Today we are getting out of this world with this post on fun facts about space. It is perhaps the most fascinating thing we all see regularly, which still defies logical understanding. It is so vast that we would never hope to explore all of it in our lifetimes.
Its age and size are so incomprehensible that we would have more questions than answers about the true nature of space. And if most of us will never leave the gravity of Earth to experience it, we can still see it through the photos, videos, and firsthand accounts of astronauts. And, of course, the scientists are looking up from their telescopes.
Wishing on a Shooting Star: What are they?
A shooting star is another name for a meteor caught under Earth’s gravitational pull and entered the atmosphere. The speed it travels causes the air friction to build up around the object burning it up like a sparkler. Most will turn to dust before they reach the ground, and all create this beautiful display of a shooting star with a tail as it pulses through the sky.
What Are Comets?
A comet is a celestial object that flies around space, often drawn by the gravity of a larger body such as a star or planet. It is usually a hunk of ice and dust which leaves a trail of dust particles in its wake giving it a distinctive appearance separating it from a regular meteorite.
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How Did We Land a Man on the Moon?
On the 20th of July 1969, NASA landed a man on the moon. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed safely on the lunar surface in their Apollo capsule.
The computer systems were state of the art, but being the first to do something meant that there were still a lot of unknowns about space travel. When in space, the module was placed on autopilot to guide them to the moon, then once there, Buzz took over the manual drive.
The research to get to the moon took over eight years, over ten different missions to test systems and a team of over 400,000 engineers. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, it cost 150 Billion dollars in today’s money.
How they managed to get to the Moon is astounding and would need a post all on its own to explain, but this image above gives you a basic idea of ‘how’ in the physical sense.
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How are Planets Formed?
Planets form as particles of dust and rock evolve around a larger celestial body such as a star. These particles stick together and, over time, become planets and solid structures glued together by their mass. When they are large enough, they will attract moons similarly to how our sun attracts planets.
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What are ‘Stars’ Exactly?
Stars are the twinkling things we see in the sky at night and our sun. There are many types of stars, and their sizes vary drastically.
So what are they? Stars are hydrogen and helium that ‘churn nuclear forges in their cores’. Stars produce soo much light and heat that they can cast radiance light-years, galaxies, and universes away. They give life to the planet of Earth.
So how old is our star? Our old friend is 4.5 billion years old, and she is only a third of the age of our galaxy (the Milky Way). Furthermore, she is a yellow dwarf star, which makes her tiny compared to the largest star, UY Scuti (a hypergiant that is 1,7000 times larger than our sun).
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How Old is the Universe and What Caused the ‘Big Bang’?
The known universe is roughly 13.8 billion years old and started with an event theorized as ‘The Big Bang’. So what is it, and how do we know how old space is?
The Big Bang is a theoretical event that states that all we know began as a single point of matter from which the universe started to expand. This expansion grew at a specific rate out of that point and developed into the universe as it stands today. This expansion is still occurring as we move further and further away from the place of birth.
Astronomers can measure the age of the universe through two methods. Firstly, by looking for the oldest stars and, based on their type, predict how far they are through their lifecycles. Secondly, measuring the universe's rate of expansion out from the Big Bang from out of the point of origin.
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How Far Have We Travelled into Space?
Voyager 1 went up into space in 1977 and is the furthest manufactured vessel ever sent out into space. It is still drifting further and further away from Earth, sending back signals intermittently as it passes out of the edge of our solar system.
For a crewed mission, Apollo 13 travelled to the moon in 1970, but due to a range of problems that ultimately led to the loss of their lives, they travelled 250,000 miles in total.
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Meteorites and the Death of Dinosaurs
Meteorites are chunks of space rock primarily made of heavy iron minerals. They fall to Earth on a semi-regular basis and often burn up in the atmosphere with minimal damage, but sometimes in Earth’s four billion-year-old history, they are so big they kill large percentages of life. For instants, the death of the dinosaurs came 66 million years ago when the K-T event created an unimaginable crater easily the size of New York state.
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A Moon Made of Oil
With all these issues around oil prices and worry about the fact that one day soon the Earth will run out of oil. Why not find a moon that has liquid oil oceans? Saturn’s largest moon, Tinian, could be the solution to this problem. Although it could take some time to get to the Earth-like body as it is many leagues away. But when we get there, it even has an atmosphere which might remind us a little of home for comfort.
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How Cold is Space?
The question of how cold space is depends on how close you are to a star. Viewing a star an arm's width away, you’ll be burnt to a crisp. But if you are in the depths of space with no close star except the distant dreams of warmth, you’ll be frozen solid within the hour. The average background radiation of space temperatures is 2.73 Kelvin (-270.42 Celsius, -454.75 Fahrenheit).
Can You Hear Sound in Space?
The short answer is no. In the vacuum of space, there are no particles or air for the sound waves to bounce across. Sound is vibrating air, so if a part of space does not have air, no sound can be made or heard. So those movies of exploding space ships and pulsing lasers are fictional.
What Would Happen if a Body Floated in Space?
In the vacuum of space, you will die within twenty seconds of exposure. If the cold does not get to you first, your blood will become clogged with air bubbles, and you will die from asphyxiation. Even if you did hold your breath, your body is not adapted for the extreme colds and lack of oxygen.
What Are Black Holes?
These holes are a space where gravity is so great that neither light, matter, nor radiation can escape. What makes the gravity so strong is it is being pushed into a tiny region that causes it to pull all other space around it.
So what causes them? When a great star dies into a supernova, they sometimes transform into a black hole. It occurs when the star blasts parts of itself into space, causing a reaction.
What are Nebulae?
A nebula can rarely be seen with the naked eye, but when you put a powerful camera up to the heavens, you can spot them with a wide lens! They are a cloud of dust and particles in the depths of space and are the nurseries for new stars.
Are Wormholes Real?
So short answer, maybe, but not naturally occurring. No one has been able to make one yet, which is supported by the currently accepted theory of how the universe is made up. So maybe one day soon, they will have a working way of creating a portal between universes or shortcuts to other parts of our own?
The universe is truly amazing, and I got a little caught up in my research for this post. I love space and the endless possibilities that came from looking out into the heavens, hoping for the contact between aliens, and seeing strange unknowns. With each discovery or every new rocket launch, it fills me with excitement and hope for the future of our planet.
Check out our other articles like this:It just so happens that I am writing this post when the heir to the Hubble Telescope was set to release new pictures of space clearer than ever before. Check out: NASA’s Webb Delivers Deepest Infrared Image of Universe Yet | NASA