100 Facts about space and beyond

Recently I have been learning about space. Here is a 100 hundred list in why space and beyond is interesting and really puts perspectives into where we are on Earth compared to everything else.

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“It suddenly struck me that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
― Neil Armstrong

  1. Space is flexible. It’s been expanding at a measurable rate since the beginning of time.
  2. The moon does more than create a gravitational pull on the ocean. It moves the land of the Earth into mountains. Records have found sea animal fossils on the mountains.
  3. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was the one to name Pluto a dwarf planet and not one of the main planets.
  4. Juipiter is so large, it blocks of asteroids and comets that would be heading in Earths direction.
  5. The first person to look into space with a telescope was Galileo, nearly 400 years ago.
  6. Soundwaves and data in the sky show information from the big bang with inferred or ultraviolet telescopes.
  7. Over 100 artificial satellites are now launched into space every year, a few of which are space telescopes.
  8. Only about 6,000 stars are visible to the naked eye from Earth, and only 2,000 can be seen from any one spot. With binoculars, the number of stars that can be seen from a single location is about 50,000. With a 2″ telescope, the total leaps to 300,000. With a 16″ telescope, you can begin to count in galaxies.
  9. Light (photons) takes 8 minutes 22 seconds to reach Earth from the surface of the sun, but 100,000 years from its core.
  10. The oldest known star is the red giant HE 1523-0901. At 13.2 billion years old, it is almost as old as the universe itself.
  11. The most luminous and massive known star is R136a1 in the Large Magellanic Cloud. It’s 8.7 million times brighter than the sun.
  12. The speed of light is a universal physical constant important in many areas of physics.
  13. Pulsars are highly magnetized, rotating neutron stars or white dwarfs. It emmits a strong beam of electromagnetic radation.
  14. The first space observatory may have been Stonehenge. Around 2600 B.C., Britons constructed stones that marked critical positions of the sun and moon throughout the year.
  15. Astronomer Carl Sagan estimated that the number of probable planets in the universe is at 10 billion trillion. But he also posited that they are so spread out that if we were randomly inserted into the universe, the chances that we would be on or near a planet would be less than one in a billion trillion trillion, or 10-33. In other words, “worlds are precious.”
  16. Theorists believe that around 98% of all the matter that exists was created with the Big Bang (helium, hydrogen, and lithium). Heavier matter such carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen emerged later.
  17. Quantum physics solves all the origins of space and time.
  18. Antimatter is real and defined as the material composed of the antiparticle to the corresponding particles of ordinary mater.
  19. The massive gravitational influence of a black hole distorts space and time in the near neighbourhood. The closer you get to a black hole, the slower time runs. Material that gets too close to a black hole gets sucked in and can never escape.
  20. Black holes were first proposed to exist in the 18th century, but remained a mathematical curiosity until the first candidate black hole was found in 1964. It was called Cygnus X-1, an x-ray source in the constellation Cygnus.
  21. Black holes do not emit radiation on their own. They are detected by the radiation given off  As material is heated in the accretion disk, and also by the black hole’s gravitational effect on other nearby objects or light passing by.
  22. The opposite of black holes are estimated to be white holes which spray out matter and light like fountains.
  23. For those flat earthers out there, in 17 Nicolaus Copernicus was the astronomer who first suggested that the Sun was the centre, and that the Earth went round the sun.
  24. If a star passes too close to a black hole, it can be torn apart and destroyed.
  25. The odds of being killed by space debris is 1 in 5 billion.
  26. The planet with the most moons in our galaxy is Jupiter with 67.
  27. The sun is the largest object in our solar system.
  28. The first artificial satelite in space was called sputnik.
  29. Uranus was originally called “George’s Star”.
  30. Red dwarf stars that are low in mass can burn continually for up to ten trillion years.
  31. Saturns moon Titan has plenty of evidence of organic life in its atmosphere.
  32. Most scientists say life’s basic chemicals formed on the Earth. The astronomer Fred Hoyle said they came from space.
  33. The full cost of a spacesuit is about $11 million although 70% of this is for the backpack and the control module.
  34. The Milky Way galaxy we live in is one among the BILLIONS in space.
  35. The Milky Way galaxy is whirling rapidly, spinning our sun and all its other stars at around 100 million km per hour.
  36. A day in Mercury lasts approximately as long as 59 days on earth.
  37. From the moon, astronauts brought back 380 kg of Moon rock.
  38. 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.
  39. The stars in each constellation are named after a Greek alphabet.
  40. Giant stars have burned all their hydrogen, and so burn helium, fusing helium atoms to make carbon.
  41. Hipparchus was the first astronomer to try to work out how far away the Sun is.
  42. The red color of Mars is due to oxidized rusted iron in its soil.
  43. 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.
  44. The U.S. space exploration program helped create the TV satellite dish, MRIs, vision screening computer systems, ear thermometers, firefighter suits made of fire-resistant fabrics, smoke detectors, cordless tools, shock absorbing helmets, invisible braces for teeth, joystick controllers, and much more.
  45. Scientists at NASA are working on the first practical field test toward proving the possibility of warp drives and faster-than-light travel. The trick is that it’s not the spaceship that is moving—it’s the space around it.
  46. A wormhole a.k.a. an Einstein-Rosen Bridge is a hypothetical ‘tunnel’ that connects two different points in space-time. In theory, at the end of a wormhole could be two universes. Some scientists speculate that our universe could be located within the interior of a wormhole, which itself is a part of a black hole that lies within a much bigger universe.
  47. The sun is not actually yellow. Because the temperature of the sun is 6,000° K (5,726.85° C, 10,340.33° F), it can be only one color: white. It appears yellow from Earth because of our atmosphere, which tints it yellow.
  48. Humans can survive 15–30 seconds in outer space as long as they breathe out before the exposure. Breathing out prevents the lungs from bursting and sending air into the bloodstream. After roughly 15 seconds, a person will become unconscious due to lack of oxygen, which leads to death by asphyxiation. It is possible that a person’s eardrums would burst or swell, or for a person to get the bends.
  49. Sixteenth-century English admiral and explorer Sir Francis Drake proposed the Drake Equation, which estimated that there could be millions of civilizations in our universe.
  50. Astronauts in space would lose about 1% of their muscle mass each month if they didn’t exercise at least 2 hours a day.
  51. After returning to Earth, many astronauts have a difficult time adjusting to gravity and often forget that things fall if you drop them
  52. Space is so dark because we can see light only when it hits an object and bounces off of it.
  53. Cosmic rays are highly energetic particles that flow throughout our solar system from deep in outer space, but astronomers are unsure of their origins.
  54. A person could never get to the edge of the universe. If someone traveled outward in a straight line indefinitely, he would come back to where he began. The reason for this is that the universe bends, in a way that astronomers can’t adequately imagine.
  55. Some scientists believe that we can look back to 10-43 seconds after the Big Bang, when the universe was so small that it could be seen only under a microscope. The number 10-43 is 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001, or one 10 million trillion trillion trillionths of a second.
  56. The Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing. This deceleration is happening almost imperceptibly, at approximately 17 milliseconds per hundred years, although the rate at which it occurs is not perfectly uniform.
  57. Earth has a powerful magnetic field. This phenomenon is caused by the nickel-iron core of the planet, coupled with its rapid rotation. This field protects the Earth from the effects of solar wind.
  58. There is only one natural satellite of the planet Earth. As a percentage of the size of the body it orbits, the Moon is the largest satellite of any planet in our solar system. In real terms, however, it is only the fifth largest natural satellite.
  59. Earth is the only planet not named after a god. The other seven planets in our solar system are all named after Roman gods or goddesses.
  60. The Earth is the densest planet in the Solar System. This varies according to the part of the planet; for example, the metallic core is denser than the crust. The average density of the Earth is approximately 5.52 grams per cubic centimetre.
  61. The Milky Way began as a series of dense regions in the early universe not long after the Big Bang. The first stars to form were in globular clusters that still exist. They are among the oldest stars formed in the Milky Way region.
  62. The Milky Way has grown by merging with other galaxies through time. It is currently acquiring stars from a very small galaxy called the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal, as well as gobbling up material from the Magellanic Clouds.
  63. The Milky Way moves through space at a velocity of about 552 kilometres per second (343 miles per second) with respect to the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation.
  64. The Milky Way’s central core contains a supermassive black hole. It is commonly referred to as Sagittarius A*. It contains the mass of about 4.3 million Suns.
  65. The stars, gas and dust of the Milky Way all orbit the centre at a rate of about 220 kilometres per second. This constant rate for all stars at different distances from the core implies the existence of a shell of dark matter surrounding our galaxy.
  66. The dark side of the moon is a myth. In reality both sides of the Moon see the same amount of sunlight however only one face of the Moon is ever seen from Earth. This is because the Moon rotates around on its own axis in exactly the same time it takes to orbit the Earth, meaning the same side is always facing the Earth. The side facing away from Earth has only been seen by the human eye from spacecraft.
  67. The rise and fall of the tides on Earth is caused by the Moon. There are two bulges in the Earth due to the gravitational pull that the Moon exerts; one on the side facing the Moon, and the other on the opposite side that faces away from the Moon, The bulges move around the oceans as the Earth rotates, causing high and low tides around the globe.
  68. The Moon is drifting away from the Earth. The Moon is moving approximately 3.8 cm away from our planet every year. It is estimated that it will continue to do so for around 50 billion years. By the time that happens, the Moon will be taking around 47 days to orbit the Earth instead of the current 27.3 days.
  69. A person would weigh much less on the Moon. The Moon has much weaker gravity than Earth, due to its smaller mass, so you would weigh about one sixth (16.5%) of your weight on Earth. This is why the lunar astronauts could leap and bound so high in the air.
  70. The Moon has only been walked on by 12 people; all American males. The first man to set foot on the Moon in 1969 was Neil Armstrong on the Apollo 11 mission, while the last man to walk on the Moon in 1972 was Gene Cernan on the Apollo 17 mission. Since then the Moon has only be visited by unmanned vehicles.
  71. The Moon has no atmosphere. This means that the surface of the Moon is unprotected from cosmic rays, meteorites and solar winds, and has huge temperature variations. The lack of atmosphere means no sound can be heard on the Moon, and the sky always appears black.
  72. The Moon has quakes. These are caused by the gravitational pull of the Earth. Lunar astronauts used seismographs on their visits to the Moon, and found that small moon quakes occurred several kilometres beneath the surface, causing ruptures and cracks. Scientists think the Moon has a molten core, just like Earth.
  73. The first spacecraft to reach the Moon was Luna 1 in 1959.
    This was a Soviet craft, which was launched from the USSR. It passed within 5995 km of the surface of the Moon before going into orbit around the Sun.
  74. The Moon is the fifth largest natural satellite in the Solar System.
    At 3,475 km in diameter, the Moon is much smaller than the major moons of Jupiter and Saturn. Earth is about 80 times the volume than the Moon, but both are about the same age.
  75. The Moon will be visited by man in the near future.
    NASA plans to return astronauts to the moon to set up a permanent space station. Mankind may once again walk on the moon in 2019, if all goes according to plan.
  76. During the 1950’s the USA considered detonating a nuclear bomb on the Moon.
    The secret project was during the height cold war was known as “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” or “Project A119” and meant as a show of strength at a time they were lagging behind in the space race.
  77. Depending on the geometry of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, there can be between 2 and 5 solar eclipses each year.
  78. A total solar eclipse can happen once every 1-2 years. This makes them very rare events.
  79. The longest a total solar eclipse can last is 7.5 minutes.
  80. The width of the path of totality is usually about 160 km across and can sweep across an area of Earth’s surface about 10,000 miles long.
  81. Almost identical eclipses occur after 18 years and 11 days. This period of 223 synodic months is called a saros.
  82. During a total solar eclipse, conditions in the path of totality can change quickly. Air temperatures drop and the immediate area becomes dark.
  83. If any planets are in the sky at the time of a total solar eclipse, they can be seen as points of light.
  84. Most meteor showers are caused by debris from comets. When Earth moves through those debris trails, we see increased numbers of comets.
  85. Two meteor showers are caused by debris shed by asteroids. The Quadrantids are very likely caused by debris from the minor planet 2003 EH1. The Geminid meteor shower comes from debris shed by asteroid 3200 Phaethon.
  86. Meteors fall to Earth during the day, although we can’t see them.
  87. It is very rare that a meteorite will strike a human being. It’s more likely that it will fall into the ocean.
  88. The best time to view a meteor shower is in the early morning hours, preferably on a dark, moonless night.
  89. Millions of meteoroids travel through Earth’s atmosphere each day.
  90. When a meteor encounters our atmosphere and is vaporized, it leaves behind a trail. That ‘burning’ meteoroid is called a meteor.
  91. Many meteor showers are associated with comets, which leave behind debris as they orbit through the solar system. Showers occur when Earth’s orbit crosses the path of a comet’s orbit.
  92. Most meteorites are one of three types: stony, stony-iron, or iron. These compositions tell us where the meteoroid existed in its parent body.  An iron or stony iron was close to the core of an asteroid, while a stony object was closer to the surface.
  93. Each day, more than 100 tons of material from asteroids and comets falls toward Earth. Most of it is destroyed by friction as it passes through our atmosphere. If something DOES hit the ground, it is known as a meteorite.
  94. While asteroid impacts were more common in the past, they aren’t as frequent today.
  95. An asteroid impact some 65 million years ago contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. It was one of several factors that affected all life on Earth at that time.
  96. Earth suffers an impact from an object the size of a football field about once every 2,000 years.
  97. A car-sized meteoroid falls into Earth’s atmosphere about once a year. The result is a beautiful fireball, but the meteoroid usually burns up before reaching the ground.
  98. Asteroids are rich in precious metals and other metals, as well as water.
  99. Some asteroids have moons of their own!
  100. Most asteroids orbit the Sun in the Asteroid Belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter.

The more I learn about space, the more interesting it gets. Do you find space and time interesting now? I hope so!

“The universe is a pretty big place. If it’s just us, seems like an awful waste of space.”
― Carl Sagan, Contact

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