Cosmology, Outer Space, Solar System

50 Space Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Learn about the universe.
space facts

Our universe exists on a mind-blowing scale, so big that preparing any number of space facts does not do our cosmos justice. It’s so large that there are black holes that dwarf our sun by factors of billions, there are pulsars that stretch thousands of light-years into infinity, and nebulae (such as lyman-alpha blobs) that are known as some of the largest objects in our universe.

There’s a lot to know about space, including the un-known. So we’ve provided this list to help tease your brain and provide new and interesting perspectives on our scientific measurement of stellar phenomena.

Without further adieu, here is a look at 50 mind blowing space facts.

  1. Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system. This is contrary to the idea that Mercury, the innermost planet in our solar system would be the hottest.
  2. The Earth’s moon is approximately 4.5 billion years old.
  3. One million earth sized objects could fit within the Sun.
  4. The Sun is nearly a perfect sphere. It has only a 10 kilometre difference in its polar diameter compared to its equatorial diameter.
  5. Saturn has 150 moons and smaller moonlets.
  6. The Milky Way is known as a barred spiral galaxy.
  7. The Oort cloud is made up of a reserve of planetesimals (small comets and debris) that date back to the birth of our solar system
  8. The ‘cosmic web’, the entire fabric of our cosmos, is known as the biggest thing in our universe
  9. When the Earth is at it’s closest approach to the sun, it’s known as the “perihelion”, when at it’s furthest, it’s known as the “aphelion”.
  10. Apollo 11 through 14 astronauts had to be quarantined on their return back to Earth.
  11. Uranus makes it’s trip around the sun once ever 84 Earth years.
  12. Only one spacecraft has flown by Neptune, and that was the Voyager 2 craft in 1989.
  13. The Milky Way contains a super-massive black hole at the center known as the Sagittarius A* star. It is believed all active galaxies contain a black hole at their cores.
  14. The Sun is 149.6 million km (or 92 million miles) from the Earth.
  15. One year on Mercury is equivalent to 88 Earth days.
  16. One year on Jupiter is equivalent to 12 Earth years.
  17. Saturn is 1.2 billion km away from Earth at the closest orbital point, and 1.67 billion km away at the furthest point.
  18. The orbit of comets is for the most part, elliptical.
  19. Your would weigh 38% of your total mass on Mercury.
  20. Venus is the second brightest object in the night sky.
  21. Mars is home to the tallest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons.
  22. Jupiter has the shortest day of all the planets at 9 hours and 55 minutes.
  23. Jupiter’s great red spot is a storm that has circulated for more than 350 years.
  24. Jupiter’s great red spot is so large that you could fit three Earths within.
  25. The Andromeda Galaxy is our nearest galactic neighbour.
  26. A total solar eclipse only occurs every 1-2 years.
  27. The longest in which a solar eclipse can last, is seven and a half minutes.
  28. Pluto was re-classified to a dwarf planet (from being considered a planet) in 2006.
  29. Pluto has only been visited by one spacecraft, New Horizons.
  30. Jupiter’s moon Io has volcanic eruptions.
  31. Mars has the longest valley in our solar system. Valles Marineris is 2,500 miles (4,000 km) long and can be seen from space.
  32. Mercury and Venus are the only planets in our solar system without moons.
  33. The Milky Way is approximately 100,000 light-years wide.
  34. One day on Mars is 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds long.
  35. Venus is the only planet that spins in the opposite direction of all other planets.
  36. Venus has more active volcanoes than any other planet in our solar system.
  37. Pluto owns a hazy atmosphere that extends 1,000 miles (1,600 km) above it’s surface.

    space facts pluto-atmosphere
    The New Horizons spacecraft took this panorama just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14th, 2015. Credit: NASA/New Horizons
  38. Neptune radiates more heat than it absorbs from the Sun.
  39. The area around the sun (the solar atmosphere) is actually far hotter than the sun itself. The Sun burns at 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit whereas the upper atmosphere can reach millions of degrees.
  40. Pluto is smaller than the Earth’s moon.
  41. The Andromeda galaxy is the furthest object you can spot with the naked eye.
  42. Mars has the largest dust storms in the solar system. These storms can last for months and cover the entire planet.
  43. Pieces of Mars have actually fallen to Earth. Scientists have found microscopic fragments of martian atmosphere on our planet (likely brought to Earth via meteorite).
  44. The point of no return around a black-hole is known as the event horizon.
  45. Any free-moving liquid will form into a sphere in outer space thanks to its surface tension.
  46. The revolution of the Earth increases annually by roughly 0.0001 seconds
  47. The International Space Station (ISS) circles the Earth every 90 minutes.
  48. The number of stars in the Milky Way is estimated at 200,000,000,000.
  49. Britain has only launched one satellite, known as the Black Arrow.
  50. Pluto, is named after the Greek God of the underworld (previously known as Hades).
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Lauren studies astronomy and physics at NYU.