The Solar System Is Not Actually Like What We Think
We know that, in the Solar System, the Sun is yellow and the biggest star, Earth is round, Mercury is the hottest planet. And this is what actually we think. It seems that these are the undeniable facts that are known to even those with no real and complete knowledge about astronomy.
Here are some of the most common mistaken assumptions about the Solar System.
1. Is the Sun really a big fireball?
It’s clearly known and obvious that the temperature at the Sun’s surface is unimaginably high. It may be more than 5,700°C. So it’s logical to assume that it simply appears like a giant bonfire. However, this isn’t an accurate comparison. What we think of as fire is in fact energy in the form of heat and light. This energy is produced by the thermonuclear reactions that occur in the star’s core.
This reaction involves changing some elements into others. It’s accompanied by the ejection of heat and light energy. This energy passes through all the layers of the Sun to reach the surface (the photosphere). This is what that seems to us like it’s burning.
2. Is The Sun Really Yellow?
Knowing a little about astronomy, we can tell that the Sun belongs to the category of stars known as yellow dwarves. In turn, it seems logical to assume that the Sun is yellow in color. But, like all other yellow dwarf stars, the Sun is completely white.
It seems yellow to the human eyes all because of the Earth’s atmosphere. The light which has a long wavelength, in the yellow and red part of the spectrum, passes through the atmosphere best of all. Light in shorter wavelengths, in the green to violet part of the spectrum, gets dissipated to a greater degree by the atmosphere. This green to violet part of the spectrum is what the Sun mainly emits. The effect of this is to make the Sun appear yellow. If you were to leave the atmosphere, the Sun would take on its original color.
3. Is The Earth Perfectly Spherical?
This is true, yet paradoxically not true at the same time. The shape of our planet constantly changes due to the continuous movement of the continental plates. Of course, the rate at which they move is very small, i.e., on an average, it’s about 5 cm a year. But this still has an effect on the planet’s appearance, which is, in fact, far from perfectly round.
The image below that shows the real shape of the Earth is actually a model of the planet’s gravity. It was created from satellite data and doesn’t show the true shape of our Earth. Instead, it merely demonstrates the differences in the strength of the Earth’s gravity at different points around it.
4. Do You Think That The Moon Has Dark Side?
We know that the Sun’s rays shine on only one side of the Moon. The other side of it is left in permanent darkness. This belief results from the fact that our satellite only ever has one side facing the Earth. While the other is impossible to observe from the ground.
The unknown fact is the Sun shines and warms both the visible and invisible parts of the Moon. The truth is that the period the Moon takes to revolve on its axis coincides with the amount of time it takes to orbit the Earth. This is the reason why we see only one side of it.
5. Is The Temperature On Mercury Higher Than On Any Other Planets?
Since Mercury is closest to the Sun, its surface temperature must be higher than all the other planets. But, it turns out that the hottest planet in the Solar System is actually Venus. Despite the fact, it’s 50 million kilometers further away from the Sun than its neighbor. The average daytime temperature on Mercury is around 350°C. But on Venus, it can reach 480°C.
The reason for this is the atmosphere of the Venus. Practically, Mercury has no atmosphere, whereas Venus has a very thick one. Moreover, it is made up almost entirely of carbon dioxide. This creates a very strong greenhouse effect, trapping all the Sun’s heat. This makes Venus incredibly hot.
6. Would The Human Being Explode In Space Without A Space Suit?
Our skin is flexible enough to keep all of our internal organs in place. The walls of the blood vessels would also prevent the blood from boiling. All because of their elasticity.
Moreover, in the absence of external pressure in the space environment, the temperature at which blood boils rises to 46°C. This is significantly higher than the temperature of the human body.
Instead, it is the water content in the cells of our skin that begins to boil in a vacuum. The result is that the human body would expand in size in such an environment. But it definitely wouldn’t explode.
The main reason why a person would die is the lack of oxygen. Just 15 seconds after entering a vacuum without a space suit, the individual would lose consciousness. At last, they would be dead in two minutes.
7. Is The Earth Further From The Sun in Winter Than In Summer?
If winter is colder than summer, that must mean Earth is further away from its source of heat. But, in reality, this is actually opposite. During the colder part of the year, our planet is actually five million kilometers closer to the Sun than in summer. How can this happen?
In fact, in addition to orbiting the sun, the Earth also completes rotations around its own axis. This the reason why we have the change from day to night. The axis of the planet, which passes through the North and South Poles, is not exactly perpendicular to its orbit and the Sun’s rays which fall on it. In turn, for half of the year, a large proportion of the Sun’s warmth falls on the southern hemisphere. While in the other half, it falls on the northern hemisphere. This produces a change of seasons.
It is well known that summer in the southern hemisphere is warmer than it in the north. This is the result of the fact that the Earth comes closest to the Sun in January. This is when the southern part of the world experiences summer.
These are some of the facts about the Solar System which many of us don’t know. What we know about the Solar System and think that it is true is actually not.
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