Space is the final frontier as they say – a horizon of opportunity and discovery that is fascinating and mind-boggling in equal measures. There are many facts about space that outline this and demonstrate just what a strange universe we live in. Here we will look at the top ten space facts – that that are truly amazing and that teach us not only about space, but about reality here on Earth.
10. The moon is moving away from the Earth
Every year the moon moves 3.8cm away from the Earth – which when you think about it is actually a fairly large amount.
9. The Earth slowing down
The next one of our top 10 space facts is directly related to the fact that the moon is drifting away. As a result, the Earth spins at 0.002 seconds per day slower every century. That then means that our days are actually getting gradually longer…
8. We have multiple moons (sort of)
The moon is a satellite – a chunk of rock that orbits the Earth and follows an elliptical orbit around the sun along with us. Interestingly there are several asteroids (at least three) that follow this pattern. The first to be discovered was the 5km Cruithne.
7. The Universe is expanding
Scientists recently discovered that the universe is expanding and that all the elements in space are moving further away from each other as a result (imagine dots drawn on a balloon being blown up). This is often seen as evidence for the big bang theory of creation. This makes way for two more of our top 10 space facts.
6. The Universe gives off radio waves
Another of our top 10 space facts gives interesting support to the concept of the big bag – that being the fact that the universe is giving off radio waves or ‘interference’ which is thought to have been caused by the big bang. This is known as the ‘afterglow’ of creation.
5. The speed of the expansion is getting faster
It was assumed until recently that the speed at which the universe is expanding would be slowing down as gravity began to take hold again. However interestingly the exact opposite in fact appears to be true – the universe is still getting bigger. The other question of course is, what is it expanding into?
4. The stars show us a glimpse into the past
One of the most amazing top 10 space facts is that when we are looking at the stars, we are actually looking ‘back in time’. This is because of the time it takes for light to reach us – even the light coming from the sun took 30 thousand years to reach us from its core. The stars we see at night are of course even further away and sometimes the light is millions of years old. In some cases the stars have long since died but we still see their light.
3. Cold welding
Cold welding is exactly what it sounds like and demonstrates a unique way to meld metal and one of the most amazing of the top 10 space facts. Essentially, should any two metal objects touch while in the cold vacuum of space, they would immediately become permanently bonded together.
2. The corona
The corona is the halo we see around the sun in an eclipse. Actually though it’s always there and is the sun’s ‘plasma atmosphere’ which expands millions of kilometres into space. What’s fascinating about it is the fact that it is hotter than the sun over a million degrees or 106 kelvin. There is no way that thermal energy could be transferred and increased from the surface of the sun to the corona however so its heat source remains not fully understood.
1. There is no time in a black hole
A black hole is any collapsed star of a size 10-15 as our sun. In a black hole all of the matter from the star has become compacted to zero volume to create a single point of infinite density. They are black, because anything within a certain radius (the event horizon) would need to be travelling at the speed of light to escape. Thus light cannot escape making them completely invisible from outside (presumably very bright from within though?).
The most interesting aspect though that tops off our top 10 space facts, is the fact that these points of infinite density create a huge curvature in the fabric of ‘space time’ – meaning that time would cease to exist as we know it inside.