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Facts about the Solar System that will Blow Your Mind

What do you think about when you look up at the stars? Is it possible that we are not alone? What about the vastness of it all? There’s a lot to be curious about in space. The truth is that we don’t have all of the answers. We know it’s vast and beautiful, but we’re not sure how vast it is (or how beautiful, for that matter). While most of us are stuck on Earth, we are fortunate to have a relatively clear atmosphere. This allows us to observe changes in the sky by looking up. The ancients observed planets moving across the sky, as well as occasional visitors such as comets. Some of what we do know, on the other hand, is truly mind-boggling. We’ve compiled a list of some of the most amazing facts about the solar system so that when you look up at the stars, you can be even more awestruck by what you’re seeing.

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

Thousands of years ago, most people believed that the stars determined our fate. Today, however, we can see science at work in our own planets of solar system, asteroids, and comets. So, why look at the Solar System? What can we learn from it? The solar system is a strange place, with its alien planets, mysterious moons, and strange phenomena that defy explanation. Scientists have discovered ice-spewing volcanoes on Pluto, and Mars has a canyon the size of the United States. There could even be a massive, undiscovered planet lurking beyond Neptune. Continue reading to learn some of the strangest facts about the solar system, dwarf planets, comets, and other incredible objects.

Mercury is dying

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

Mercury, like Earth, is subject to tectonic activity. Photographs of the planet’s surface show that it is changing. The planet has a solid inner core that is surrounded by a liquid metal outer core that is cooling. Every rocky planet is still cooling from the time it first formed. As the liquid parts of Mercury’s core solidify, the planet contracts, resulting in land shifting and a smaller planet overall.

Uranus is tilted on its side

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

One of the interesting facts about solar system is that Uranus is tilted from its axis. Uranus appears to be a featureless blue ball at first glance, but upon closer inspection, this gas giant of the outer solar system is quite strange. For starters, the planet rotates on its side for reasons that scientists are still trying to figure out. The most likely explanation is that it was involved in one or more titanic collisions in the distant past. In any case, tilt of Uranus distinguishes it from the other planets in the solar system. Uranus also has hazy rings, which were confirmed when the planet passed in front of a star in 1977; as the light of a star flashed on and off repeatedly, astronomers realized there was more to it than just a planet blocking its starlight.

Recently, astronomers discovered storms in atmosphere of Uranus, several years after the planet’s closest approach to the sun, when the atmosphere would have been the hottest.

Neutron stars can spin at a rate of 600 rotations per second

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

Neutron stars are one of the evolutionary possibilities for high mass stars. They are born in a core-collapse supernova star explosion and rotate extremely quickly as a result of their physics. After birth, neutron stars can rotate up to 60 times per second. Under certain conditions, this rate can reach more than 600 times per second.

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There is no sound in space

To travel, sound waves require a medium. Because there is no atmosphere in space, the realm between stars will always be deafeningly quiet. However, worlds with atmospheres and air pressure allow sound to travel, which is why there is a lot of noise on Earth and probably other planets as well.

Footprints can remain for 100 million years on moon

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

Facts about the solar system: The footprints of the Apollo astronauts on the moon will most likely remain there for at least 100 million years. Because there is no atmosphere of moon, there is no wind or water to erode or wash away the Apollo astronauts’ mark. That means their footprints, rover prints, spaceship prints, and discarded materials will be preserved for a very long time on the moon. They will not, however, remain there indefinitely. The moon is still a changing environment. It is constantly bombarded with “micrometeorites,” which means that erosion is still occurring on the moon, albeit slowly.

We’re not even close to the center of the galaxy

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

We can measure vast distances across the universe by looking at “standard candles” — exploding stars that all have the same luminosity, making it easier to predict how far they are from us. In any case, based on our surroundings, we’ve determined that we’re not near the center of the Milky Way galaxy. According to NASA, we’re about 165 quadrillion miles away from the center supermassive black hole, which is probably a good thing.

The sun accounts for 99% of the mass of solar system

Our star, the sun, is so dense that it accounts for 99 percent of the total mass of our solar system. That is how it is able to exert gravitational dominance over all of the planets. Our sun is a “G-type main-sequence star,” which means it fuses approximately 600 million tons of hydrogen to helium every second. As a byproduct, it converts approximately 4 million tons of matter to energy. When the sun dies, it will envelop the Earth and everything on it as a red giant. Don’t worry, that won’t happen for another 5 billion years.

Venus has extremely powerful winds

Venus is a hellish planet with a high-pressure, high-temperature environment on its surface. When ten of the Soviet Union’s heavily shielded Venera spacecraft landed on its surface in the 1970s, they only lasted a few minutes. However, the planet’s environment is strange even above its surface. Its upper winds are 50 times faster than the planet’s rotation, according to scientists. The European Venus Express spacecraft (which orbited the planet between 2006 and 2014) observed periodic variations in the winds over long periods of time. It also discovered that the hurricane-force winds appeared to be strengthening over time.

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There is water ice all over the place

One of an interesting facts about the solar system is the presence of ice. Water ice was once thought to be a rare substance in space, but we now know that we simply weren’t looking in the right places. In fact, water ice can be found throughout the solar system. Ice, for example, is a common component of comets and asteroids. But we all know that not all ice is created equal. Close inspection of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, for example, revealed a different type of water ice than found on Earth.

Facts about the solar system: Having said that, we’ve discovered water ice all over the solar system. It’s found in permanently shadowed craters on Mercury and the moon, but we don’t know if there’s enough to support colonies there. Mars also has ice at its poles, in the form of frost and possibly beneath the surface dust. Ice can be found on even the smallest bodies in the solar system, including Jupiter’s moon Europa, Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and the dwarf planet Ceres.

A lead block on Venus would melt like an ice block on earth

The temperature on the surface of Venus from the sun is around 900°F. Even spacecraft sent to Venus are unable to survive the environment for long. For example, the Soviet Union’s Venera 13 craft landed on Venus in 1982 and lasted about two hours. Venera, on the other hand, was able to send back the first color images of the planet and analyze some of its soil before it was destroyed.

Diameter of Pluto is less than United States

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

The longest distance across the contiguous United States is nearly 2,900 miles, stretching from Northern California to Maine (about 4,700 km). Pluto is now known to be 1,473 miles (2,371 km) across, less than half the width of the United States, thanks to the New Horizons spacecraft launched in 2015. It is certainly much smaller in size than any major planet, which may help to explain why the International Astronomical Union downgraded Pluto’s status from major planet to dwarf planet in 2006.

The Solar System has been around for 4.6 billion years

One of the interesting facts about solar system is its age. The solar system is 4.6 billion years old, and 99.86 percent of its mass is contained in our Sun, a rotating yellow dwarf star whose powerful gravity causes numerous objects, including planets, moons, comets, asteroids, meteoroids, dust, and gas, to revolve around it in nearly circular orbits.

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It takes 8 minutes for sunlight to reach Earth

The Earth is 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from the Sun, a distance known to astronomers as an astronomical unit (AU). Sunlight, travelling at the speed of light (186,282 miles per second), can cover this vast distance in about 8 minutes and 20 seconds.

Planets are made of either rock or gas

Facts about the solar system: Our eight planets in solar system are divided into two groups: the inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, which are mostly made of rock and metal, and the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, which are mostly made of hydrogen, helium, and other gases. Despite the fact that they are referred to as gas giants, intense heat and pressure in their cores cause their gases to compress into liquid metal or rock.

Jupiter has the largest ocean of any planet

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

Jupiter is basically composed of metallic hydrogen and it orbits the sun five times farther than Earth. It retained much higher levels of hydrogen and helium when it formed than our planet. In fact, Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen and helium. Given the planet’s mass and chemical composition, physics demands that pressures rise beneath the cold cloud tops to the point where hydrogen must turn to liquid. In fact, there should be a vast ocean of liquid hydrogen on the planet. Not only is this the largest ocean known in the solar system, but it is also about 25,000 miles (40,000 km) deep – roughly the same depth as the Earth!

The size of red spot of Jupiter changes

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

Red spot of Jupiter is sometimes larger than Earth. The red spot is a storm with winds of up to 400 miles per hour that heats the atmosphere above it to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit, and its size varies.

The sun sends more energy to Earth every hour than the planet uses in a year

For the past 15 years, the use of solar energy has increased at a rate of 20% per year. According to Yale Environment 360, the world added 30% more solar energy capacity in 2017, resulting in the production of 98.9 giga tons of solar energy that year. Despite its apparent size, this amount of energy only accounts for 0.7 percent of the world’s annual electricity consumption.

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Two metal pieces in space can attach permanently

If two pieces of the same metal come into contact in space, they will bond and become permanently bonded together; this amazing effect is known as cold welding. The atoms of the individual pieces of metal have no way of knowing that they are different pieces of metal, so the lumps join together. This would not happen on Earth because the pieces are separated by air and water. The effect has far-reaching implications for spacecraft design and the future of metal-based construction in vacuum environments.

Water can found two moons of Saturn

Facts about the solar system: Enceladus, Saturn’s moon, has an entire ocean made of salt water. In 2018, scientists discovered complex organic molecules on Enceladus, indicating that it may or may not contain life. That is why there are plans to send a mission there to investigate. Titan, Saturn’s second moon with water, also has carbon-containing chemicals, which is another encouraging sign for life. Researchers looking for life in other parts of space are intrigued by any location that contains both water and carbon-containing chemicals.

We live within the sun

Facts about the Solar System that will Blow your Mind

Normally, we think of the sun as a large, hot ball of light located 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) away. The outer atmosphere of sun, however, extends far beyond its visible surface. Our planet orbits within this tenuous atmosphere, as evidenced by the Northern and Southern Lights caused by solar wind gusts. In that sense, we are unquestionably living inside the sun. The solar atmosphere, however, does not end at Earth. Auroras have been observed on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and even Neptune, which is a long way away. The outer solar atmosphere, known as the helio-sphere, is thought to extend for at least 100 A.U. That equates to nearly ten billion miles (16 billion km). Because of the sun’s motion in space, the atmosphere is likely teardrop shaped, with the “tail” extending tens to hundreds of billions of miles downwind.

There are 100 billion solar systems in Milky Way

The solar system was thought to represent the entire universe in ancient times, and the planets were thought to be ‘wandering stars’ orbiting the Earth alongside the Sun and stars. The Earth was later included in the list of planets with the advent of the scientific revolution beginning in 1543, but astronomers still knew of only one solar system in the universe until recently. Over 4,000 planets orbiting distant stars have been discovered in the last 17 years or so, and scientists now estimate that there may be as many as 100 billion solar systems in our own Milky Way galaxy alone.

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A day on Venus lasts longer than a year on Earth.

Venus’s axis rotation is extremely slow, taking approximately 243 Earth days to complete one full cycle. Surprisingly, Venus takes even less time in Earth days to complete one revolution around the sun – 226 to be exact. Furthermore, the sun rises every 117 Earth days, which means that the sun will rise only twice per year, both times on the same day. Because Venus rotates clockwise as well, the sun will rise in the west and set in the east.

Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system

Despite being farther from the sun than Mercury, Venus is the hottest planet in the Solar System. The average temperature of Venus is approximately 450°C. After the Moon and the Sun, Venus is the third brightest object in the sky.

Significance of the name Pluto

Facts about the solar system: Pluto is the only astronomical body named by a child under the age of 11. When the dwarf planet was discovered in 1930, a British girl named Venetia Burney named it Pluto after the Roman god of the underworld who possessed the power of invisibility. Zeus, Cronus, and Percival were also suggested. Pluto, a Disney character named after the dwarf planet, debuted later that year.

Earth is not near to die

In four billion years, the increase in surface temperature of Earth will cause a runaway greenhouse effect, creating conditions more extreme than today’s Venus and heating the Earth’s surface sufficiently to melt it. All life on Earth will be extinct by that time. The planet’s most likely fate is absorption by the Sun after the star has entered the red giant phase and expanded beyond the planet’s current orbit in about 7.5 billion years.

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