Astronomy is full of astronomical numbers and if physics tells us anything it is that nothing is obvious. Astonishing facts about the universe are absolutely everywhere and you do not even have to go far from home to find some. Here is a list og 5 mind-blowing facts about the universe.
If I can just be allowed to explain, 99.9% of an atom is just empty space. “Well heck, everyone knows that!”, I hear you cry. As is the case with many facts we tend only to recognise this point in theory, because we cannot really envisage what an atom is like to look at. It is very small.
To put this point into perspective, if you removed all the empty space from the atoms that make up all the humans on the planet then you could fit all 6 billion of us inside a single orange. Come to think of it some unkind people have called me a waste of space and now it’s provable!
We can find atoms everywhere, since they are among the fundamental building blocks of the universe. The Sun contains 99.86% of all the mass in the Solar System. The mass of the Sun is approximately 330,000 times greater than that of Earth. It is almost three quarters Hydrogen, whilst most of the remaining mass is Helium.
You see where I’m going with this? That means that the sun is responsible for most of the solar system and we account for no more than you could fit in the palm of your hand. Literally.
Atoms are on the very threshold of super-weirdness. They are stupidly small, yet account for just about everything in existence. One single strand of gossamer thread has about 1 million atoms across its diameter. Its mass, or the 0.1% of it that is actually material, is concentrated at its centre and is something like 1 trillionth of a centimetre across. Its electrons fly around the remainder of the space it occupies at impossible speeds. Even then we tend to rationalise what this means, but if we draw one of those perspective enhancing analogies that help soothe our brains let’s say the nucleus of an atom were the size of a football. At that scale the nearest electron would be half a mile (0.8km) away.
It’s no use. Atoms are just causing me a headache. What we need is another science to explain everything more rationally that doesn’t just cause more headaches. Now, let’s see…