Space is an intriguing topic which receives huge funds for research purposes. While many secrets of the solar system have been uncovered, there are still many yet to be “unearthed”. Some myths have become generally accepted as fact by the public—facts that many are not aware of.
FeedFond has collected 7 stupefying facts and fiction about the solar system. If you’re an astronomy buff, read on.
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#7 Is the Earth farther from the Sun in summer or winter?
Although logic says that the earth is closer to the Sun in the summertime, as the temperatures we experience during this time are high, in reality, we’re actually 5 million kilometers closer to the sun during winter.
This is because while the Earth orbits the sun, it revolves around its own axis too—the reason why we have night and day. The axis of the Earth passes through the North and South Poles and is not exactly perpendicular to its orbit, nor the Sun’s rays, which fall on it. That’s why for half of the year a large portion of the Sun’s warmth falls on the southern hemisphere, while in the other half it falls on the northern one, which produces a change of seasons.
Summer in the southern hemisphere is warmer than it is in the north. This is because the Earth comes closest to the Sun in January when the southern part of the world is experiencing summer.
#6 Is the earth round?
Due to the shift in the continental plates, the shape of the earth keeps changing. However, the rate of such shifts is only 5cm per year, so it’s hardly noticeable. Therefore, the shape of our planet is not exactly round.
Some images show the shape of the earth as anything but round. But these images are actually showing the varying degrees of gravity around the earth and are not a true depiction of its shape.
#5 Does the moon have a dark side?
Most people believe that only one side of the moon is exposed toward the sun and that’s how it reflects its light. In reality, we cannot see the other side of the moon from Earth. The sun warms all sides of the moon equally. The reason we see only one side of the moon is because the time it revolves around its axis coincides with the time when it orbits the earth.
#4 Does Mercury have the highest temperatures of all planets?
As Mercury is closest to the Sun, it is logical that it should have the highest temperatures. However, in reality, Venus is the hottest planet, temperature-wise. This is in spite of the fact that Venus is 50 million kilometers farther away from the Sun than Mercury. The average daytime temperature on Mercury is around 350°C (662°F), whereas it can reach up to 480°C (896°F) on Venus.
Venus has a very thick atmosphere made up almost entirely of carbon dioxide. This creates a very strong greenhouse effect, trapping all the Sun’s heat and making it extremely hot. On the other hand, Mercury has hardly any atmosphere.
#3 Is the Sun a ball of fire?
The temperature near the surface of the sun is a whopping 5,700°C or 10,292°F, but can it be compared to a ball of fire? In reality, fire is nothing but a form of energy that gives out heat and light. The thermonuclear reactions that take place at the center of the sun produce this energy. When this energy passes through the layers of the sun and reaches its surface, it looks like it’s burning.
#2 Is the Sun yellow?
The sun belongs to the category of stars called yellow dwarves. So, the common assumption is that the sun is yellow. In reality, like all other yellow dwarves, the sun is totally white. Because of the Earth’s atmosphere and how light passes through the spectrum, the sun appears yellow to us. The light which has a long wavelength – in the yellow and red part of the spectrum – passes through the atmosphere best of all unlike light in the shorter wavelengths in the green to violet part of the spectrum.
#1 Without a spacesuit, would a person explode in space?
Contrary to what movies show, the human body will not explode in space without a spacesuit. The skin on our body is flexible enough to keep all of our internal organs in place. The walls of the blood vessels are elastic and flexible, preventing the blood from boiling.
Since there is no external pressure in space, the temperature at which blood boils rises to 46°C. This is significantly higher than the temperature of the human body.
It is the water within the skin cells that begins to boil in a vacuum. So, the human body would expand in size but will not explode.
It’s the lack of oxygen in space that would kill a person without a spacesuit. Within 15 seconds of entering a vacuum without a space suit, the person would lose consciousness and would be dead within two minutes.
If you know more facts about the solar system, share with us in the Comments section below. Don’t forget to check out 15 Surprising Mysteries Of The Universe Scientists Can’t Explain.