5 astronomy facts everyone has to know

Our universe is so big and vast that even the world’s top thinkers don’t fully understand it. The stars can’t be counted, and the universe continues to expand, so it’s natural to want to understand this giant we live in. Here are five awesome facts everyone should know about astronomy that go beyond the stars.

It could take an hour drive to space

The first way to learn about space is to get there. We have sent hundreds of satellites to orbit the earth and have walked on the moon. Space travel has been a hot topic over the last decade, with people signing up to live on Mars and celebrities buying their seat on the first shuttle. But, in all technicality, we could hop in a car, drive into space, and make it out of the stratosphere in an hour.

5 astronomy facts everyone has to know

The universe is measured using light, not distance

Of course, this doesn’t take the fact that cars don’t fly into account or the lack of breathable air high in the sky. However, to get into space is one thing, but to go to the end of the universe is practically impossible. As a matter of fact, the only way scientists can measure if things are moving towards or away from the Earth is by using light – that’s where lightyears come from.

People get taller in space

Once in space, astronauts have been known to get taller. On Earth, our spinal disks – the flesh in between the vertebrae in the spinal column – are compressed due to gravity. In space, because of the no-gravity atmosphere, people can grow taller. In fact, the height difference can be as much as two inches. This is a flawless plan to grow a little taller, but it might be more expensive than a pair of heels. Other weird things that happen to people in space are that if they cry, tears float around on their face due to the lack of gravity, and – even better – the face gets puffy in space from blood floating as well.

Constellations are older than the Aztec civilizations

We know the stars are old – up to ten billion years old in some cases. But the idea of constellations was dated all the way back to Mayan times. These constellations have stories that relate to almost every culture. Most common constellation groupings are actually named after animals, which link with zodiac signs like Leo, Capricorn, and Scorpio. Most of these constellations were named after the Ancient Greeks and were used in earlier days for travel, as the constellations acted as map markings.

5 astronomy facts everyone has to know

Over a million Earths can fit inside the sun

If treated like grains of sand, the Earth could be fit 1.3 million times inside the Sun. This means that the Sun 11 000 times the size of the Earth. It is so big that it accounts for 99.9 percent of the mass of the Milky Way – our galaxy. It is alleged that if the Sun collapses – which is many, many years from now – it will shrink to the size of the Earth. Once this happens, the Sun will be in its White Dwarf phase.

Knowing more about the universe makes it clear that we are tiny specs in a wide galaxy. Living in an ancient space makes life so much cooler, so let’s use our small space in the universe and make the best of it.