88 Mind-Boggling Facts about Planets and their Moons

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NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered a giant planet the size of Jupiter 750 light years away that is blacker than coal. It is the darkest planet yet discovered by scientists. It reflects less than 1 percent of the sunlight falling on it.

2. Neptune holds the record for the strongest winds in our solar system. Scientists have been puzzled at the discovery of wind speeds reaching 2,100 km/h on Neptune.

3. The asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars is not the leftover debris of a destroyed planet as it was previously believed. It is, in fact, the remains of a planet that never formed due to Jupiter's mass.

4. The largest scale model of our solar system spans the length of Sweden. The Sun is represented by the largest hemispherical building (Ericsson Globe) in the world in Stockholm.

5. Scientists have found that Jupiter's massive gravity is perturbing mercury’s already eccentric orbit. They have arrived at four possible end results from this finding Mercury will crash into the Sun, Mercury will be ejected from the solar system altogether, Mercury will crash into Venus, or Mercury will crash into Earth in the next 5-7 billion years.

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Saturn's moon, Titan, is the only body in our solar system beyond Earth that is known to have liquid on its surface.

7. In 2012, Planet Hunter volunteers found a Neptune-sized planet thousand of light years away that orbits four stars

8. Some scientists believe that around 4 billion years ago Neptune and Uranus may have switched their places in the solar system.

9. Jupiter is the fastest spinning planet in our solar system. Due to the intensity of its rotation the planet is flat at the poles and bulges at the equator. It takes less than 10 hours for it to complete a rotation on its axis.

10. In 2011, scientists discovered a star that they later nicknamed Tatooine (from Star War) that orbits a binary star system (a system of two stars that revolve around each other under their mutual gravitation).

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11Dust storm in Mars

Dust storm in Mars

On Mars, a dust storm can develop in a matter of hours and can envelop the entire planet within a few days. They are the largest and most violent dust storms in our solar system.

12. In 2012, scientists discovered an exoplanet named 23.55 Cancri that was roughly two times the size of earth, that has a crust made of diamond 2500 miles thick

13. Technically, our planet is inside the Sun's atmosphere

14. There is an exoplanet called "COROT-7b" where it rains rocks. Its surface temperature is hot enough to vaporize rock pebbles, condense out of the air and rain down.

15. The planet Venus does not have any tilt, so consequently, it has no seasons and also it is the only planet in our solar system that rotates clockwise.

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16Double planet

Double planet

Our moon is bigger than Pluto and some scientists think it's more of a planet in a "double planet" Earth-moon system.

17. Humans could one day colonize other planets with two or even three times Earth’s gravity. However, at 4 times the Earth’s gravity or above, we would no longer be able to sustain sufficient blood flow to the brain.

18. In 1911, Indian astronomer Venkatesh P. Ketakar suggested the existence of two trans-Neptunian planets which he named Brahma and Vishnu. He calculated the distance for Brahma of 38.95 AU. When Pluto was discovered 19 years later, it had a mean distance of 39.48 AU.

19. If our planet was 50% larger in diameter, we would not have been able to venture into space, at least using current rocket technologies, due to how the fuel requirements for rockets scale. This means we wouldn't be able to land and return from planets(having same density as earth) bigger than Earth with current technology.-

20. We can only see planets up to 13.8 billion light years far because the universe is 13.8 billion light years old.

21John Couch Adams

John Couch Adams

John Couch Adams calculated the existence of Neptune, using mathematics before the planet was ever observed.

22. Europe is building European Extremely Large Telescope that will produce images 15 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope, possibly enabling it to observe Earthlike exoplanets. First light is planned for 2024.

23. Mira, a dying star zipping through our universe is shedding its matter leaving a tail 13 light-years in length. Each bit of its shed matter may one day grow into a new, individual star and planets of its own.

24. The Greeks had proposed heliocentrism 2000 years before Copernicus: Aristarchus arranged the planets in order of distance from the Sun, concluding that it could not be in orbit around the Earth because a body that large could not orbit a body so small.

25. Astronomers have a good idea of what other planets would smell like based on their atmospheric composition. Venus and Mars would smell like rotten eggs, while Uranus is odorless.

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