Our universe is full of most unbelievable wonders. Human has looked up to stars as long as we have existed, and have believed things like the Sun is rotating around the Earth, and that the Moon has seas of water. Not much was known until the space age began at 1957 as the Sputnik satellite was launched, but during past years we have gathered much information about the space surrounding us.
So, what have we learned so far? Here are 99 awesome space facts:
Space Facts 1-20
1. Sun accounts for about 99,86% of total mass of the solar system.
2. Apart from sun, the nearest star to the Earth is Proxima Centauri, it is 39.9 trillion kilometers away (4.2 light years).
3. Supernova expels almost all the materia of a star at speed up to 30,000 kilometers per second, it is over 10% of the speed of light.
4. It is estimated that Milky Way – the galaxy where our solar system is located – contains over 200 to 400 billion stars.
5. There are probably more than 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe.
6. The Milky way is moving at rate of 552 to 630 kilometers (343 to 391 miles) per second (depending on the relative frame of reference).
7. Io (a moon of Jupiter) is the most geologically active object in the solar system, with over 400 active volcanos. Several of them can produce plumes as high as 500 kilometers (300 miles).
8. Olympus Mons (a volcano on Mars) is the highest known volcano in the solar system, reaching height of 25 kilometers (15.5 miles). Mauna Loa, the highest volcano on the Earth reaches only 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).
9. VY Canis Majoris is the largest known star, with radius over 3 billion kilometers (1.9 billion miles), compared to the Sun which has radius of nearly 1.4 million kilometers, VY Canis Majoris is something that is even hard to imagine.
10. In couple of weeks or months supernova can emit the same amount of light than the Sun emits during its whole lifespan.
11. If the southern polar ice cap of Mars would melt, the volume of water would be enough to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 meters.
12. The largest moon of the solar system is Ganymede (a moon of Jupiter) with diameter of 5,268 kilometers (3,273 miles), making it also the ninth largest object in the solar system.
13. Jupiter has 64 confirmed moons
14. The Andromeda Galaxy is approaching Milky Way at rate of 100-140 kilometers (62-87 miles) per second.
15. It is estimated that The Andromeda Galaxy and Milky Way will collide in about 4.5 billion years.
16. The closest galaxy to Milky Way is Canis Major Dwarf Galaxy. It is located about 25,000 light-years away from our solar system and 42,000 light-years from the center of Milky Way.
17. All elements with an atomic number higher than helium are believed to born inside dying stars, this process is called stellar nucleosynthesis.
18. Heavy chemical elements such as gold born only when massive stars explode as supernova, because it takes high temperatures before they can be formed.
19. It takes 220-250 million years for the Sun to rotate once around the center of Milky Way.
20. Most of any materia is just full of empty space.
Space Facts 21-40
21. However, neutron stars are so dense, that approximately equal density could be achieved by compressing the entire human population to the size of a sugar cube.
22. Wind speeds on Saturn can reach 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) per hour.
23. The interior of Saturn is very hot, reaching 11,700 °C at the core.
24. Saturn has at least 62 moons.
25. There are 5 dwarf planets in the solar system, Pluto, Ceres, Makemake, Eris and Haumea.
26. The distance between Earth and Sun is 400 times more than the distance between Earth and Moon. The sun is 400 times bigger than the Moon, that is why total solar eclipses occur.
27. The total energy flow of sun striking the atmosphere of Earth is estimated to be around 174 petawatts (176,000,000,000,000,000 watts). It is approximately 1 / 2,000,000,000 of the total power of the Sun.
28. The most innermost and smallest planet in the solar system is Mercury.
29. If you would place a pinhead size piece of the sun in the Earth, standing within 145 kilometers (90 miles) of it would kill you.
30. 85% of stars in the Milky Way are part of multiple-star systems.
31. The only substance in the universe which can't be in a solid form is helium. It can't be cold enough.
32. The coldest place in the universe is on the Earth in Massachusetts in Wolfgang Ketterle's laboratory: 0.000000000001 degrees Kelvin.
33. The moon was probably born when a planet named Theia crashed on Earth.
34. 8000 starts are visible with naked eye from the Earth.
35. Total solar eclipses can only last for 7 minutes and 31 seconds due to the Moon's shade moving at 1700 kilometers (1056 miles) per hour.
36. A full moon is nine times brighter than a half-moon.
37. The Moon is moving away from the Earth at rate of 3.8 centimeters per year, eventually getting free from Earth's gravitation field.
38. Average galaxy has 40 billion stars.
39. Surface of Mars is covered by rust (iron oxide).
40. Planet SWEEPS-10 orbits around its star only in 10 hours. It is the shortest orbital period yet found.
Space Facts 41-60
41. Seasons last 21 years on Uranus. Each pole has 42 years of sunlight followed by 42 years of darkness.
42. Every day there are 20 million observable meteors. Only one to two of them reaches the surface of Earth.
43. There are at least 10^24 stars in the universe.
44. Any freely moving liquid in the outer space forms a sphere because of surface tension.
45. Neutron stars can rotate up to 500 times in only one second.
46. Sloan Great Wall is the largest found structure in the universe. It is a supercluster of galaxies and is over 1.37 billion light years wide.
47. Stars and galaxies started to form when the universe was approximately 1 billion years old.
48. About 70% of the universe consists so-called dark energy and 25% dark matter, leaving only 5% visible to us.
49. The gravitational force of a black hole is so strong that it can swallow even light. If you were to jump into black hole, you would be like spaghetti since the speed increases the more closer you are to black hole.
50. It would take 100,000 years to travel through our galaxy even at the speed of light.
51. We can see back in time by observing distant objects, because light takes time to travel.
52. Andromeda galaxy is the most distant galaxy in the universe which can be seen with naked eye. It is over 2.3 million light years away from the Earth.
53. It is estimated that 90% to 99% of all matter in the universe is hydrogen.
54. If two pieces of metal touch each other in the outer space, they become permanently attached.
55. The first living creature in the space was a dog named Laika.
56. Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, it is not the warmest.
57. Venus is the only planet in the solar system that rotates clockwise.
58. Jupiter's moon Europa may have liquid water oceans below its frozen surface.
59. Saturn has such a low density that it would float on water if there was an ocean big enough to let it float.
60. Saturn's moon Titan is the only moon in the solar system that has an atmosphere.
Space Facts 61-80
61. It takes 165 years for Neptune to go once around the sun.
62. Dwarf planet Pluto may have once been a moon of Neptune until it escaped the pull of gravity.
63. The oldest star in the Milky Way is about 13.2 billion years old - about the same age as Milky Way itself.
64. Milky Way has a black hole at its center with a mass over 4 million suns.
65. The Moon orbits the Earth at rate of 3,683 kilometers (2,288 miles) per hour.
66. Because Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, it always shows the same side to us.
67. Light reflected from the Moon travels 1.3 seconds down to Earth.
68. Gravity on the Moon is just 1/6 of that on Earth.
69. If the Moon never existed, the Earth would be spinning faster – so fast, that the length of our day would be only 6 hours.
70. More than one million Earths would fill inside the sun.
71. One AU (Astronomical Unit) is 149,597,870.7 kilometers (92,955,807.3 miles). It is approximately the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
72. 8 minutes and 19 seconds is the time that sunlight takes to travel from the Sun to the Earth, but it is actually over 30,000 years old. This is because it takes very long time for light to get through all layers of the Sun.
73. The Sun loses 5 million tons of materia every second.
74. A person who weights 70 kilograms here on Earth, would weight 1960 kilograms on the Sun.
75. If the Sun would become a black hole, it would be only couple of kilometers across.
76. The sun is almost at half way of its lifespan, at its most stable point.
77. An exoplanet is a planet outside of our solar system.
78. 690 exoplanets have been discovered (as of October 5, 2011).
79. The first confirmed detection of an exoplanet was in 1992.
80. Particles on cosmic dust are very fine, only having size of 0,0001 millimeters.
Space Facts 81-99
81. The largest known planet is WASP-17b. It is almost 2 times larger than Jupiter, which makes it 22 times larger than Earth.
82. The Sun is almost perfect ball, having only differences of 10 kilometer (6 miles) on the surface.
83. Structure of the universe is similar to the structure of brain cell.
84. Planets with liquid iron core have a magnetic field. When a planet swirls, so does liquid iron generating electric currents.
85. Hubble confirmed that the universe is getting bigger. It led to a theory which suggests that once everything was in smaller space than a grain of sand. It's called the Big Bang Theory.
86. Highly magnetized and fastly rotating neutron star that emits beam of electromagnetic radiation is called pulsar.
87. Saturn has only a small solid core, rest of it is almost entirely gas.
88. It takes 243.1 days for Venus to turn around. It is the slowest rotating planet in our solar system.
89. After the Moon, Venus is the second brightest natural object in the sky.
90. Planets that are primarily composed of silicate rocks and/or metals are called terrestrial planets.
91. From all terrestrial planets in the solar system, Venus has the most densest atmosphere. It hides the surface of Venus from visible light completely.
92. The atmospheric pressure on the surface of Venus is 92 times that on the Earth.
93. Uranus has the coldest atmosphere of all planets in the solar system, minimum at -224 degrees celsius (49 kelvin).
94. There exist exoplanet called PSR J1719-1438 b, which is probably made of crystalline carbon (diamond).
95. Miranda (a moon of Uranus) is geologically weird-looking moon. It looks like it has been ripped apart and then put back together.
96. Local Group is a cluster of 30 galaxies and it is where the Milky Way is located. Local Group is 7 billion light years across.
97. Rings of Saturn are sets of ice, small rocks and dust, orbiting around the equator of Saturn.
98. Temperature of a solar flare can reach 10 million degrees celsius and have the energy of over one million atom bombs.
99. Every star will die eventually, and turn into white dwarf. As it slowly uses all the thermal energy stored, it will stop emitting light and become a black dwarf. However, this process takes so long time, that there isn't probably any black dwarfs in the current universe.
These facts about space have been gathered from many sources, some of them straight from NASA's website and other similar sources. Some of them have also been mentioned in BBC documents (like Wonders of The Universe). If you find any errors, typos or other major or minor mistakes in the article please leave a comment below.