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Interesting Facts - The Universe

The Universe is probably about 15 billion years old, but the estimations vary. One problem with working out the age of the Universe is that there are stars in our galaxy which are thought to be 14 to 18 billion years old – older than the estimated age of the Universe. So, either the stars must be younger, or the Universe older.

Astronomers believe that the universe contains one atom for every 88 gallons of space.

Black Holes
The swirling gases around a black hole turn it into an electrical generator, making it spout jets of electricity billions of kilometers out into space. Black holes can be big or small. Scientists think the smallest black holes are as small as just one atom. These black holes are very tiny but have the mass of a large mountain. Mass is the amount of matter, or "stuff," in an object. Another kind of black hole is called "stellar." Its mass can be up to 20 times more than the mass of the sun. There may be many, many stellar mass black holes in Earth's galaxy. Earth's galaxy is called the Milky Way. The largest black holes are called "supermassive." These black holes have masses that are more than 1 million suns together. Scientists have found proof that every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole at its center. The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy is called Sagittarius A. It has a mass equal to about 4 million suns and would fit inside a very large ball that could hold a few million Earths.

Black Holes
If you fell into a black hole, you would stretch like spaghetti. Gravity pulls so much that even light can not get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.

Black Holes
There is a blackhole that has the mass of 50 BILLION suns.

A Comet's tail always points away from the sun.

Until the mid sixteenth century, Comets were believed to be not astronomical phenomena, but burning vapors that had arisen from distant swamps and were propelled across the sky by fire and light.

There are approximately 10,000 pieces of equipment revolving around the earth. About 3,000 of these pieces are satellites, the rest are odd bits of Debris.

The Earth spins at 1,000 mph but it travels through space at an incredible 67,000 mph.

The Milky Way galaxy we live in: is one among the BILLIONS in space. The Milky Way galaxy is whirling rapidly, spinning our sun and all its other stars at around 100 million km per hour.

According to scientists, Gold exists on Mars, Mercury, and Venus.

A space vehicle must move at a rate of 7 miles per second to escape the earth's Gravitational pull. This is equivalent to going from New York to Philadelphia in about twenty seconds.

Gravity - Weight
A bucket filled with earth would Weigh about five times more than the same bucket filled with the substance of the sun. However, the force of Gravity is so much greater on the sun that a man Weighing 150 pounds on our planet would Weigh 2 tons on the sun.

Halley's Comet
In 1910, when it was announced that Halley's Comet would once again pass the earth, hysteria broke out in Europe, based on the belief that the arrival of this comet always heralded catastrophe. The war of 66 A.D. that brought about the fall of Jerusalem, the devastation of Rome by the Huns in 373, the Battle of Hastings in 1066 (it is Halley's Comet that can be seen in the famous Bayeux Tapestry, announcing the death of Harold), and many other tragic events did in fact coincide with the comet's appearance. Whether or not these occurrences actually had anything to do with the comet, anxiety spread throughout Europe as soon as its impending arrival was announced, and thousands of people fled to the mountains for safety. A group of French scientists published a paper claiming that the earth would be poisoned by fumes from the comet's tail. Reports of "comet insanity" and suicide attempts filled the newspapers, and "anticomet pills," guaranteeing protection from the comet's noxious fumes, were bought up eagerly. The comet, however, came and went without much incident though, it might be noted, World War I began four years later.

It takes 8 minutes 17 seconds for light to travel from the Sun's surface to the Earth.

99% of our solar systems mass is concentrated in the sun.

More than 75 million meteors enter the earth's atmosphere every day, but they disintegrate before hitting the ground.

The moon weighs 81 billion tons.

The Moon is moving slowly away from the Earth at the rate of 3cm per year.

Pluto is the smallest and coldest planet among all ten planets in our solar system.

-More than 1 million earths would fit inside the sun. -If our Sun were just inch in diameter, the nearest star would be 453 miles away.

A Pulsar is a small star made up of neutrons so densely packed together that if one the size of a silver dollar landed on earth, it would weigh approximately 100 million tons.

A galaxy of typical size, about 100 billion suns produces less energy than a single Quasar.

Based on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, there are three possible shapes that the Universe may take: open, closed, and flat. Once again, measurements by WMAP on the CMBR have revealed a monumental confirmation – the Universe is flat. Combining this geometry and the idea of an invisible entity known as dark energy coincides with the widely accepted ultimate fate of our universe, which as stated earlier, is a Big Freeze.

Current estimates as with regards to the size of the Universe pegs it at a width of 150 billion light years. Although it may seem peculiarly inconsistent with the age of the Universe, which you’ll read about next, this value is easily understood once you consider the fact that the Universe is expanding at an accelerated rate.

If the earth were the size of a quarter, the sun would be as large as a 9 foot ball and would be located a football field distance from the earth. If the entire solar system were the size of a quarter, the sun would be visible only under a microscope, and the nearest star would be 300 feet away If our whole galaxy were the size of a quarter, our solar system would be less than the size of a molecule. Other galaxies would be from a foot to 1,000 feet away.

Scientists believe that hydrogen comprises approximately 90 to 99 percent of all matter in the Universe.

Our galaxy has approximately 250 billion stars and it is estimated by astronomers that there are 100 billion other galaxies in the universe.

Sirus star is much brighter than the sun. In fact, no star is as bright as sirus. Sirius, also called Alpha Canis Majoris or the Dog Star, is a binary star in the constellation Canis Major. The bright component of the binary is a blue-white star 25.4 times as luminous as the Sun. It has a radius 1.71 times that of the Sun and a surface temperature of 9,940 kelvins (K), which is more than 4,000 K higher than that of the Sun. Its distance from the solar system is 8.6 light-years, only twice the distance of the nearest known star system beyond the Sun, the Alpha Centauri system. Its name comes from a Greek word meaning “sparkling” or “scorching.”

The Star Alpha Herculis is twenty five times larger than the circumference described by the earth's revolution around the sun. This means that twenty five diameters of our solar orbit would have to be placed end to end to equal the diameter of this Star.

The Sun provides our planet with 126,000,000,000,000 horsepower of energy every day. This means that 54,000 horsepower is delivered to every man, woman and child on earth in each twenty four hour period. This amount of energy equals only about two billionths of the total energy broadcast into our solar system by the Sun each day.

The Sun is always losing weight in fact Scientists have worked out that it loses around 4 Million tonnes every second, this is the amount of hydrogen gas that the sun turns into energy every second.

The sun is a 5 billion years old star and is supposed to remain exist for another 5 billion years.

The Sun travels around the galaxy once every 200 million years – a journey of 100,000 light years.

This one’s hard to believe: Venus’ days are longer than its years. Due to slow axis rotation, a day on Venus lasts 243 Earth-days, whereas its brisk tour around the Sun takes a mere 225. That means if you lived on Venus, you would have seven birthdays a week! (NB: if you lived on Venus you would actually have zero birthdays a week, as its surface-temperature is 462° C and you would die instantly.)

Venus Transit
Transits of Venus across the disk of the Sun are among the rarest of planetary alignments. Venus Transit Only six such events have occurred since the invention of the telescope (1631, 1639, 1761, 1769, 1874 and 1882). The next two transits of Venus will occur on 2004 June 08 and 2012 June 06.

The latest Venus transit occcured in 1882, 122 years ago. So no human alive on Earth has ever witnessed a Venus transit! Venus takes more than six hours to track across the Sun.

The largest Volcano in the solar system is on Mars Olympus Moons, 600 km wide and 24,000 m high, is nearly three times higher than Mt. Everest.

White Holes
The opposite of black holes are estimated to be white holes which spray out matter and light like fountains.

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