Humans have studied and explored our universe for thousands of years. We have learned a great deal about our planet and the universe as a whole from these studies, but there is still so much more to discover. That is what makes Astronomy such a fun and interesting field of study. It seems as though each week there is a new breakthrough, discovery, or change of belief related to space. What we have learned so far is certainly amazing as it is interesting, beautiful, and sometimes pretty strange. Here are 10 astronomy facts that show how astounding our universe truly is.
1) Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, can reach temperatures of -280 degrees fahrenheit. This is because the planet has almost no atmosphere, therefore, there is nothing to trap heat near the surface.
2) The Sun is 400 times larger than the moon but they look the same size because the moon is actually 500 times further away from earth than the sun.
3) Looking into space is like looking back in time. This is because light from distant stars and galaxies take so long to reach us that we are actually seeing objects as they appeared hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years ago.
4) Every second the core of the Sun releases the equivalent amount of energy to 100 billion nuclear bombs.
5) Scientists believe that we can only see around 5% of the matter in the Universe. The rest is composed of invisible Dark Matter (25%) and a mysterious form energy called Dark Energy (70%).
6) All of the planets are the same age: 4.544 billion years.
7) Shooting stars are actually tiny dust particles falling through our atmosphere. Comets that pass through Earth’s orbit will leave trails of dust behind. WHen Earth moves through the dust in its path, the particles heat up, creating the streaks in the night sky.
8) Saturn would actually float if it were placed in water.
9) Mercury orbits the sun once every 88 Earth days. So 1 year on Mercury is equal to 88 Earth days. But a day on Mercury is longer than an Earth day. So 1 Mercury day lasts for 59 Earth Days.
10) Saturn’s moon Titan, has liquid oceans of natural gas.