Since centuries, nothing has fascinated the human mind more than the universe. Never ending, forever expanding, full of enigmatic celestial bodies and untold secrets, will we ever be able to unravel all of the mysteries that make up the great beyond? It will take up many lifetimes before we begin to fully comprehend even a fraction of outer space. But that hasn’t stopped us from trying to learn everything we can about it!
We bring you some staggering facts about the universe to quench your thirst for knowledge about outer space. Or should we say, stoke your thirst? Read on-
1. The sun is massive. It is so huge that 1.3 million Earths could fit inside it. And yet, research by space scientists peg our sun to be just average sized!
2. Speaking of size, the sun makes up 99.8 per cent of the solar system’s mass. That is the reason why it has such strong gravity. The sun fuses around 600,000,000 tons of hydrogen to helium every second. During this fusion reaction, 4,000,000 tons of matter is converted into energy inside the sun.
3. And yet, the light energy that is produced by the sun reaches earth a mind-boggling 30 thousand years later! The energy in the sunlight we see today started out in the core of the Sun 30,000 years ago! It spends this time in passing through the dense atoms that make the sun. Once it reaches the sun’s surface, it takes just 8 minutes to reach us here on earth!
4. Saturn has a density that is lower than water’s. This means that if we place Saturn in water, the planet will float! The density of Saturn is 0.687 g/cm3 while the density of water is 0.998 g/cm3.
5. Outer space has a unique smell. According to astronauts, outer space smells like a mixture of burnt gunpowder, burnt charcoal, overcooked steak and molten metal.
6. 4,800 new stars are born every second. With a number of stars dying daily, that works out to around 275 million new stars in the discernible universe every single day. So how many stars are actually there in the universe? Scientists estimate that there are around 300 sextillion stars in the universe- that’s 3 followed by 23 zeros!
7. Mars has a volcanic mountain that is three times the size of Mt. Everest. 21 km high, Olympus Mons on Mars is the tallest peak of any planet. However, the Rheasilvia central peak on the asteroid Vesta is taller at 22 km.
8. Our Galaxy, The Milky Way, is spinning at a rate of 225 kilometres per second. It is also moving through space at a speed of 305 kilometres per second. This means that we are traveling at a total speed of 530 kilometres per second. That means that we are about 19 thousand kilometres away from where we were, all in the space of one minute!
9. Outer space is eerily silent. Sound waves can only travel in a medium. Since there is no atmosphere in outer space for sound to travel, it is absolutely, completely silent out there.
10. The moon is drifting away from Earth by 3.8 cm every year. The earth is also slowing in rotation by about 0.002 seconds per day per century.