Astronomy is an amazing field of research. It is never boring also thanks to its wide variety of subjects. Some astronomers study volcanoes on Mars, others examine stars, while there are also astronomers examining the existence of other universes. During their researches, some scientists have, accidentally or not, discovered some really cool facts about stars, space, and other astronomical topics. It is safe to say that space is a very weird place. We have listed our 3 favorite astronomical facts.
The night sky is history
Looking up into the sky, staring at all the stars is like looking back into time. Nothing travels faster than the speed of light, but even light takes time to get to places. It takes a ray of sunlight about 8 minutes to get to Earth. And the Sun is very near to us compared to all the other stars. The nearest star to our solar system is Proxima Centauri. The light of that star takes 4.25 years to reach Earth. That’s how long it takes light to travel 40,208,000,000,000 kilometers. The farthest star we can see with our naked eye is V762 Cas. If you look at that star tonight, you will see the light it emitted 16308 years ago. If we use tools such as ultraviolet observation, we can see stars with exotic names such as SDSS J122952.66+112227.8. This star is 55 million light years away. The light we see today, comes from a time 10 million years after the dinosaurs were extinct. It was long before any human walked the face of the Earth. And for all we know, this star has gone supernova many many years ago.
Closer to the Sun doesn’t mean warmer
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. So it would make sense that this is the hottest planet, only that isn’t so. Venus, despite being almost twice as far from the Sun, is warmer than Mercury. The heat of the Sun has to travel 50 million kilometers more to get to Venus, but once it’s there it stays there. Venus has an atmosphere, and it is a lot thicker than the atmosphere on Earth. It is thick enough to permanently contain the warmth that the sunlight brings. So day or night, winter or summer, on Venus it is always around 460 degrees Celsius. This makes Venus about 30 degrees warmer on average than Mercury’s hottest day ever. Due to the lack of atmosphere on Mercury, it can even cool down to -173 degrees Celsius.
Lucy the star is a girl’s best friend
50 light years away in the Centaurus constellation, there is a star called Lucy. This star is named after the Beatles song Lucy in the sky with diamonds, and for good reason. Lucy is a star made entirely out of diamond! After the star died, it crystallized. It was made of carbon which turned into diamond over time. Astronomers say this might happen to our Sun as well after it burned all its fuel. But for that to happen, you’ll need to wait another 5 billion years.