torn apart:
If a star passes close enough to a black hole, it will be sucked in and torn apart. This event will happen once in 1,00,000 years.
4. The weight of the Sun is about 3,30,000 times more than the Earth:
The Earth could fit inside the Sun about 13,00,000 times over. The Sun contains 99.85% of all mass in our Solar System.
5. 4.571 billion years old:
Our Solar System is around 4.571 billion years old. It was said that the Sun was formed from a giant rotating cloud of gas and dust known as the ‘Solar Nebula’. It was estimated that in about 5 billion years, our Sun will expand becoming a Red Giant and in about 7.5 billion years the expanding surface will engulf our Earth.
6. Milky Way Galaxy is 1,05,700 light-years wide:
One light-year is the distance travelled by the light in one year. The speed of light is 3,00,000 km/s. It would take 1,05,700 light-years to travel across the Milky Way Galaxy.
7. By naked eye you can see 3-7 different galaxies:
By naked eye from Earth, we can see the Andromeda Galaxy, Milky Way Galaxy, Triangulum Galaxy, Omega Centauri Galaxy and Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy.
8. The black hole is 3 million times than the Earth:
The first-ever black hole was captured by the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of eight linked telescopes in April 2019. The black hole was 310 million trillion miles from the Earth and it looks like a halo of dust and gas.
9. The centre of the Milky Way smells like rum and tastes like raspberries:
The IRAM radio telescope detected a chemical called ‘ethyl formate’ which gives rum its distinct smell and raspberries their distinct flavour.
10. No atmosphere in the Moon:
Since there is no atmosphere on the moon, there is no wind to blow. So the footprints left on the Moon won’t disappear as there is no wind.
11. Enceladus reflects 90% of the Sun’s light:
Enceladus is one of Saturn’s moons. Its surface is made up of ice, the temperature reaches as low as -201o Celsius. The icy surface of the Enceladus reflects 90% of the Sun’s light.
12. Olympus Mons is the highest mountain:
The Olympus Mons is located on Mars. Its peak is 25 km, nearly 3 times higher than Mount Everest.
13. Only 5% of the Universe is visible:
Even with the telescope, we are able to see only 5% of the universe from the Earth. Because 68% of the Universe is dark energy and 27% is dark matter.
14. It would take 258 days to drive around Saturn’s ring:
The Saturn’s rings are 1,75,000 miles long and 3,200 ft. thick. If we travel 75 miles/ hour on the Saturn’s ring, it would take 258 days to travel across its rings.
15. A season on the Uranus is equivalent to 21 years on the Earth:
For Earth, it takes 365 days to complete one orbit around the Sun but for Uranus, it takes 84 years to complete one orbit around the Sun. Thus each season on the Uranus lasts 21 years on the Earth.
16. Saturn is the only planet that could float in water:
Saturn is the second-largest planet in the Solar System while Jupiter is the first. Even though it is the second planet, Saturn is the lightest planet! It could float in water because it is mostly made up of gas.
17. ISS circles Earth every 92 minutes:
The International Space Station circles Earth every 92 minutes. The speed of the ISS is 17,150 miles/hour; it equals 5 miles/sec.
18. Sunset on Mars is blue:
Mars has less than 1% of the earth’s atmosphere. The sunset on Mars appears as blue.
19. Triton orbits backwards:
Triton is one of Neptune's moons. It is the largest moon any of the plants has. It orbits Neptune backwards, astronomers are unsure as to why Triton orbits Neptune this way.
20. Buzz light-year to outer space:
Buzz light-year from Toy story spent 15 months on the International Space Station and returned to Earth on September 11, 2009.