3 Common Space Myths that will make you RETHINK everything you’ve been taught in School
The Earth isn’t round, and the sun isn’t yellow. Regrettably, most of our knowledge about the universe, space, and even planet Earth is today made up of numerous random segments produced in Hollywood movies and science fiction books. Most of the time, these segments are far more reality.
When looking at our solar system and our planet, it would seem undeniable that the Earth is a round sphere, Mercury –the closest planet to the sun— is the hottest planet, and the sun is yellow. However, while these may sound as fool-proof, undeniable facts, they are far away from reality.
Nope, the Earth is not round, technically
One of the most hated, controversial and provocative questions is: whether the Earth is round.
The truth is that it’s true and not at the same time.
How? Well, as it turns out, the shape of our planet is CONSTANTLY changing because of the movement of Earth’s continental plates. This movement is small, and averages around 5 cm in a year.- However, this relatively small movement has a great impact on the appearance of our planet, which is, in fact, one of the most important details when it comes to the questions; is the Earth round. The answer is that our planet is FAR from being perfectly round.
The shape of our planet is anything but similar to the shape of a football, basketball or baseball, and it is more like a irregular potato or oddly shaped pear.
So, instead of calling Earth a globe, a more accurate name that best describes our planet’s shape would be GEOID.
Not flat, phew.
The Sun is NOT yellow
Even though every time we look at the sun we see it as a yellow, orange or red sphere depending on the time of the day and the sun’s position in the sky, as it turns out, the sun is in fact WHITE.
As science put it, the color of any light depends mostly on the temperature. For example, surface temperatures of 4,500 degrees celsius, like our sun emit a white color.
So why do we keep painting the sun as a yellow circle? As it turns out, the longer light waves from the yellow/red part of the spectrum pass the atmosphere of the Earth nearly without any loss, while the shorter green/violet waves greatly diffract.
However, if one day you find yourself in space, orbiting Earth, take a look at the sun and you will notice that the star we all painted as children as being yellow is in fact WHITE.
The Moon’s Dark side is… a lie
While there are numerous mysteries associated with our moon, the dark side of the moon isn’t a mystery at all. In fact, the idea that the Sun only shines on one side of the moon, leaving the other side of it in complete darkness is a very widespread mistake.
The idea of a ‘dark side of the moon’ comes from the fact that the moon faces our planet only with one side, leaving the other side of the moon –the dark side— impossible to observe from the ground.
This is a big mistake though. In fact, the Sun shines over the visible and invisible parts (seen from Earth) of the moon. We only see one side of the moon because the period the moon needs to revolve on its own axis is coincidentally the same with the time it takes to orbit Earth.