When we talk about the Solar System, we refer to the system of celestial bodies in orbit around the Sun. The Sun is at the center and consists of 99.86% of the Solar System’s mass. Moreover, it is because of Sun’s energy that life is possible on our planet. Here are a few solar system facts that will capture your imagination.
Solar System Size
Though people believe that Solar System’s edge ends at Pluto’s orbit, in reality, it is far from the truth.
Scientists have claimed that the Sun’s gravity extends to two light years. Moreover, the are many objects in orbit around the Sun beyond Pluto. These objects are known as TNOs or Trans-Neptunian Objects. Furthermore, there is a vast ball-shaped cloud of comets known as the Oort cloud. This cloud extends to about half a light-year from the Sun.
Cryovolcanos On Enceladus
One of these solar system facts is sure to bedazzle you. In the outer Solar System, the temperature is many degrees below zero. As a result, Enceladus and Triton, moons of Saturn and Neptune, respectively, display strange characteristics. Salient features of these two moons are their volcanoes. Earth volcanoes spew out molten metal and rocks called magma.
On the contrary, the volcanoes of Enceladus and Triton eject water. Water freezes and expands, which causes intense pressures to build up after which it erupts in a shower of ice. These eruptions can reach heights ranging a few kilometers above the surface.
Metallic Hydrogen In Jupiter
Jupiter is also called a failed star. Hydrogen and helium are the main components of Jupiter’s atmosphere, similar to stars. However, it is not large enough to fuel nuclear fusion in its core. However, as we go deeper into it, the pressure becomes intense enough to turn hydrogen into a liquid. Eventually, the pressure becomes significant enough to separate the electrons from the hydrogen atoms. Consequently, the liquid metallic hydrogen (LMH) starts conducting like a metal.
The LMH inside Jupiter and its rapid rotation generate a magnetic field crossing 450 million miles. Jupiter’s magnetosphere produces up to 10 million amps of electricity, turning it into a large generator. Jupiter’s auroras also are brighter than that of any other planet in the Solar System.
Hellish Weather On Neptune
This is one of those solar system facts that you must have heard somewhere before. Neptune is known for its harsh weather with winds crossing supersonic speeds. According to estimates, Neptune’s winds blow at speeds of 2,100 kilometers per hour, especially in the equatorial region. Bizarrely, the gales flow opposite to the planet’s rotation in higher latitudes. Besides, Neptune is not completely solid and undergoes differential rotation. That is, it takes 18 hours to rotate at the equator. However, its magnetic field and poles take 16 and 12 hours respectively.
Beyond our planet’s reach, there are strange things; stranger still if we go out even further. If these solar system facts didn’t wrap you in wonder, we don’t know what will.