150 Amazing Facts about Space and Astronomy


150 Amazing Facts about Space and Astronomy

  1. You can't cry in space because your tears won't ever fall.
  2. It is impossible to burp in space.
  3. Humans can live unprotected in space for about 30 seconds if they don't hold their breath.
  4. Astronauts in space can't tell if their bladders are full. They are trained to relieve themselves every two hours.
  5. It is impossible to whistle in a Spacesuit.
  6. Astronauts often lose their fingernails after conducting spacewalks.
  7. Cockroaches raised in space become quicker, stronger, faster, and tougher than cockroaches on Earth.
  8. There is a water reservoir floating in space that is equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean.
  9. The footprints on the moon will be there for 100 million years.
  10. One day on Venus is about 243 Earth days.
  11. "Astronauts" come from America. Space explorers from Russia are called "cosmonauts."
  12. Astronauts on the International Space Station exercise about 2 hours per day.
  13. NASA scientists have discovered stars that are cool enough to touch.
  14. The density of Saturn is so low that if you were to put it in a giant glass of water it would float.
  15. The Milky Way is spinning at a rate of 225 kilometers per second. Also, the galaxy is traveling through space at a rate of 305 kilometers per second. This means that we are traveling at a total speed of 530 kilometers (330 miles) per second. That means that in one minute you are about 19 thousand kilometers away from where you were.
  16. The energy in the sunlight we see today started in the core of the Sun 30,000 years ago – it spent most of this time passing through the dense atoms that make the sun and just 8 minutes to reach us once it had left the Sun.
  17. If two pieces of metal touch in space, they become permanently stuck together. This may sound unbelievable, but it is true.
  18. There is a boundary that separates the black hole from the rest of the universe is called the Event Horizon.
  19. The middle layers of space suits are blown up like a balloon to press against the astronaut's body. Without this pressure, the astronaut's body would boil.
  20. The swirling gases around a black hole turn it into an electrical generator, making it spout jets of electricity billions of kilometers out into space.
  21. The opposite of black holes is estimated to be white holes that spray out the matter and light like fountains.
  22. A day in Mercury lasts approximately as long as 59 days on earth. Twice during Mercury’s orbit, it gets so close to the Sun and speeds so much that the Sun seems to go backward in the sky.
  23. Twice during Mercury’s orbit, it gets so close to the Sun and speeds so much that the Sun seems to go backward in the sky.
  24. Copernicus was the astronomer who first suggested that the Sun was the center and that the Earth went around the sun.
  25. The ideas of Copernicus came not from looking at the night sky, but from studying ancient astronomy.
  26. As the earth turns, the stars come back to the same place in the night sky every 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.09 seconds. This is a sidereal day (star day).
  27. When Neil Armstrong stepped on the Moon for the first time, he said these famous words: “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
  28. From the moon, astronauts brought back 380 kg of Moon rock.
  29. During the moon landing, a mirror was left on the Moon’s surface to reflect a laser beam which measured the Moon’s distance from the Earth with amazing accuracy.
  30. The stars in each constellation are named after a Greek alphabet.
  31. The brightest star in each constellation is called the Alpha Star, the next brightest Beta, and so on.
  32. The distance to the planets is measured by bouncing radar signals off them and timing how long the signals take to get there and back.
  33. Spacecrafts have double hulls (outer coverings) that protect them against other space objects that crash into them.
  34. Manned Spacecrafts have life support systems that provide oxygen to breathe, usually mixed with nitrogen (as in ordinary air). Charcoal filters out the smell.
  35. Spacecrafts toilets have to get rid of waste in low gravity conditions, Astronauts have to sit on a device that sucks away the waste. Solid waste is dried and dumped in space, but the water is saved.
  36. A comet’s tail is made as it nears the Sun and begins to melt. A vast plume of gas millions of kilometers across is blown out behind by the solar wind. The tail is what you see, shining as the sunlight catches it.
  37. The Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet smashed into Jupiter in July 1994, with the biggest crash ever witnessed.
  38. Giant stars have burned all their hydrogen, and so burn helium, fusing helium atoms to make carbon.
  39. The constellation of Cygnus, the Swan, contains the very biggest star in the known universe – a hypergiant which is almost a million times as big as the sun.
  40. Planet Uranus was discovered by William Herschel, who wanted to name the planet George, after King George III, but Uranus was eventually chosen.
  41. The first rockets were made 1,000 years ago in China.
  42. Robert Goddard launched the very first liquid-fuel rocket in 1926.
  43. Over 100 artificial satellites are now launched into space every year, a few of which are space telescopes.
  44. The lower a satellite’s orbit, the faster it must fly to avoid falling back to the Earth. Most satellites fly in low orbits, 300 km from the earth.
  45. Hipparchus was the first astronomer to try to work out how far away the Sun is.
  46. The red color of Mars is due to oxidized (rusted) iron in its soil.
  47. Mars’s volcano Olympus Mons is the biggest in the solar system. It covers the same area as Ireland and is three times higher than our Mount Everest.
  48. Planets have a magnetic field around them because of the liquid iron in their cores. As the planets rotate, so the iron swirls, generating electric currents that create the magnetic field.
  49. Earth’s atmosphere is the only atmosphere discovered to date that humans can breathe in.
  50. Earth’s atmosphere was formed from gases pouring out from volcanoes.
  51. Jupiter has no surface for a spacecraft to land on because it is made mostly from helium gas and hydrogen. The massive pull of Jupiter’s gravity squeezes the hydrogen so hard that it is liquid.
  52. Jupiter spins right round in less than 10 hours which means that the planet’s surface is moving at nearly 50,000 km/hr.
  53. The first successful planetary space probe was the USA’s Mariner 2, which flew past Venus in 1962.
  54. Voyager 2 has flown over 6 billion km and is heading out of the solar system after passing close to Neptune in 1989.
  55. To save fuel on journeys to distant planets, space probes may use a nearby planet’s gravity to catapult them on their way. This is called a slingshot.
  56. Hubble’s law showed that the Universe is getting bigger – and so must have started very small. This led to the idea of the Big Bang.
  57. It’s believed that it was the impact of a big meteorite may have chilled the earth and wiped out all the dinosaurs.
  58. The first astronomers thought the regular pulses from far space might be signals from aliens, and pulsars were jokingly called LGMs (short for Little Green Men).
  59. Pulsars probably result from a supernova explosion - that is why most are found in the flat disc of the Milky Way, where supernovae occur.
  60. Three moons have yet been found to have their moons: Saturn’s moon Titan, Jupiter’s Lo, and Neptune’s Triton.
  61. The largest moon in the Solar System is Jupiter’s moon Ganymede.
  62. Saturn is not solid but is made almost entirely of gas – mostly liquid hydrogen and helium. Only on the planet’s very small core is there any rock.
  63. Winds ten times stronger than a hurricane on Earth swirl around Saturn’s equator reaching up to 1100 km/h – and they never let up: even for a moment.
  64. The first space station was the Soviet Salyut 1 launched in April 1971; its low orbit meant it stayed up only five months.
  65. In April 2001, Dennis Tito became the first space tourist, ferried up to the ISS by the Russian Soyuz space shuttle.
  66. Einstein’s theory of general relativity shows that gravity not only pulls on the matter but also space and even ‘Time’ itself.
  67. Since the star Deneb is 1800 light-years away, we see it as it was when the emperor Septimus Severius was ruling Rome (AD 200).
  68. With powerful telescopes, astronomers can see galaxies 2 billion light-years away. This means we see them as they were when the only life forms on Earth were bacteria.
  69. The slowest rotating planet is Venus, which takes 243.01 days to turn around.
  70. The fastest spinning objects in the Universe are neutron stars – these can rotate 500 times in just 1 second.
  71. In summer in Uranus, the sun does not set for 20 years. In winter, darkness lasts for 20 years. In autumn, the sun rises and sets every 9 hours.
  72. Uranus’s moon Miranda is the weirdest moon of all. It seems to have been blasted apart, and then put together again.
  73. Solar flares reach temperatures of 10 million °C and have the energy of a million atom bombs.
  74. True binary stars are two stars held together by one another’s gravity, which spend their lives whirling around together like a pair of dancers.
  75. Halley predicted that a comet he had discovered would return in 1758, 16 years after his death, and it did. It was the first time a comet’s arrival had been predicted, and the comet was named after him as Halley’s Comet.
  76. Ceres is the biggest asteroid in the Solar System – 940 km across, and 0.0002% the size of the earth.
  77. The sun is about 5 billion years old and half away through its life – as a medium-sized star it will probably live for around 10 billion years.
  78. Neptune’s moon Triton is the coldest place in the Solar System, with surface temperatures of -236°C.
  79. Voyager 2 will beam back data until 2020 as it travels beyond the edges of the Solar System.
  80. The Pioneer 10 and 11 probes carry metal plaques with messages for aliens telling them about us.
  81. Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity (1905) shows that all measurements are relative, including time and speed. In other words, time and speed depend upon where you measure them.
  82. When things are falling, their acceleration cancels out gravity, which is why astronauts in orbits are weightless.
  83. The first space telescope was the Copernicus, sent out in 1972.
  84. Astronauts learn Scuba diving which helps them to deal with spacewalks.
  85. Weightlessness makes astronauts grow several centimeters during a long mission.
  86. The first living creature in space was the dog Laika on – board Sputnik 2 in 1957. Sadly, she died when the spacecraft’s oxygen supply ran out.
  87. The first manned space flight was made in April 1961 by the Soviet Cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1.
  88. The heart of a star reaches 16 million °C. A grain of sand this hot would kill someone 150 km away.
  89. Stars twinkle because we see them through the wafting of the atmosphere.
  90. The sun weighs 2,000 trillion tones – about 300,000 times as much as the Earth – even though it is made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, the lightest gases in the Universe.
  91. The sun gets hot because it is so big that the pressure in its core is so tremendous – enough to force the nuclei of hydrogen atoms to fuse to make helium atoms. This nuclear reaction is like a gigantic atom bomb and it releases huge amounts of heat.
  92. The nuclear fusion reactions in the Sun’s core send out billions of light photons every minute but they take 10 million years to reach its surface.
  93. The Hiroshima bombs released 84 trillion joules of energy. A supernova releases 125,000 trillion times as such.
  94. The most distant galaxies (quasars) have redshifts so big that they must be moving away from us at speeds approaching the speed of light.
  95. When light waves from distant galaxies are stretched out his way, they look redder. This is called the redshift.
  96. The moon’s gravity is 17% of the Earth’s so astronauts in space suits can jump 4 m high on the moon.
  97. The moon is the only other world that humans have set foot on. Because the moon has no atmosphere or wind, the footprints planted on its dusty surface in 1969 by the Apollo astronauts are still there today, perfectly preserved.
  98. On the moon’s surface are large dark patches called seas – because this is what people once believed they were. They are lava flows from ancient volcanoes.
  99. Quasars are the most distant known objects in the Universe. Even the nearest is billions of light-years away.
  100. The brightest quasar is 3C 273, 2 billion light-years away.
  101. The brightest stars in the night sky are not stars, but the planets Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Mercury.
  102. Jupiter’s moon Europa may have oceans of water beneath its dry surface and it is a major target in the search for life in the Solar System.
  103. There may be 20 trillion galaxies in the Universe.
  104. Galaxies are often found in a group or clusters. One cluster may have 30 or so galaxies in it.
  105. In the 1970s the US Vikings 1 and 2 and the Soviet Mars 3and 5 probes all reached the surface of Mars.
  106. The Solar System has nine planets including Pluto, but Pluto may be an escaped moon or an asteroid, not a planet.
  107. The Milky Way belongs to a cluster of 30 galaxies called the Local Group, which is 7 million light-years across.
  108. The Virgo Cluster is 50 million light-years away and is made up of 1000 galaxies.
  109. For a satellite or a spacecraft to stay in orbit 200 km above the earth, it has to fly over 8 km/sec.
  110. When a spacecraft reaches 140% of the orbital velocity i.e. 11.2 km/sec, it is going fast enough to break free of the Earth’s gravity. This is called escape velocity.
  111. Saturn’s rings are sets of thin rings of ice, dust, and tiny rocks, which orbit the planet around its equator.
  112. A tablespoon of neutron star would weigh about ten billion tonnes.
  113. The earth takes 365.24219 days to orbit the Sun, which is called one Solar Year. To compensate for the missing 0.242 days, the western calendar adds an extra day in February every fourth (leap) year but misses out three leap years every four centuries.
  114. X-Rays cannot reach the earth’s atmosphere, so astronomers can only detect them using space telescopes such as ROSAT.
  115. The Sun has sunspots, the dark spots on the Sun’s photosphere (surface), 2000°C cooler than the rest of the surface.
  116. After the big bang, there was antimatter, the mirror image of matter. Antimatter and matter destroyed each other when they met, thus they annihilated. Matter just won, but the Universe was left almost empty.
  117. The afterglow of the Big Bang can still be detected as microwave background radiation coming from all over space.
  118. Dishes in the space telescopes have to be made accurate two billionths of a millimeter.
  119. You can see another galaxy with the naked eye: the Andromeda Galaxy, 2.2 million light-years away.
  120. Dried up riverbeds show that Mars probably once had water on its surface. There is sometimes ice at the poles and maybe water underground.
  121. For a satellite to fly off into space, its momentum should be greater than the pull of gravity of the earth.
  122. The future of the Universe may depend on how much dark matter there is. If it is too much, its gravity will eventually stop the Universe’s expansion – and make it shrink again.

The End Notes

Why there are only 122 Facts. Because I want you to tell me some very interesting facts in the comment section below. Please do share this with your friends. Have a good one guys. Cheers!

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