5 Amazing Facts About The Solar System
5 Amazing Facts About The Solar System
With all its vastness, space is loaded with magnificent spectacles and phenomena. Researchers and Scientists have been wowing us with breathtaking findings for years, yet space never ceases to amaze us.
From ice-spewing volcanoes on Pluto to canyons the size of the United States on Mars, it’s a strange place out there. So read on, as we’ve curated 5 cool facts about our Solar System that will make you appreciate it a whole lot more.
Uranus Spins Sideways
Uranus appears as a plain blue ball, but this gas giant is rather strange. The planet rotates on its side, like a ball rolling around the sun. It is speculated that the planet’s unusual orientation, approximately 90 degrees sideways compared to other planets, is due to some sort of collision in the past.
Another reason astronomers think Uranus is a puzzling planet is its extreme conditions. NASA considers that Uranus’ tilt causes the most extreme season in the solar system. It means that the sun stays directly over the planet’s north or south pole for about a quarter of a year on Uranus. So in Earth’s timeline, it’s like half of Uranus never sees the sun for two decades.
Jupiter’s Volcanic Moon
Not all moons are as calm and collected as Earth’s moon. Take Jupiter’s moon Io for example. It is considered the most active moon in the solar system, with hundreds of volcanoes sending sulfur up to 300 kilometers into its atmosphere. According to a statement from NASA, Io’s volcanos cast more than 900 kilograms of gases and other particles into space each second.
This volcanic activity occurs due to Jupiter’s gravitational pull, which makes the moon’s insides contract and expand as it orbits closer to and farther from the planet. This constant tug and pull generate enough energy for volcanic activity.
Valles Marineris – Significantly Longer Than Grand Canyon
4,000 km long, the immense Martian canyons, also known as Valles Marineris, are more than 10 times longer than the Grand Canyon on Earth.
Valles Marineris went unnoticed by early Mars spacecraft and was ultimately discovered by the global mapping mission of Mariner 9 in 1971. As per current records, Valles Marineris could stretch across the entire United States of America from coast to coast.
Venus, Hell Of The Solar System
The surface’s high-temperature and high-pressure environment make Venus the most hellish planet in our solar system. Researchers have commented that Venus could perhaps be the most inhospitable to life due to dry winds and extreme heat in the air.
According to studies, the upper winds of the planet flow 50 times faster than its rotation. Between 2006 and 2014, the European Venus Express spacecraft detected periodic variations in the wind. In addition, it was observed that the wind’s hurricane force was getting stronger over time.
Mercury Keeps Getting Smaller
Mercury has always been the smallest planet in the solar system. It is also the second-densest planet after Earth. And it’s only getting smaller and denser as time passes.
Early researchers believed that Earth was the only planet with tectonic activity. However, the MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging) spacecraft brought new evidence to light and changed that notion forever.
The spacecraft accomplished its first mission to Mercury, recording the planet in high definition to observe its surface features closely. In 2016, data from MESSENGER showed cliff-like landforms known as fault scarps. The fault scarps appeared relatively small, suggesting they weren’t created long ago. This means the planet is still shrinking billions of years after the solar system’s formation.
Just within this solar system, there is an abundance of fascinating things to know. However, there is a whole world beyond our solar system, which gets more and more fascinating as you delve deeper into space. There are comets, asteroids, dwarf planets, mysterious moons, and a host of bizarre occurrences that are so bizarre that explanations are rendered useless.
Starscapes is the first chain of astronomy observatories in India. Our mission is to promote Astro-Tourism in the country and provide more avenues for amateur astronomers. Come, visit us in Kausani, Bhimtal, Mukteshwar, Coorg, and Ooty and study the sky and constellations with our astronomy tours and world-class telescopes. You can also learn about advances in astrophysics and space exploration through our workshops and online discussions with experts. That’s not all. One of our exciting offerings is astrophotography sessions that help you see the universe differently through your camera lens.
There’s something more to experience every time you visit us.