The universe is a place filled with unknown wonders and the human race is on a quest to discover what lies beyond our rock. And while it is endless and ever-expanding, in many ways, our solar system is the best sample size we have close to home to help us understand its workings.
Which is why, to please the bug of curiosity within you, we bring 7 amazing facts from our solar system that you probably did not know – and will without a doubt, blow your mind!
Let’s take a look:
1. Uranus revolves tilted on its side
Uranus is the 7th planet in the solar system and appears as a smooth blue ball in the sky. Made up entirely of gases, the planet is one of the largest in our solar system and revolves around the sun tilted on its side.
Not just that, the planet is also filled with hydrogen sulfide clouds, the same gas that makes eggs smell bad. Imagine having to live on Uranus for a day? Would you want to visit the planet if you could?
2. Mars is home to a volcano almost the size of Maharashtra
If you thought the largest volcano on Earth, Hawaii’s Mauna Loa was huge, wait till you found out about Olympus Mons – the largest known volcano in the solar system.
Measuring over 300,000 sq. km and standing 25 kms tall (3 times the size of Mt. Everest), this Red Planet landmark is a true wonder of our solar system. The reason for its immense size is the weaker gravity in Mars, but scientists are still trying to find out how this volcano came to being and whether Mars too has an active continental tectonic plates system.
3. Venus is always windy
Venus is unique with its high-temperature and high-pressure atmosphere. But what truly stands out to scientists is that its upper winds are 50 times stronger than the speed of its rotation.
The reason for this anomaly is unknown. However, during its course, the European Venus Express spacecraft tracked the winds for around 8 years (2006-2014) and found out that the currents are only getting stronger with time.
4. There might be extreme life in the solar system
No, not the aliens we have imagined in films, books, and other pop culture mediums.
But scientists now believe that there might be extreme microbes existing on some of the planets in the solar system. They have discovered that some tenacious micro-organisms are able to live in underwater volcanic vents or survive in polar ice caps.
This discovery has increased the possibility of existing micro-organisms and that is definitely something to get excited about.
5. Rings are just limited to planets
It is no secret that all outer solar system planets (Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune) have their own rings. However, did you know that even the Chariklo asteroid has its own rings?
How such a small space body has managed its own rings is still a mystery, but the scientists hypothesize that it might have been a result of a shattered moonlet that was reduced to particles and formed rings around the asteroid.
6. Jupiter’s Great Storm is still wrecking
Ever since powerful telescopes have been invented, scientists have observed what is known as The Great Red Spot on Jupiter.
This storm is the largest known in the Solar System and in 2014, it was measured to be 16,500 kms across. While scientists are still trying decipher why it has been blowing for so long, since its discovery in the late 19th century, the storm has been shrinking over time and the last measurement was only half of its historical size.
7. Neptune radiates more heat than it absorbs from the Sun
In spite of being one of the farthest planets from the Sun, Neptune radiates more heat than it absorbs from the Sun. This is an anomalous behavior and scientists are still trying to find out what causes the temperature differential.
However, until we are able to send probes to Neptune with better technology, the mystery will continue to exist.
These are just some of the mind-blowing things that we are able to observe about our solar system. But with the wondrous nature of the universe and the ever-growing arsenal of technology, we are closer today than we ever were, to understanding its billion mysteries.
Tell us in the comments section below which fact blew your mind and why.