“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Stephen Hawking
It is a fact that the universe is one of the most unexplored and unknown areas for humans. Simply, all those amazing pictures of the stars and the galaxies can be so overwhelming. Sadly, the view of our universe is still limited to us. Beyond a certain distance, only our imagination is unlimited.
Although, astronomers have evidence that the universe expands far beyond the region we can actually see. But, anyhow no one knows for sure if the universe is actually infinite, as we believe.
Unfortunately, our imagination and knowledge about the universe have been influenced by Hollywood movies and some sites on the Internet.
Besides the fact that we have all of these sources from which we could learn from, some of the general knowledge about space seems to be confusing or wrong.
Here are some of the most common myths and misconceptions about space, courtesy of wittyfeed.
1. Mercury is closest to the sun and therefore the hottest.
It is true that Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, however, that doesn’t mean that it is automatically the hottest planet.
As a matter of fact, the distance of one planet from the sun doesn’t influence the temperature of that planet.
Even though Mercury is closer to the sun, Venus is actually 40 degrees centigrade hotter than Mercury, due to the gas in its atmosphere. The temperature on Venus’ surface never drops below 462 degrees. On the other side, during the day, the temperature of Mercury can reach up to 420 degrees centigrade.
In conclusion, Venus is the hottest planet in our Solar System.
2. Even the moon has a darker side.
Probably some people do still believe that one side of the moon never faces the sun. The Pink Floyd’s album is great don’t get me wrong, but this statement is not true. Like our planet Earth, the moon rotates on its axis. They amazingly rotate simultaneously, which means that only one side is visible to the Earth. Actually, both the Moon and the Earth get an equal amount of sunlight. So, there isn’t actually a dark side of the moon.
3. The earth is round.
Our planet Earth is most definitely not flat or square. But, it is also not perfectly round as is believed. Our atmosphere makes the Earth look like a ball. But, actually, it is widened at the equator and slightly flattened at the poles. Its surface constantly changes because of the motion of tectonic plates and erosion. So, instead of picturing the Earth like a perfectly round ball, you should know that it is more like an irregular potato.
4. The sun is yellow.
Whenever we watch a cartoon or we see a painting, the sun is yellow. Or, orange or red. Well, you do believe your own eyes, right? You see an amazing pinkish-red sunset. You see the Sun at noon and it’s blindingly yellow, right? Actually, the sun is white.
However, our atmosphere makes the Sun appear yellow because the gases bend the light. It is called Rayleigh scattering. That also makes the sky appear blue during the day and black at night.
5. A human in outer space without a spacesuit will explode.
Most of us have seen a scene in the movies where the character removes the helmet in space and dies. It is gruesomely presented how the head swells up and blows up. It is a well-known fact that space is a vacuum. Also, without the proper equipment, you can die. The low pressure is extremely dangerous for our heart, lungs, and the brain, of course.
However, the way of dying, like its presented in the movies is not accurate.
6. The Sun is a ball of fire.
The Sun is actually glowing and not burning. The fire is a chemical reaction, but the Sun is actually a consequence of a nuclear reaction.
It looks like its burning due to all that heat.
7. The Earth and Venus are identical.
It is believed that the Earth and Venus are twin planets, because they look alike they are the same. But, that’s not true. Venus’ hot atmosphere is a dense carbon dioxide which makes the surface of the planet extremely hot and deadly.
8. In summers, Earth is closer to the Sun.
It is a fact that sometimes our planet is further away and sometimes closer to the Sun.
However, if you believe that Earth gets closer to the sun in summer and farther away in winter, you are wrong. We have seasons due to the tilt of our orbital axis. We get summer when the tilt of Earth’s axis is closer to the sun.