By Cas Melk – The Netherlands
I bet many of you at one point dreamt about going to outer space, witness meteors and asteroids passing by and find out what happens to a human inside a black hole, but in essence, most of our knowledge about the Universe is made up of random bits from Hollywood movies and science fiction books, which are often quite far from reality. I will try to dispel a few of these myths for you. So, these are the 3 most common myths about space.
The first myth we are going talk about is Mercury. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and that is why many people think it is also the hottest planet in our solar system. This is obviously a myth; the distance from the sun doesn’t affect the average temperature on a planet. Mercury is indeed the closest planet to the Sun but it doesn’t mean it is the hottest one, during the day the temperature of the surface of mercury can reach 420 degrees centigrade, but, due to rotation differences, a day on Mercury lasts about 58 earth days. Since its atmosphere is very rarefied it doesn’t hold heat well and the temperature on the unlit side of the planet plummets to -173 centigrade. Our North Pole compared with this is a beach resort. The hottest planet of the solar system is actually Venus because of its dense atmosphere which consists of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The average temperature on Venus doesn’t go much below 462 degrees centigrade.
Another myth is that the moon has a dark side. When we talk about the dark side of the moon we normally mean the side that’s unlit by the sun, but it would be way more precise to talk about that side that isn’t seen by humans. The moon and the earth move simultaneously which means that we can only see one side of our moon from the surface of our planet. The other so-called dark side of the Moon can’t be seen without leaving the Earth’s orbit but since the moon as well as the Earth spins around each other the sunlight reaches all the parts of the moon. So there isn’t actually any really dark side of the moon.
Many people think the sun is yellow but this is also a myth. Even though we see the Sun as a yellow orange or red circle, depending on the time of the day and its position in the sky, the sun is actually white. The color of any light depends on the temperature, and the temperature on the surface of the sun is 4.500 degrees centigrade, which glows white at this temperature. But why do we see the sun as yellow and not white? The thing is that the longer light waves from the yellow red part of the spectrum passes threw the atmosphere of the earth almost without loss of energy and the shorter greens of violet waves diffract a lot, so if you ever get the chance to look at the Sun from outer space you will see with your own eyes that the sun is white and not yellow.
So these myths are the most common ones in our solar system and definitely worth mentioning. It is always very interesting to research these myths/mysteries; there are still millions of things we don’t know about space or we think we know about space but are very different in reality. Space is the most overwhelming thing that exists and it is definitely worth to learn more about it.