World Astronomy Day: This Thursday (08), the World Astronomy Day is remembered in Brazil. The science area studies celestial bodies and phenomena that occur outside the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition to remembering how fascinating this field of knowledge is, the date is an opportunity to pay homage to great names who have dedicated themselves to discovering the mysteries of the universe.
In history, the world has seen brilliant minds like Nicholas Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Edwin Hubble, Carl Sagan, Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Stephen Hawking contribute to the area. In Brazil, researchers such as Sylvio Ferraz Mello, Beatriz Barbuy, Miriani Pastoriza, Marcelo Zurita, José Feliciano de Oliveira, Marcelo Gleiser and several others contributed to the scientific progress.
To celebrate the incredible collaboration provided by these and all other academics who are passionate about space, we have prepared a list of 7 astronomical curiosities.
1. The space is completely silent
Unlike what movies like Star Wars suggest, battleships between spaceships do not generate thunderous sounds of explosions. In fact, they do not generate any sound because the space is completely silent.
This is the reality because sound waves need means to propagate. Since there is no atmosphere in a vacuum, the space is completely silent. That’s why the idea of getting lost in space is so terrifying, since literally no one would hear you scream.
2. Dark matter and energy represent 96% of the universe
The matter we know that makes up the structures of planets, stars, stars and everything else corresponds to only 4% of the universe. About 96% of everything that exists outside the Earth is either dark matter or dark energy.
While the first is a mass that we cannot detect in any region of the electromagnetic spectrum, the second is a compound with negative pressure that acts in the opposite direction to that of gravity and has accelerated the expansion of the cosmos in the last 5 billion years.
3. There is a lot of frozen water on the planets
Water is an essential element in the conception of life as we know it. And contrary to what was thought a few decades ago, it is present in abundance outside the Earth. In this case, it is solid water (basically ice) in a different format than we know here.
The European Space Agency analyzed compounds from comet 67P / Churyumov – Gerasimenko and noticed a different type of ice. Similar elements are present in craters of Mercury, on Mars and even in smaller places like the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
4. There are countless stars in the universe
One fact that science has failed to calculate is the number of stars in the known universe. All studies and research that try to use parameters like this make estimates using our Milky Way as a parameter. To arrive at a result, the number is multiplied by the galaxies that we know exist.
According to NASA, there are zillions of stars in the universe. The National University of Australia released an estimate that speaks of 70 septilions, which means that number: 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of stars.
5. The atmosphere of the Sun is much hotter than the surface
That the Sun is an extremely hot star everyone already knows. However, one issue that caught the attention of scientists was the finding that the solar atmosphere is much hotter than the surface.
The visible surface of the Sun, called the “photosphere”, has a temperature of around 5,500 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, the upper atmosphere reaches millions of degrees, considerably more. One of the possible explanations is the “heat pump” that is generated when the magnetic fields intersect in the upper atmosphere.
6. The footprints on the Moon will remain there for 100 million years
First: yes, the man went to the moon. And the signature of this “visit” will remain engraved on the star’s soil for 100 million years, it is estimated. Since the Moon has no atmosphere, there is no wind or water to erase the marks left by the feet of astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969.
However, micrometeorites and the natural erosion of the Moon will help erase human marks over the next several millennia.
7. Is there life out there?
Perhaps the main scientific question today is whether or not there is life outside of Earth. The answer to that question would change the way we view our own existence and that is why the subject is treated with great caution by scientists.
First, it has to be said that so far we have no evidence that there is life (smart or not) elsewhere. However, the discovery of so-called extremophiles opened the door for us to imagine that microbial life exists elsewhere. These organisms are able to live in conditions so extreme (in volcanoes, for example) that the scientific community already finds it plausible to find beings like that in space.