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15 Cool Space Facts
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There are so many cool space facts to learn! Since time began, humans have looked up at the sky with wonder. From stats about the various planets and their moons to facts about the stars, there’s a whole universe out there for you to discover. Today, technological advances have allowed us to explore and understand more about space than ever before. We know more about the universe than ever — and the learning continues every day! Whether you’re fascinated by space or just curious about what’s out there, we’ve got some cool space facts to jump-start your metaphorical journey into space!

#1 There Is Water on the Moon.

NASA’s SOFIA mission confirmed that there are H2O molecules on the sunlit surface of the Moon. However, the Moon remains an extremely dry environment – in fact, the Sahara Desert has 100x more water than the amount detected in the Moon’s soil during the SOFIA mission.

#2 Most Planetary Moons Are Tidally Locked.

Most moons are tidally locked, meaning that they rotate around a planet at the same pace that they orbit them. This results in a satellite object, such as Earth’s Moon, only ever showing one side of its face to the planet. The main exception is Hyperion, one of Saturn’s moons, which is affected by the gravitational pull of Titan (Saturn’s largest moon) rather than the planet itself. In addition, many of the dwarf planet Pluto’s moons (Styx, Nix, Kerberos, and Hydra) are affected by the gravitational pull of the moon Charon rather than Pluto itself.

#3 Earth’s Moon Experiences Moonquakes.

Moonquakes are earthquakes that take place on the Moon. Moonquakes occur less frequently and at lower magnitudes than earthquakes. Notably, they occur at great depth — about halfway between the surface and the center of the Moon. Moonquakes appear to be related to tidal stresses.

#4 Neptune Is the Only Planet Not Visible to the Naked Eye.

Interestingly, Neptune is the only planet in our solar system that isn’t visible to the naked human eye. Under ideal conditions, all of the other planets in our solar system can be glimpsed without the aid of a telescope. However, Neptune is over 30x farther from the Sun than Earth is and can only be observed with the aid of a telescope. Interestingly, Neptune also has the distinction of being the first planet to be predicted by mathematics before its discovery.

#5 Jupiter’s Swirls Are Actually Clouds.

Jupiter’s characteristic swirls are probably quite familiar to you, but do you know what they are? The planet’s famous swirls are actually cold, windy clouds made up of ammonia and water floating in an atmosphere of hydrogen and helium.

#6 The Moon Is Moving Away from the Earth.

Scientific simulations imply that at the time of the Moon’s formation, it was much closer to Earth — just 22,500 km (14,000 miles) away. Today, there are 402,336 km (a quarter of a million miles) between the Earth and the Moon. Each year, the Moon spins further away from the Earth at a rate of 3.78 cm (1.48 in) per year – roughly the speed at which our fingernails grow.

#7 Most Asteroids Are Located Between Mars and Jupiter.

Most asteroids are located the Main Asteroid Belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. This asteroid belt holds an estimated 1.1 million to 1.9 million asteroids that are larger than 3,281 feet in diameter as well as millions of smaller asteroids, too.

#8 Venus Is the Third-Brightest Object in the Sky.

After the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the third-brightest object in the sky. In fact, it’s so noticeable that it is often mistaken for a UFO! However, because it orbits relatively close to the Sun, it is only visible at certain times.

#9 Mercury Is the Speediest Planet.

Mercury is considered the fastest planet in our solar system because it orbits the sun once every 88 Earth days. Fittingly, Mercury is named after the speediest Roman god.

#10 The Pinwheel Galaxy Contains 1 Trillion Stars.

The Pinwheel Galaxy is estimated to contain at least 1 trillion stars. This massive galaxy is nearly twice the diameter of our own Milky Way Galaxy!

#11 Proxima Centauri Is the Second-Closest Star to Earth.

Alpha Centauri C, more commonly known as Proxima Centauri, is the second-closest single star to Earth after the Sun. It is a red dwarf star of the spectral type M5. Despite its proximity, it is relatively dim and can only be glimpsed through a telescope.

#12 Methuselah Is the Oldest Star in the Universe.

HD140283, or Methuselah, as it is more commonly known, is the oldest star in the universe. In 2000, it was dated at a staggering 16 billion years old. Other estimates place it around 14.5 billion years old, making it even older than the universe itself and creating a conundrum that scientists are still trying to reconcile today.

#13 The Largest Object in the Asteroid Belt Isn’t An Asteroid.

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt. Ceres used to be classified as an asteroid, but it is so large and so different from its rocky neighbors that it was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006.

#14 There Are 3 Main Types of Asteroids.

There are 3 main asteroid compositions: C-type asteroids (or chondrite asteroids) are the most common and are thought to consist of clay and silicate rocks. S-type asteroids (or stony asteroids) are made up of silicate materials and nickel-iron. M-type asteroids (sometimes called metallic asteroids) are usually made up of nickel-iron and their compositional differences are related to how far from the Sun they formed.

#15 Martian Sunrises and Sunsets Are Blue.

Mars’ sunrises and sunsets look blue. This is because Martian dust scatters light in a unique way.

A Blue Martian Sunset as Captured by Spirit (Mars Exploration Rover)
A Blue Martian Sunset as Captured by Spirit (Mars Exploration Rover) - Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell

Want even more cool space facts? Read all about the Moon or discover more about our universe!

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