Time for the big reveal – find out the REAL answers to the facts that had you on the fence or completely stumped!
1. The Sun is the hottest star known.
False. Many stars are bigger and hotter than the Sun and can have temperatures up to ten times higher.
2. There are about a billion stars in the Milky Way.
False. Scientists have not quantified an absolute number, but there are at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way—and perhaps as many as 400 billion!
3. There are 500 stars visible to the naked eye from Earth.
False. There are about 6,000 stars visible to the naked eye from Earth. Only 2,000 can be seen from any given spot, even from the tallest observatory.
4. Neil Armstrong was the first person on the Moon.
True. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first human to step on the moon.
5. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin attempted to play golf on the Moon.
False. It was, in fact, Alan Shepard who took a golf ball to the moon on Apollo 14 – he hit it with a sample collector and it went out of sight!
6. A dog was the first animal to orbit the earth.
True. In November 1957, Laika became the first animal launched into Earth orbit.
7. Mars is entirely inhabited by robots.
True. Mars is the only known planet that is inhabited exclusively by robots. In 2014, there were 12 active robots exploring the Martian surface. An additional 9 landers or rovers are dormant or failed to complete their missions.
8. Winter on Uranus lasts over 10 years.
True. A winter season on Uranus lasts for 21 years. Just like Earth, Uranus has four different seasons with each of them lasting a period of 21 Earth years. A single year in Uranus is the same as 84 Earth years. I thought our Winters were long enough!
9. The Moon is expanding.
False. It’s shrinking! The Moon is shrinking as its interior cools, getting more than about 150 feet (50 metres) skinnier over the last several hundred million years.
10. There is floating water in space.
True. Astronomers have found a massive water vapor cloud which holds 140 trillion times the mass of water in the Earth’s oceans somewhere around 10 billion light years away – making it the largest discovery of water ever found.
11. The footprints on the Moon will be there for 100 million years.
True. The Moon has no atmosphere, which means there is no wind to erode the surface and no water to wash the footprints away. Footprints of the Apollo astronauts, along with any other spacecraft prints and discarded material, will be there for millions of years.
12. One day on Venus is longer than one year on Venus.
True. Venus has a slow axis rotation which takes 243 Earth days to complete its day. The orbit of Venus around the Sun is 225 Earth days, making a year on Venus 18 days less than a day on Venus. Does that make your head hurt?
13. A full NASA space suit costs over £10,000,000.
True. Yikes, that’s an expensive outfit! While the entire suit costs £12m, 70% of that cost is for the backpack and control module.
14. Space is completely silent.
True. There is no atmosphere in space, which means that sound has no medium or way to travel to be heard. Astronauts use radios to stay in communication while in space, since radio waves can still be sent and received.
15. There is a volcano on Mars.
True. There is a volcano on Mars three times the size of Everest. At 600km wide and 21km high, Olympus Mons is a volcano on Mars that may still be active, according to scientists. It is the tallest peak of any planet. Maybe a reason not to inhabit Mars?
So how did you do? Any surprising answers? If these true or false facts have piqued your interest and you want to learn more, we have a stellar line up of many free events and activities for you to get involved in as part of our 2021 Dark Skies Festival.