Even with the latest technology, scientific breakthroughs, and recent discoveries, there is still so much about outer space we don’t know. However, the things we do already understand are incredible and exciting.
The world is a mysterious place on its own, but the Universe is a magnitude of secrets, hidden treasures, and possibly other living beings we have yet to encounter.
While we can’t offer any information about the universe that the professionals have not yet explored, we can provide all the fun facts about astronomy that still amaze us today.
It All Started With a Bang
Some of the most exciting and mind-blowing information about our universe comes from the Big Bang Theory. The theory is that our universe is the result of a bunch of tiny, hot particles mixing and mingling with energy and light, forming atoms, then forming stars and galaxies through the expansion of space.
It’s mind boggling to think our universe might have started as just one tiny speck and grew into the massive space it is known as today. While researchers can’t prove 100% beyond a reasonable doubt, they can’t disprove the theory either, leaving the Big Bang as one of the most prominent theories for the universe’s existence.
The Big Bang Came Before Our Solar System
The solar system is much younger than the universe itself. It is believed that the planets and our sun weren’t even formed until nine billion years after the Big Bang.
Our Universe Is Expanding Non-Stop
We all know the theory of the Big Bang revolves around the idea of the universe’s consistent expansion. But did you know that this expansion is believed to continue until we can no longer see the other planets around us?
It is also believed that the universe will get so big it will either freeze or eventually start to retract.
Dark Matter and Dark Energy Stump Even the Smartest Astronomers
We know that we have only ever been able to observe 5% of the mass-energy compositions in the universe, yet the 95% left over is still a huge mystery.
And what we do understand about this 95% is that 68% of it consists of dark energy, and 27% is dark matter. But what does this mean?
Normal matter (that small 5%) is made of planets, stars, clouds, galaxies, etc. are normal matter and is made up of visible atoms. Everything else is invisible and mysterious. It is also very slick as it is tough to detect.
Because there is no interaction between electromagnetic radiation and dark matter and energy, it doesn’t reflect or absorb light; this makes it extremely difficult to find them. On top of all this, we don’t even know what these “dark forces” are.
Dark Matter and Energy May Be the Cause of Rapid Earth Expansion
Not only have researchers found that the universe is expanding, but it is doing it faster as time passes. Many scientists, astronomers, and researchers have concluded that this could result from black energy and black matter.
|Big Bang Facts|
|-Our solar system is younger than the universe. |
-We only understand 5% of the universe’s mass-energy.
-The universe started as a tiny speck.
-The universe is rapidly expanding and speeding up.
-The speeding of expansion could be due to dark matter and energy.
-The universe will either retract back into itself or freeze once it expands too far.
Exciting Outer Space Facts
Have you ever wondered what is inside a black hole? What type of weather occurs in other parts of the universe? What else exists outside of the Earth? We were also fascinated by this topic, so we did a deep dive into the facts.
Here is what we found.
You Can’t See a Black Hole
Black holes offer great plot themes in sci-fi movies and are fascinating to think about. However, what you are probably picturing when thinking about a black hole is nothing like what the real thing looks like.
No one knows the real thing because you can’t see it. The only reason we know that it exists is witnessing the aftermath of objects once they enter. Say a star gets too close; astronomers can watch as it gets torn to pieces.
Spaghettification Is a Real Word, and it Is Kind of Scary
Spaghettification is what happens to objects that get too close to black holes. This occurs when the gravitational pull is stronger at one end of an object than the other, stretching the object into a long thin noodle, which is why the term is also often referred to as “the noodle effect.”
Neutron Stars Are the Result of the Death of Massive Stars
When a massive star, one that can grow up to eight times larger than our sun, dies, it will burst open, and its insides will shoot across the universe (a supernova explosion). The star’s core will collapse when this happens, and a neutron star is born from the dense matter.
Milky Way Galaxy Encompasses a Large Black Hole
Remember what a black hole is? Scientists believe the Milky Way’s center may be home to one. This black hole has a name, Sagittarius A. It isn’t a small black hole either; astronomers say this one might weigh nearly four million times that of our sun.
Our Solar Systems Closest Friend, Proxima Centauri
Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star orbiting through the Milky Way. It is very small with a low mass and only 4.2465 lightyears away from the sun and four light-years from Earth. This is the closest star to our solar system and has two planets of its own.
Could Proxima Centauri Be Home to Living Beings?
Since one of the planets orbiting Proxima Centauri is similar in size to Earth and in a habitable zone, there is a possibility that this place in space could be home to living creatures.
The Milky Way Is Made of Over One Billion Stars
The Milky Way is a collection of over one billion stars held together by similar gravitational forces. One of these stars is the sun. That is a lot of stars. These stars create a wide band known as a barred spiral galaxy. The Milky Way is one of many millions in the Universe.
The Milky Way Is How Far Across?
According to scientists, the Milky Way is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 km (that’s one quintillion) across. That is equal to around 100,000 lightyears.
Earth is around 26 thousand light years near the center of the Milky Way. Even though it is a large distance away, you can still see it on a clear night from the naked eye.
However, a good telescope is essential for a clear glimpse of detailed views.
|Outer Space Facts|
|-Earth is 26,000 light years away from the center of the Milky Way. |
-Black holes are not visible.
-If you fall into a black hole, you will be stretched like a noodle (spaghettification).
-The Milky Way is made of more than a billion stars.
-The Milky Way is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 km across.
-Neutron Stars come from supernova explosions.
Man-Made Objects That Make a Huge Difference in Space
Although the natural occurrences, occupants, and mysteries of space are a huge part of science, there are man-made objects that are just as interesting.
Some of these products aren’t necessarily a positive contribution. Understanding human effects on the solar system is crucial to ensuring further exploration in space is possible, and the problems negatively impact our planet.
Other man-made projects are making great strides in the scientific world, and astronomers are getting closer than ever before to roaming the surface of new planets.
People Have Occupied the International Space Station for 22 Years
The International Space Station, or the ISS, is the biggest, international, modular space station shared between five agencies across the globe. These space agencies include the United State’s NASA, Canada’s CSA, Japan’s JAXA, Europe’s ESA, and Russia’s Roscosmos.
The monumental station is a research lab located in space and used for scientific research in physics, meteorology, astrobiology, and astronomy.
The ISS Is a Long-Term Space Residence and Has Been for Years
For more than 22 years, this station has been home to various astronauts coming and going to obtain data, specimens, and other scientific tasks that can only be properly conducted in person. The hope is to one day have enough information to explore Mars and the moon.
To date, 251 humans have visited the International Space Station; this includes astronauts, cosmonauts, and even tourists.
The International Space Station Is Set to Retire in 2030
Yes, you read that right; this giant international space station is running out of time. Although NASA has contracted the project to stay in operation until 2030, other countries are gearing up to take charge, with China and India already smoothing out the details.
This doesn’t mean NASA is taking a step back by any means. They also have plans in the massive unknown world of space, already partnering up with three companies to produce multiple space stations.
The biggest news as of late is the European space station plans. This massive, three-deck station has almost everything you could need for extensive space research, including:
- Gravitational pull for two people at a time
- Three decks (hibernation deck, scientific study deck, and the gravitation simulator for two)
- Space for vegetation experiments and growing crops
- Various living essentials required for extended stays
Just a few steps away from space homes, towns, cities, and villages. Right?
Space Junk Is Garbage
Space junk is a real thing and a huge problem that is getting worse and worse. Like the junk we have building up on Earth, tons of garbage also floats in space. This junk is directly linked to human interference, such as dead satellites and rocket debris, leaving large pieces of metal to hang out in the Earth’s orbit.
So what is so bad about space junk? Having objects in orbit can clog the pathways for further exploration. Because it takes so long for this debris to make its way to the Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up, the floating pieces collide and create even more congestion. If this continues, there will be no room left for satellites to move around safely.
We Can’t Get Rid of All This Junk
Although there is currently no way to remove space junk, scientists are working hard to find a solution. With so much debris floating further away from the Earth’s orbit, it can’t dispose of itself. Some pieces can take hundreds of years before it is gone, while others can take thousands.
Astronomers have an exciting idea that they continue to work on involving lasers, space “bulldozers,” and nets. Blowing up, scooping, and netting space junk and pushing it toward its demise in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Space Junk Can Fall to Earth
Yep, just like asteroids, space junk can and has fallen from the sky and smashed into the Earth’s surface. Luckily no one has yet been injured by this rare occurrence.
Nonetheless, the possibility is there. In 1979, the US Space Station skylab exploded into pieces, which came falling over Western Australia. And, in 2007, a piece of a Russian flier plane came terrifyingly close to taking out a passenger plane traveling from Santiago to Auckland.
|Man-Made Space Objects Facts|
|-The International Space Station has supported non-stop long-term stay for humans in space for over 20 years. |
-The ISS is scheduled to shut down by 2030.
-Space junk can clog the paths for equipment to navigate Earth’s orbit, eliminating further research.
-Space junk can fall from the sky and land on Earth.
-At this time, the only way to get rid of space junk (leftover satellites and other human devices) is when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere and burns up.
Our Intricate Solar System
The solar system is a spectacular view from the Earth; what can’t be seen by the naked eye is even more impressive. However, what goes on in outer space and throughout our solar system grabs people’s attention.
Here are some interesting facts you might not have known about our intricate solar system.
Uranus Moves to the Beat of Its Own Drum (or Rotation)
Uranus is a big head-scratcher for scientists far and wide because this is the only planet in our solar system that rotates on its side.
There is a possibility that another planet struck the planet or an asteroid at some point, knocking it off its natural course, but no one knows for sure.
Venus Is the Hottest Planet in Our Solar System
It may surprise you that the hottest planet in our solar system isn’t the one in the closest proximity to the sun. It is actually the second large rock in line; Venus is 67 million miles from the sun, yet has a surface temperature of 900°F or 480°C.
Mercury Is Extremely Hot and Cold All on the Same Day
The closest planet to the sun is Mercury. The extreme surface temperature during the day is due to its close proximity to the hot, fiery ball of glowing gasses we call the sun. Once the planet rotates away from the sun and things go dark, it can get as cold as -290°F or -179°C.
Jupiter’s Great Red Spot Is a Powerful Storm System
The Great Red Spot everyone loves to talk about in the southern hemisphere of Jupiter is a very powerful storm with crimson clouds swirling counterclockwise up to 400 mph.
According to NASA, the roots of this ongoing storm extend 200 miles, at least. With Earth’s average tropical cyclone only extending, on average, nine miles, this storm can wreak some serious havoc.
Pluto Lost Its Title of Full-Sized Planet in 2006
If you noticed that Pluto was once part of the larger solar system, one where the little guy sat in the same circles as the rest on our science foam ball projects but is no longer around, it is because it was demoted.
That’s right; scientists moved Pluto to dwarf planet status because of its tiny size compared to the rest. It’s only half the width of the US.
Earth Is Losing Its Stamina
Earth’s rotation is slowing gradually; when we say gradually, we mean it. In prehistoric times, T-Rex and his gang only received 23-hour days. Obviously, our days are based on 24-hour cycles. This is because the rotation of our planet slows by about two milliseconds every century.
200 Hundred Moons Combined
Our solar system consists of over 200 moons. While Earth only has one moon, other planets have many more.
- Jupiter has 79 (known) moons.
- Mars, the Red Planet, has two moons, called Phobos and Deimos.
- Saturn has 53 moons for sure and 29 unconfirmed at the moment (so possibly 82).
- Uranus has 27 moons; half are made of ice.
- Neptune has 14 moons.
What about Mercury and Venus? Neither of these planets has a moon at all.
|Solar System Facts|
|-Earth’s rotation is slowing down, making our days longer. |
-There are more than 200 moons in our solar system alone.
-Pluto was de-ranked as a large planet and labeled a dwarf one in 2006.
-Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is actually a massive storm with red clouds and cyclones with winds clocking in at 400 MPH.
-Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system at 900° F, and Uranus spins on its side.
A Few More Fun Facts Astronomy Version
If you are still interested in our universe and want to know more, here are a few more fun facts that you might not have heard before.
- The Earth is 13.8 billion years old (or something close to that, we haven’t been able to locate the birth certificate).
- The observable universe is around 93 billion light years. Our galaxy is only 100,000 light-years around. That leaves a lot to be explored.
- While the Earth is not flat (even though some people will disagree), the universe is.
- It was the Hubble telescope that showed astronomers the universe was expanding.
- You will find a massive-size black hole at the center of every galaxy, not just the Milky Way.
- The moon moves further away from Earth at about 3.78 cm per year.
- Saturn is the only planet in our solar system that can float on water.
- No one will hear you, no matter how loud you yell in space.
- A vapor cloud is floating in space, holding 140 trillion times the mass of water we have on Earth.
- The number of stars in the universe exceeds the number of grains of sand on Earth.
- It takes more than eight minutes for sunlight to reach the Earth’s surface.
- You can see the International Space Station from your home if you look hard enough.
This is only the start of the endless amounts of interesting facts we could discuss regarding astronomy. However, if we were to tell you everything scientists have discovered throughout history, we would be writing for a lifetime.
We know little about only 5% of the universe. That leaves a lot of wondering, theories, speculation, and guessing about what’s out there beyond what we can see.
Nevertheless, the fantastic work of scientists and other professionals has made it possible to provide us with all the fun facts astronomy has to offer, with so many of the most interesting listed above.
Look at our list of fascinating details about the universe, and then imagine what else it has hiding cloaked in darkness.