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13 Surprising Facts About Outer Space

These fun facts about our universe are out of this world!


By Caralynn Lippo, Purple Clover

Space Day takes place on the first Friday in May every year. The annually observed unofficial holiday was created by the Lockheed Martin Corporation back in 1997 as "National Space Day." Just a few years later, in 2001, former astronaut and Senator John Glenn expanded it to International Space Day.

In honor of the day dedicated to observing the achievements of space exploration and honoring those who have pioneered these discoveries, we're rounding up some of the most awe-inspiring and incredible facts about outer space.



The biggest volcano in existence (that we currently know of) is on Mars. It's called Olympus Mons, and it's three times the size of Earth's Mount Everest. So, pretty darn huge.



Sunsets on our planet are typically shaded in pink, red, and orange hues. But sunsets on Mars look quite different — they actually appear blue!



As technology improves over time, so does our ability to explore space. In the past 20 years alone, scientists and researchers have found evidence of more than 1,000 previously undiscovered planets outside our solar system.



Because Earth's axis will change, so will what is currently known as the North Star. Polaris is currently the North Star, but it won't be forever. Circa 2600 B.C., the star Thuban in the constellation of Draco was the North Star. By the year 14,000 A.D., the star Vega will likely be considered the North Star.



Halley's Comet is pretty much the world's (or I guess the universe's) most well-known comet. Despite that, it's rarely seen — the comet only passes Earth once about every 75 years. It was last seen in 1986 and is expected to be seen for the next time in 2061. That means individuals who were alive in 1986 may well live to see it pass by twice in their lifetime!



Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to ours — the Milky Way — at about 2.5 million light-years from Earth. These means two things: One, you can see it with the naked eye, and two, it will eventually collide with our galaxy. But don't worry; that "galactic collision" isn't expected to happen for another 3.75 billion years, give or take.



There are so many stars in the known universe that it's literally an uncountable number.



There's a super-earth planet that scientists believe is likely made out of diamond. The alient planet, dubbed 55 Cancri e, was discovered in 2004, when it was spotted around a nearby star in the Milky Way. At least one-third of 55 Cancri e's mass is probably pure diamond.



News flash: The sun is big. Like, real big. As in, it's the biggest object in our solar system. In fact, it's so large — especially in comparison to everything else in the solar system — that its mass accounts for a whopping 99% of the system's total mass.



There are plenty of other big things in the solar system though. For example, the largest asteroid is Ceres. It's the largest object within the asteroid belt that lies between Mars' and Jupiter's orbits. It's so big, it was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006.



While there isn't any known life in the universe outside of Earth, if there is life somewhere, scientists think it's most likely to be (or have been) on Mars. This is because it's more similar to our planet than anywhere else — at least, that we currently know about — in the solar system.



So far, the moon is the only other world humans have set food on, during the Moon Landing back in 1969. Because it has no atmosphere or wind, the footprints that the astronauts left behind are still perfectly preserved today and likely will remain that way for millions of years.



The award for the hottest planet goes to Venus. It's around 450 degrees Celsius. Oddly, it's not the closest planet to the sun — that's Mercury.



How many of these fun facts about outer space did you know? Don't forget to share them with your friends and family!

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Tech Magazine: 13 Surprising Facts About Outer Space
13 Surprising Facts About Outer Space
These fun facts about our universe are out of this world!
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