10 Amazing Facts About Space in Honor of Big Bang Day

How often do you find yourself peering up at the night sky in pure awe at the stars and constellations? A big part of why people can appreciate it so much is the all-sky map that used cosmic microwave background radiation to ensure a standard model of cosmology was possible. In other words, mapping the sky.

There’s no better way to appreciate all that’s been done in sky mapping than to celebrate Big Bang Day which takes place yearly on March 21. This isn’t a day just for astrologists, scientists, and researchers – it’s a day for everyone to think about the vast solar system and the advances humans have made in understanding it.

To help you kick off the celebration on Big Bang Day, here are 10 amazing facts about space.

The First All-Sky Map Was Presented in 2013

Planet earth from the space at night .
Image Credit: Shutterstock / rangizzz

It was more than 10 years ago, on March 21, 2013, that the Planck collaboration changed what people know about the universe thanks to the first all-sky map. The map offered a more advanced and accurate understanding of cosmology, providing more specific parameters. It took more than 15 months to gather the research needed to create the all-sky map.

The research was conducted using the Planck space telescope and was able to identify the universe’s oldest light. That light occurred when the universe was 380,000 years old, and it was called the “Big Bang”.

The Moon Is Not Shaped Like a Circle

Full moon and stars.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / TasiPas

Here’s an interesting fact that is sure to change the way you view the moon. Whenever you see a drawing, artwork, and pictures of the moon it always appears as a circle, but this isn’t correct. The moon is lemon-shaped, and it has bulges and flattened poles.

While scientists are still trying to determine for sure why the moon has this peculiar shape, it is believed that it was caused by the interactions it had with Earth in the moon’s early days of its formation.

The Sun Is Much Bigger Than Most People Think

Bright Sun against dark starry sky
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lukasz Pawel Szczepanski

While most people understand that the sun is bigger than the Earth, what they don’t always understand is just how much bigger it is. The sun is large enough to fit approximately one million Earths inside it. And as big as the sun is, it’s not even considered a huge star. It is classified as average in size.

Space Is Becoming a Bit of a Garbage Dump

Space debris around planet Earth
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Frame Stock Footage

It’s not a pleasant thought, but thanks to mankind there is a lot of “space junk” floating around in the universe. Scientists estimate that there are approximately 500,000 pieces of satellites, rockets, spanners and more floating around. During the construction of the International Space Station (ISS), much of this space junk was created, but it’s certainly not the only culprit.

Asteroids are More Common Than You May Think

Abstract cosmic background with asteroids and glowing stars.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vadim Sadovski

People may be amazed, and even a bit alarmed, to hear how common asteroids are. It is estimated that about once a year an asteroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere. They are typically the size of a car, but the good news is that they break up and burn up before hitting the surface.

With that said, NASA has identified a list of asteroids that could pose the most danger to Earth if they were to hit. NASA is continuously monitoring the skies for any potential catastrophic collisions.

If you trace back 66 million years ago, an asteroid the size of a city collided with Earth. The results were shocking as the detonation is thought to have been equivalent to 72 trillion tons of TNT. You can still clearly see the damage left behind in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico where there is a 100-mile-wide “scar” on the Earth.

Then there was the epic collision that destroyed almost 80% of species on Earth, including the dinosaurs, known as the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction.

Neptune Takes a Long Time to Orbit the Sun

The Neptune with moons shot from space.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Vadim Sadovski

Did you know that the planet of Neptune was first discovered in 1846? Since that point, scientists and researchers studied it, tracked it, and learned all they could. What is interesting is that it has only managed to complete a full orbit of the sun once since being discovered. Neptune takes 165 years to fully orbit the sun.

And if you think that’s a long time, Pluto has Neptune beat. Pluto was discovered in 1930 and hasn’t yet completed a full orbit. It takes 248 years to complete a full orbit.

Earth Is Slowing Down

Planet Earth in Space.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / 24K-Production

Here’s an interesting fact that doesn’t seem like a big deal now but will add up over the centuries. The days are getting longer because Earth’s speed is slowing down. Each century the days become 1/500th of a second longer. Add that up over thousands of years, and Earth will be slower than it is today and the days will be longer and longer. In fact, it might be another 200 million years before a day on Earth is an hour longer!

Sunsets Aren’t the Same on Every Planet

James M. Robb - Colorado River State Park
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Patrick Jennings

The sunset is a beautiful thing to watch, the colors are striking and almost magical, but did you know the sunset we see on this Big Bang day won’t appear the same on any other planet? For instance, if you were watching a sunset on Mars, it would look blue.

A Day Doesn’t Pass in a Blink of an Eye on Mercury

Solar System - Mercury.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / NASA images

A day can pass pretty quickly when you’re busy, and you may find yourself using that popular saying that it went by “in a blink of an eye”. That’s certainly not the case on Mercury where one day equates to 59 Earth days.

Where things get even more mind-boggling is how long it takes to move from sunrise to sunset. A “solar day”, as it is called, lasts an incredible 176 Earth days. Meanwhile, an entire year on Mercury only lasts 88 Earth days.

Comets are Just Very Old “Leftovers”

A comet, an asteroid, a meteorite falls to the ground against a starry sky.
Image Credit: Shutterstock / Marko Aliaksandr

Spotting a comet is pretty incredible, and not something that happens every day. But once you know what a comet is, it makes the sighting even more amazing.

A comet is nothing more than “leftovers” from when the solar system was first created. That means the average age of a comet is about 4.5 billion years old. Comets are made up of a few different substances, including ice, gust, gas, and some organic material. Scientists refer to them as “dirty snowballs”.

New comets are discovered yearly, and there are currently about 1,000 known ones.

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