100 Fascinating Space Facts That Will Amaze You

Triton, one of Neptune’s moons, has a unique backwards orbit unlike any other large moon in our solar system.

With new space discoveries being made on a weekly basis, it’s hardly surprising that we’ve compiled this list of 100 strange and interesting facts about space!

Contents
  1. There’s always something new to learn about space!
  2. Mercury and Venus are the only planets in our solar system without moons.
  3. A star that ventures too close to a black hole can be ripped apart.
  4. Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system.
  5. Our solar system is 4.57 billion years old.
  6. Enceladus, one of Saturn’s smaller moons, reflects 90% of the sun’s light.
  7. Olympus Mons, located on Mars, is the tallest mountain discovered so far.
  8. The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) was the first observed celestial object to exhibit spiral patterns.
  9. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year.
  10. The Milky Way galaxy has a width of 105,700 light-years.
  11. The Sun is 330,000 times heavier than Earth.
  12. Footprints on the Moon do not disappear because there is no wind.
  13. Due to lower gravity, a person weighing 220 lbs on Earth would weigh 84 lbs on Mars.
  14. Jupiter has 79 known moons.
  15. A Martian day is 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds long.
  16. NASA’s Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) discovered evidence of water on the Moon.
  17. The Sun completes a full rotation every 25-35 days.
  18. Earth is the only planet not named after a deity.
  19. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon.
  20. Thunderstorms are a common occurrence on Earth.
  21. The Earth’s rotation is slowing down over time.
  22. Driving around Saturn’s rings would take a very long time.
  23. Outer space isn’t as far away as you might think.
  24. The International Space Station orbits Earth every 92 minutes.
  25. Stars twinkle because of Earth’s atmosphere.
  26. The Moon always shows us the same side.
  27. Galaxies come in three main types.
  28. The Milky Way is home to millions of stars.
  29. You can see a few different galaxies with the naked eye.
  30. Scientists discovered a radio signal from a distant source.
  31. The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to us.
  32. The first supernova spotted outside of our galaxy was in 1885.
  33. The first-ever photograph of a black hole showed one that is 3 million times larger than Earth.
  34. An Astronomical Unit (AU) is the distance between the Sun and Earth.
  35. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was named after his mother’s maiden name, Moon.
  36. Venus experiences metal snow and sulfuric acid rain.
  37. The Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to visit Mercury in 1974.
  38. Space is completely silent due to the lack of air to carry sound vibrations.
  39. Coca-Cola was the first commercial soft drink consumed in space.
  40. Astronauts can grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) taller in space due to the lack of gravity.
  41. Asteroids are remnants of the early solar system, formed over 4 billion years ago.
  42. Astronauts are unable to burp in space due to the lack of gravity preventing the separation of gas from food in their stomachs.
  43. Originally named “George’s Star” after William Hershel’s patron King George III, Uranus was officially named in 1850 despite being discovered in 1781.
  44. Sunsets on Mars appear blue due to the way the planet’s thin atmosphere captures blue light from the sun.
  45. Despite being much smaller than Earth, the Moon’s gravity varies depending on location on its surface. The Earth is approximately 81 times heavier than the Moon.
  46. The first mammal sent into space was a stray dog from Moscow named Laika, who tragically died 5-7 hours into her flight due to overheating and stress.
  47. The origin of the word astronaut comes from the Greek words “astron”, meaning “star”, and “nautes”, meaning “sailor”.
  48. NASA, which stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is a US government agency established in 1958 that discovers new facts about space on a daily basis.
  49. Gennady Padalka, an RKA cosmonaut, holds the record for the most time spent in space at 879 days. He has worked on both Mir and the International Space Station.
  50. Mercury lacks an atmosphere, meaning that there is no wind or weather on the planet. Instead, it has a thin exosphere composed of atoms blasted off the surface by the solar wind and meteoroids.
  51. The Milky Way is referred to as the “Silver River” in China, while in Japan and Korea the term refers to galaxies in general.
  52. Low-mass Red Dwarf stars can burn for up to 10 trillion years!
  53. Scientists were wrong about Mercury always facing the Sun.
  54. Jupiter’s Red Spot is getting smaller.
  55. Jupiter attracts many asteroids, making it the dumping grounds for our solar system.
  56. A day on Mercury is equivalent to 58 Earth days.
  57. Pens don’t work in space because there is no gravity to pull the ink towards the nib.
  58. Light takes only 1.3 seconds to travel from the Moon to Earth.
  59. There are 88 recognized star constellations in the night sky, observable from both hemispheres.
  60. The center of a comet is called a “nucleus” and the tail is called a “coma” or “tail”.
  61. Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006 because it does not gravitationally dominate its orbit’s neighborhood.
  62. There are 5 recognized Dwarf Planets in our Solar System: Ceres, Makemake, Haumea, Eris, and Pluto.
  63. FAQ

There’s always something new to learn about space!

Thanks to technological advancements, we’ve learned more about space in the past century than in all of human history preceding it.

We’ve searched the universe for the most incredible space facts, covering everything from planets and moons in our solar system to the vast beyond of the Milky Way. We’re sure that #100 will bring a smile to your face!

Without further ado, let’s blast off into these 100 amazing space facts!

Mercury and Venus are the only planets in our solar system without moons.

Altogether, there are 176 confirmed moons orbiting planets in our solar system, some of which are larger than Mercury itself!

A star that ventures too close to a black hole can be ripped apart.

For two decades, a team of astronomers have been observing a star at the center of our galaxy as it orbits a black hole.

The star has now gotten close enough to the black hole for “gravitational redshift” to occur, causing the star’s light to lose energy as the black hole’s gravity intensifies.

Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system.

Many people assume that the closest planet to the sun, Mercury, would be the hottest. However, Venus’s atmosphere is composed of gases that create a “greenhouse effect,” resulting in a constant surface temperature of 864°F (462°C).

Our solar system is 4.57 billion years old.

More or less 30 million years, give or take. Precisely speaking, it’s 4.571 billion years old.

Scientists estimate that the sun will expand and become a Red Giant in roughly 5 billion years, eventually engulfing the Earth in about 7.5 billion years.

Enceladus, one of Saturn’s smaller moons, reflects 90% of the sun’s light.

Because Enceladus’s icy surface reflects sunlight instead of absorbing it, temperatures can reach as low as -394°F (-201°C).

Olympus Mons, located on Mars, is the tallest mountain discovered so far.

Its peak towers 16 miles (25 km) high, almost three times taller than Mount Everest. And not only is it tall, but it’s also 374,015 ft² (114,000 m²) wide, roughly the size of Arizona!

The Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) was the first observed celestial object to exhibit spiral patterns.

The Whirlpool Galaxy’s grand spiraling arms consist of long lanes of stars and gas, interspersed with plenty of space dust.

These spiral arms act as factories for star creation, compressing hydrogen gas and generating clusters of new stars.

A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year.

Light travels at a speed of approximately 186,411 miles (300,000 km) per second.

Therefore, one light-year is equal to roughly 5,903,026,326,255 miles!

The Milky Way galaxy has a width of 105,700 light-years.

A modern spacecraft would take 450,000,000 years to travel to the center of our galaxy!

If you want to learn more amazing space facts, check out this list of Milky Way facts!

The Sun is 330,000 times heavier than Earth.

It is about 109 times larger than Earth and so massive that Earth could fit inside the Sun approximately 1,300,000 times!

In fact, the Sun contains 99.85% of all the mass in our solar system.

Footprints on the Moon do not disappear because there is no wind.

But wait… if there is no wind to blow the flag, why is it waving? Well, it is not actually waving.

The rippling effect is caused by a stubborn telescopic horizontal rod that the astronauts were struggling to remove from the flag’s upper hem.

If you are still unsure whether humans have walked on the Moon, here are 5 common Moon landing myths debunked.

Due to lower gravity, a person weighing 220 lbs on Earth would weigh 84 lbs on Mars.

Scientists plan for this when sending robots to the surface of Mars by loading them up with more equipment and building them from more robust materials.

Jupiter has 79 known moons.

Jupiter has the most moons in our solar system, including the largest moon, Ganymede, which has a diameter of 33,279 miles (5,262 km) – bigger than Mercury – and is visible with just a pair of binoculars!

A Martian day is 24 hours, 39 minutes, and 35 seconds long.

One might assume that there are fewer days in a Martian year than an Earth year, but that is incorrect!

Because Mars orbits the Sun slower than Earth, there are actually 687 Martian days in a Martian year!

NASA’s Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) discovered evidence of water on the Moon.

Although water cannot exist on the Moon’s surface under current conditions, scientists believe that water ice could survive within the cold, permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles.

The Sun completes a full rotation every 25-35 days.

For us on Earth, one full rotation equals one full day. However, our massive Sun takes 25-35 Earth days to complete a full rotation!

If you want to learn more space facts, check out these 40 fiery facts about the Sun!

Earth is the only planet not named after a deity.

No one knows how Earth got its name; all we know is that it comes from a combination of the Old English and Old Germanic words for “ground.”

Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon.

The Moon’s gravitational pull causes the Earth and its water to bulge out on the side closest to the Moon, resulting in high tides. Pluto is smaller than the United States, and walking around its equator is approximately the same distance as walking from London to Denver. White holes are hypothetical regions of space-time that cannot be entered from the outside, but matter and light can escape from within. Venus has the most volcanoes of any planet in our solar system, but most are probably extinct. Uranus’ blue appearance is due to the methane in its upper atmosphere filtering out red light and reflecting blue light back into space. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are gas giants, with Uranus having 27 known moons. Its unique tilt causes a season on Uranus to last 21 Earth years, and a day to last 17 hours, 14 minutes, and 24 seconds. Triton, Neptune’s moon, orbits the planet backwards and is gradually getting closer, potentially creating another ring around Neptune. There are more stars visible through a telescope than grains of sand on Earth.

In numbers, 70 sextillion is equal to 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Neptune’s orbit around the Sun takes approximately 165 Earth years, which is equivalent to 60,190 Earth days. The planet has a slow orbital speed of 3.37 miles per second (5.43 km/s) and has only completed one orbit since its discovery in 1846. Charon, Pluto’s largest moon, is half the size of Pluto and has mutual tidal locking. The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest manned object ever sent into space, measuring 119 yards (109 meters) long. A day on Pluto lasts for 153.6 hours due to its slow rotation rate. Saturn is the second-largest planet in the solar system and has a radius of 36,184 miles (58,232 km). Any free-moving liquid in outer space will form a sphere due to surface tension. The Inner Planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, are named so because they orbit closest to the Sun. Mars and Earth’s Moon are fully mapped, whereas only 5% of the ocean floor is mapped. The Black Arrow is the only British satellite launched using a British rocket. Only 5% of the universe is visible from Earth, with 68% being dark energy and 27% being dark matter. Light from the Sun reaches Earth in less than 10 minutes.

Thunderstorms are a common occurrence on Earth.

At any given moment, there are at least 2,000 thunderstorms happening on Earth, and an estimated 16 million thunderstorms occur worldwide each year. The US alone experiences roughly 100,000 thunderstorms annually. To learn more interesting facts about thunder and lightning, click here.

The Earth’s rotation is slowing down over time.

Tidal effects from the Moon cause the Earth’s rotation to slow down, resulting in shorter days in the past.

Driving around Saturn’s rings would take a very long time.

The total length of Saturn’s rings is approximately 175,000 miles, but they are only around 3,200 feet thick. If you were driving at 75 miles per hour, it would take you 258 days to drive around the planet’s rings. To discover more interesting facts about Saturn’s rings, visit this page.

Outer space isn’t as far away as you might think.

There is no official boundary for where space begins, but the Kármán line, 62 miles above sea level, is commonly used as the start of outer space in space treaties and records keeping for aerospace.

The International Space Station orbits Earth every 92 minutes.

The ISS orbits at a speed of roughly 17,150 miles per hour, or 5 miles per second.

Stars twinkle because of Earth’s atmosphere.

As starlight enters our atmosphere, it is affected by winds and different areas and temperatures, which causes the light to twinkle.

The Moon always shows us the same side.

The Moon rotates on its axis at the same rate that it orbits the Earth, resulting in synchronous rotation or tidal locking.

Galaxies come in three main types.

Elliptical, spiral, and irregular galaxies are the three primary classifications. The Milky Way, which contains our solar system, is classified as a spiral galaxy.

The Milky Way is home to millions of stars.

With an estimated 100 billion stars, the Milky Way is the galaxy with the most stars.

You can see a few different galaxies with the naked eye.

Andromeda Galaxy, both Magellanic Clouds, Milky Way, Triangulum Galaxy, Omega Centauri, and the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy are visible with the naked eye.

Scientists discovered a radio signal from a distant source.

In 2016, scientists detected a radio signal from a source 5 billion light-years away, indicating that the signal began its journey long before Earth existed. The signals were located using the Very Large Array (VLA) of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in New Mexico.

The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to us.

The Andromeda Galaxy is estimated to be 2.5 million light-years away from us.

Prior to discovering the Andromeda Galaxy, scientists believed that the Large Magellanic Cloud was the closest galaxy to our own.

The first supernova spotted outside of our galaxy was in 1885.

This supernova was named S Andromedae and was located in the Andromeda galaxy. Ernst Hartwig, an Estonian astronomer, observed it using a telescope that had been recently invented.

The first-ever photograph of a black hole showed one that is 3 million times larger than Earth.

The image was released in April 2019 and depicts a halo of dust and gas that is 310 million trillion miles away from Earth. The photograph was taken by the Event Horizon Telescope, a network of eight telescopes, and was made possible by the algorithm of programmer Katie Bouman.

An Astronomical Unit (AU) is the distance between the Sun and Earth.

One AU is equivalent to approximately 93 million miles or 150 million kilometers.

Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, was named after his mother’s maiden name, Moon.

Buzz Aldrin’s birth name was Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. His sister used to mispronounce “brother” as “buzzer,” which eventually became his nickname. In 1988, he legally changed his first name to Buzz.

Venus experiences metal snow and sulfuric acid rain.

The planet’s high levels of sulfuric acid cause its metals to turn into gas, then liquid, and finally solidify into snow. The freezing temperatures in the atmosphere cause the snow to fall to the ground as rain.

The Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to visit Mercury in 1974.

Launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 1973, it flew by Venus three months later before entering Mercury’s orbit. It photographed 45% of Mercury’s surface. The second spacecraft to visit Mercury, the Messenger, completed mapping 100% of the planet’s surface in 2013.

Space is completely silent due to the lack of air to carry sound vibrations.

Even if you were to shout in space, no one would hear you.

Coca-Cola was the first commercial soft drink consumed in space.

Applesauce was the first food eaten in space during John Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission in 1962.

Astronauts can grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) taller in space due to the lack of gravity.

The discs between their vertebrae expand slightly in the absence of gravity. However, they return to their original height upon returning to Earth’s gravity.

The Kuiper Belt is a region in the Solar System that lies beyond Neptune’s orbit. It is a group of icy bodies, including Pluto. Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to travel to space during the Vostok 6 mission in 1963. She spent three days in space and orbited the Earth 48 times before returning. Saturn’s rings are composed of dusty water ice ranging in size from dust to boulders, making them incredibly thin. The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built, with over 15,000 published papers and 738,000 citations. The first artificial satellite in space was Sputnik, launched by the Soviet Union in 1957. Exoplanets are planets that orbit around stars other than the Sun. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has discovered thousands of them since its launch. The center of the Milky Way smells like rum and tastes like raspberries due to the chemical ethyl formate. Our moon is moving away from Earth at a rate of 1.6 inches (4 cm) per year, but it won’t move out of Earth’s gravity for billions of years. Pluto is named after the Roman god of the underworld, not the Disney Dog, and was suggested by an eleven-year-old British schoolgirl. Spacesuit helmets have a Velcro patch solely for astronauts to itch. The International Space Station is visible to more than 90% of the Earth’s population, appearing as a fast-moving star in the night sky. Saturn is the only planet that could float in water due to its low density.

Despite being the second largest planet in our solar system, Saturn is surprisingly light due to it being mostly made up of gas. In fact, it is so light that it could float in water if you had a large enough bathtub.

Asteroids are remnants of the early solar system, formed over 4 billion years ago.

The formation of Jupiter prevented the creation of any planetary bodies between Mars and Jupiter, leading to collisions between small objects and the formation of asteroids.

Astronauts are unable to burp in space due to the lack of gravity preventing the separation of gas from food in their stomachs.

Originally named “George’s Star” after William Hershel’s patron King George III, Uranus was officially named in 1850 despite being discovered in 1781.

To see when other planets in our solar system were discovered, check out these fun facts.

Sunsets on Mars appear blue due to the way the planet’s thin atmosphere captures blue light from the sun.

Mars has less than 1% of Earth’s atmosphere.

Despite being much smaller than Earth, the Moon’s gravity varies depending on location on its surface. The Earth is approximately 81 times heavier than the Moon.

The first mammal sent into space was a stray dog from Moscow named Laika, who tragically died 5-7 hours into her flight due to overheating and stress.

The origin of the word astronaut comes from the Greek words “astron”, meaning “star”, and “nautes”, meaning “sailor”.

NASA, which stands for National Aeronautics and Space Administration, is a US government agency established in 1958 that discovers new facts about space on a daily basis.

If you want to learn more about NASA, check out these interesting facts.

Gennady Padalka, an RKA cosmonaut, holds the record for the most time spent in space at 879 days. He has worked on both Mir and the International Space Station.

Mercury lacks an atmosphere, meaning that there is no wind or weather on the planet. Instead, it has a thin exosphere composed of atoms blasted off the surface by the solar wind and meteoroids.

The Milky Way is referred to as the “Silver River” in China, while in Japan and Korea the term refers to galaxies in general.

Low-mass Red Dwarf stars can burn for up to 10 trillion years!

Red Dwarfs are small, cool stars in later stages of life with surface temperatures less than 7,200k degrees Fahrenheit.

Scientists were wrong about Mercury always facing the Sun.

Mercury rotates three times during every two orbits, discovered in 1965.

Jupiter’s Red Spot is getting smaller.

Once three times the size of Earth, the storm is shrinking and getting taller. Scientists are unsure of the cause but suspect changes in Jupiter’s jet streams.

Jupiter attracts many asteroids, making it the dumping grounds for our solar system.

Long period comets and potentially harmful asteroids tend to be pulled in by Jupiter’s gravity field.

A day on Mercury is equivalent to 58 Earth days.

Mercury rotates very slowly compared to Earth.

Pens don’t work in space because there is no gravity to pull the ink towards the nib.

Special pens have been made for use in zero gravity environments.

Light takes only 1.3 seconds to travel from the Moon to Earth.

The distance between the two is only 238,855 miles (384,400 kilometers).

There are 88 recognized star constellations in the night sky, observable from both hemispheres.

The center of a comet is called a “nucleus” and the tail is called a “coma” or “tail”.

Halley’s Comet has been documented since 240BC.

Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006 because it does not gravitationally dominate its orbit’s neighborhood.

There are 5 recognized Dwarf Planets in our Solar System: Ceres, Makemake, Haumea, Eris, and Pluto.

Ceres, the largest asteroid in our solar system, is also a dwarf planet that resides in the asteroid belt. It is unique among dwarf planets as it is not located in the outer solar system.

Out of all the planets in our solar system, Mars is the most likely to be hospitable to life. NASA found what they believe may be microscopic fossils of living organisms in a rock recovered from its surface in 1986.

Halley’s Comet, which orbits the Earth once every 75-76 years, will pass over our planet again on July 26, 2061. This is an exciting space fact for kids to look forward to, as the last time the comet was seen was on February 9, 1986.

55 Cancri e is a planet that is half the radius of Earth and may have a surface made up of graphite and diamonds. It has a mass eight times that of Earth’s and is visible to the naked eye under the constellation of Cancer.

Buzz Lightyear from the movie Toy Story has actually been to outer space! He spent 15 months onboard the International Space Station and returned to Earth on September 11, 2009.

Space has always been a weird and wonderful thing for mankind to observe and learn from. By understanding our galaxy, we may be able to understand our place in it and how our world came to be. We hope these 100 cool space facts helped to make the mystery of space less mysterious. If you enjoyed these unusual facts about space, check out our Space category for more. All these fun space facts were accurate at the time of writing, and we will update them regularly if needed.

FAQ

1. What is the largest planet in our solar system?

The largest planet in our solar system is Jupiter. It is 2.5 times more massive than all the other planets in the solar system combined. It has 79 known moons, the largest of which is Ganymede, which is even bigger than the planet Mercury.

2. How long does it take for the sun’s light to reach Earth?

The sun’s light takes about 8 minutes and 20 seconds to reach Earth. This means that when we look at the sun, we are actually seeing it as it appeared more than 8 minutes ago!

3. What is a black hole?

A black hole is a region in space where the gravitational pull is so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. They are formed when a massive star dies and its core collapses in on itself. Black holes can range in size from a few times the mass of the sun to billions of times the mass of the sun.

4. How many galaxies are there in the observable universe?

There are estimated to be more than 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Each galaxy can contain billions of stars, and there may be countless planets orbiting those stars.

5. What is the closest star to our solar system?

The closest star to our solar system is Proxima Centauri, which is 4.24 light years away. It is part of a triple star system called Alpha Centauri, which also includes the stars Alpha Centauri A and B.

6. How long does it take for a spacecraft to reach Mars?

The time it takes for a spacecraft to reach Mars depends on the distance between the two planets, which varies depending on where they are in their respective orbits. The shortest possible travel time is about 6 months, but it can take up to 9 months or more.

7. What is the Kuiper Belt?

The Kuiper Belt is a region of space beyond the orbit of Neptune that is filled with icy objects, including dwarf planets like Pluto. It is believed to be the source of many comets that orbit the sun. The Kuiper Belt is named after astronomer Gerard Kuiper, who predicted its existence in the 1950s.

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