Senin, 25 Juni 2012



Fact: If two pieces of metal touch in space, they

become permanently stuck together.

This may sound unbelievable, but it is true. Two

pieces of metal without any coating on them will

form in to one piece in the vacuum of space. This

doesn’t happen on earth because the atmosphere

puts a layer of oxidized material between the

surfaces. This might seem like it would be a big

problem on the space station but as most tools

used there have come from earth, they are already

coated with material. In fact, the only evidence of

this seen so far has been in experiments designed

to provoke the reaction. This process is called cold



Fact: Sunspot activity may be the primary reason for

the beautiful sound of Stradivarius violins.

Antonio Stradivari is considered to be the greatest

violin maker ever. He lived in Italy in the 17th and

18th centuries. Scientists have been unable to work

out what it is about his violins that makes them so

incredible, but they do know that the timber used to

make them is a very important contributing factor.

From the 1500s to 1800s, the earth underwent a

little ice age mostly due to increased volcanic activity

and decreased solar activity (this is called the

Maunder Minimum). As a result of this cooling, the

types of trees that Stradivari used for his violins were

particularly hard (due to slow growth). Hard timber

is especially good when making violins. It is very

probable that had Stradivari lived in a different age,

his violins would not be prized as they are today.

This picture above is made of three overlapping

photos. It shows the rings in the spruce tree used to

make the most famous Stradivarius violin, the

“Messiah.” The first row of numbers gives the width

of each ring in millimeters (one mm is about the

thickness of a fingernail). The bottom row gives the

years in which each ring grew.


Fact: Earth has at least 4 moons.

In 1986, Duncan Waldron discovered a asteroid

(5km across) that is in an elliptic orbit around the

sun with a period of revolution virtually identical to

that of Earth. For this reason the planetoid and

earth appear to be following each other. The

periodic planetoid is named Cruithne (pronounced

krin-yə) after an ancient group of Scottish people

(also known as the Picts). Because of its unusual

relationship with Earth, it is sometimes referred to as

Earth’s second moon. Cruithne, is fainter than Pluto

and would require at least a 12.5 inch reflecting

telescope to attempt to be seen. Since its discovery,

at least three other similar asteroids have been

discovered. These types of objects are also found in

similar relationships to other planets in our Solar

System. In the image above (courtesy of Paul

Wiegert), the earth is the blue circle with a cross in it,

and Cruithne’s orbit is shown in yellow.


Fact: Uranus was originally called George’s Star.

When Sir William Herschel discovered Uranus in

1781, he was given the honor of naming it. He chose

to name it Georgium Sidus (George’s Star) after his

new patron, King George III (Mad King George).

This is what he said:

In the fabulous ages of ancient times the

appellations of Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and

Saturn were given to the Planets, as being the

names of their principal heroes and divinities. In the

present more philosophical era it would hardly be

allowable to have recourse to the same method and

call it Juno, Pallas, Apollo or Minerva, for a name to

our new heavenly body. The first consideration of

any particular event, or remarkable incident, seems

to be its chronology: if in any future age it should be

asked, when this last-found Planet was discovered?

It would be a very satisfactory answer to say, ‘In the

reign of King George the Third.’

Uranus was also the first planet to be discovered

with the use of a telescope.


Fact: The Big Dipper is not a constellation, it is an


Many people consider the big dipper to be a

constellation but, in fact, it is an asterism. An

asterism is a pattern of stars in the sky which is not

one of the official 88 constellations; they are also

composed of stars which are not physically related

to each other and can be vast distances apart. An

asterism can be composed of stars from one or

more constellations – in the case of the Big Dipper, it

is composed entirely of the seven brightest stars in

the Ursa Major (Great Bear) constellation.


Fact: The Sun loses up to a billion kilograms a

second due to solar winds.

Solar winds are charged particles that are ejected

from the upper surface of the sun due to the high

temperature of the corona and the high kinetic

energy particles gain through a process that is not

well understood at this time. Also, did you know that

1 pinhead of the sun’s energy is enough to kill a

person at a distance of 160 kilometers.


Fact: The light hitting the earth right now is 30

thousand years old

The energy in the sunlight we see today started out

in the core of the Sun 30,000 years ago – it spent

most of this time passing through the dense atoms

that make the sun and just 8 minutes to reach us

once it had left the Sun! The temperature at the core

of the sun is 13,600,000 kelvins. All of the energy

produced by fusion in the core must travel through

many successive layers to the solar photosphere

before it escapes into space as sunlight or kinetic

energy of particles.


Fact: The moon is drifting away from Earth.

Every year the moon moves about 3.8cm further

away from the Earth. This is caused by tidal effects.

Consequently, the earth is slowing in rotation by

about 0.002 seconds per day per century. Scientists

do not know how the moon was created, but the

generally accepted theory suggests that a large Mars

sized object hit the earth causing the Moon to

splinter off.


Fact: We are moving through space at the rate of

530km a second.

Our Galaxy – the Milky Way is spinning at a rate of

225 kilometers per second. In addition, the galaxy is

travelling through space at the rate of 305 kilometers

per second. This means that we are traveling at a

total speed of 530 kilometers (330 miles) per second.

That means that in one minute you are about 19

thousand kilometers away from where you were.

Scientists do not all agree on the speed with which

the Milky Way is travelling – estimates range from

130 – 1,000 km/s. It should be said that Einstein’s

theory of relativity, the velocity of any object through

space is not meaningful.


Fact: If you put Saturn in water it would float.

The density of Saturn is so low that if you were to

put it in a giant glass of water it would float. The

actual density of Saturn is 0.687 g/cm3 while the

density of water is 0.998 g/cm3. At the equator

Saturn has a radius of 60,268 ± 4 km – which means

you would need an extremely large glass of water to

test this out.

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