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Although we learn more about space all the time, there is still much that we do not know. Here are some of the amazing facts that we do know about space so far.
Though we have not yet explore our own Solar System fully it is only one of many solar systems in our galaxy. The largest galaxies can have as many as 400 billion stars each with their own star system. There are also more than 100 billion galaxies in the universe.
Most of the asteroids in our Solar System can be found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Some of these asteroids are so large that they have their own satellites. There are about 140 satellites orbiting the eight planets in our Solar System.
Often, people think of the asteroids and meteors hitting our planet as being a world-ending catastrophe, however, it is a fairly common occurrence. At least one or two meteorites make it to the surface of our planet each day. Normally it is not a big problem though because the average size of a meteorite is the size of a sugar cube.
Some of the planets in our Solar System have many moons. Jupiter with 63 has the most of any of the planets. Uranus’ moons are the only ones not named after mythological Greek figures. Instead, they were named after characters from literary works by William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Although at first the names used were only those of fairies; later, names of other characters were also used.
Up until 1977, people thought that Saturn was the only planet with planetary rings. However, they then discovered that Uranus, Neptune, and Jupiter all have planetary rings. The other planets’ rings were simply much harder to detect because they were fainter.
The first man in space was Yuri Gagarin, a Russian cosmonaut. His flight was on April 12, 1961 and lasted an hour and 48 minutes. He was also the first person to orbit the Earth on that flight. While Russia was the first country to reach space, America redoubled their efforts and became the first country to make it to the Moon. The first person to set foot on the Moon was the American astronaut Neil Armstrong. Neil Armstrong first walked on the Moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong first put his left foot on the Moon when he exited the lander. He was followed onto the Moon by Buzz Aldrin.
Astronomy Cast has an episode on the Milky Way.