Going back to what has been taught to us during our elementary days, Mercury is considered as the hottest planet, Earth is said to be perfectly round, and the Sun is yellow in colour. These simple “facts” are known to most people who are not experts when it comes to astronomy, however this is incorrect.
Earth’s not perfectly round
This is somehow true, yet paradoxically erroneous at the same time. Our planet’s shape is constantly changing due to the endless movement of the continental plates. Even though the rate at which the planets move is very minute, with an average of almost 5cm a year, this still affects the planet’s appearance. The earth’s shape is in fact not perfectly round!
What’s the hottest planet?
The nearest planet to the Sun is Mercury. Therefore, the surface temperature here is expected to be higher than the other planets. This makes it logical to think that it is the hottest planet. Nevertheless, it turns out that it is not the Mercury, but the Venus instead, is the hottest planet in Solar System! This is something hard to believe when you look at the fact that it is 50 million kilometres away from the Sun! Mercury’s temperature is about 350 degrees celsius while Venus has 480 degrees celsius.
Is the Sun really yellow?
The Sun is part of the category of the stars that is called Yellow Dwarves. With this fact, it is coherent to suppose that its colour is yellow. Nonetheless, similar with all the other yellow dwarf stars, the Sun’s colour is totally white! We humans see the Sun as yellow due to the Earth’s atmosphere.
Pluto is not even close to the edge of the Solar System
Think our solar system ends at Pluto? Think again. The solar system actually reaches out 1000 times farther away than Pluto. Researchers have discovered objects known as Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs) or Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) that orbit the sun. The Kuiper Belt is estimated to extend around 50 – 60 astronomical units (AU – the distance from Earth to the Sun). If that’s not far enough, our solar system reaches out to the Oort cloud, which is estimated to extend 50,000 AU!
Do you have any fun facts to share??