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Space Trivia

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Without using precision instruments, Eratosthenes measured the radius of Earth in the third century B.C., and came within 1 percent of the value determined by today's technology.

The planet Venus does not tilt as it goes around the Sun, so consequently, it has no seasons. On Mars, however, the seasons are more exaggerated and last much longer than on Earth.

Scientists believe that hydrogen comprises approximately 90 to 99 percent of all matter in the universe.

The planet Venus is named after the Roman goddess of love.

Scientists have determined that most rocks on the surface of the Moon are between 3 and 4.6 billion years old.

The point in a lunar orbit that is farthest from the moon is called an "apolune."

Selenologists study the Moon, as geologists study Earth.

Since Neptune's discovery in 1846, it has made about three-quarters of one revolution of the Sun.

The pressure at the center of the Earth is 27,000 tons per square inch. At the center of the giant planet Jupiter, the pressure is three times as great.

The pressure at the center of the Sun is about 700 million tons per square inch. It's enough to smash atoms, expose the inner nuclei, and allow them to smash into each other, interact, and produce the radiation that gives off light and warmth.

The Ptolemic Universe was based on the idea that the Earth was the center of the Universe. This incorrect conclusion was made by Ptolemy, a Greek astronomer, who eventually calculated the correct measurements of planetary movements.

The reflecting power of a planet or satellite, expressed as a ratio of reflected light to the total amount falling on the surface, is called the albedo.

The Sea of Tranquility is on the Moon. It's not a real sea, but a “maria,” one of the regions on the Moon that appear dark when looking at it.

The seventh planet from the Sun, Uranus, is tipped on its side so that at any moment one pole is pointed at the Sun. The polar regions are warmer than the equator. At the poles, a day lasts for 42 Earth years, followed by an equally long night.

The size of the first footprint on the Moon was 13 by 6 inches, the dimensions of Neil Armstrong's boot when he took his historic walk on July 20, 1969.

The smallest planet in our solar system, Pluto, is a little smaller than Earth's moon.

The smallest visible sunspots have an area of 500 million square miles, about fifty times the size of Africa. The largest sunspots have an area of about 7,000 million square miles.

The solar wind--the continuous stream of charged particles from the sun--flows past Earth at 1,200 times the speed of sound.

“Ufology” is the study of UFOs, especially those thought to be from outer space.

Moon Facts: Soviet Luna 2 becomes the first spacecraft to reach the Moon in 1959. Soviet Luna 9 makes the first soft landing on the Moon in 1966. July 20, 1969, U.S. Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the Moon. December 1972, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan becomes the last person to set foot on the Moon.

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