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5 Cosmos Facts Hard to Believe

Fact #1. The temperature in space, in Earth orbit is + 4 ° С

To be precise, it is not on the Earth’s orbit, but at a distance from the Sun equal to the distance of the Earth’s orbit. And for an absolutely black body, i.e. one that completely absorbs the sun's rays, not reflecting anything back.

It is believed that the temperature in space tends to absolute zero. Firstly, this is not entirely true, since the entire known Universe is heated to 3K, by relic radiation. Secondly, the temperature rises near the stars. And we live pretty close to the Sun. Strong thermal protection is needed for space suits and spacecraft because they enter the Earth's shadow, and our star can no longer warm them to the indicated + 4 ° С. In the shade, the temperature can drop to -160 ° C, for example at night on the moon. It is cold, but absolute zero is still far away.

Here, for example, the testimony of the onboard thermometer of the satellite TechEdSat, which rotated in low-Earth orbit.

Fact #2. Venus in some places lead snow


This is probably the most striking fact about space, which I learned not so long ago. The conditions on Venus are so different from everything that we could imagine that Venusians could easily fly to earthly hell to rest in a mild climate and comfortable conditions. Therefore, no matter how fantastic the phrase “lead snow” may seem, for Venus it is a reality.

Thanks to the radar of the American probe Magellan at the beginning of the 90-x, scientists found on the tops of the mountains of Venus some kind of coating, which has a high reflectivity in the radio range. At first, several versions were supposed: the consequence of erosion, the deposition of iron-containing materials, etc. Later, after several experiments on Earth, they came to the conclusion that this is the most natural metallic snow, consisting of bismuth and lead sulphides. In the gaseous state, they are released into the atmosphere of the planet during volcanic eruptions. Then, thermodynamic conditions at a height of 2600 m contribute to the condensation of compounds and precipitation at elevations.

Fact #3. In the solar system 13 planets ... or more

When Pluto was demoted from the planets, it became a rule of good form to know that there are only eight planets in the solar system. True, at the same time, a new category of celestial bodies was introduced - dwarf planets. These "sub-planets", which have a rounded (or close to it) shape, are not anyone's satellites, but at the same time they cannot clear their own orbit from less massive competitors. Today it is believed that there are five such planets: Ceres, Pluto, Hanumea, Eris and Makemake. The closest to us is Ceres. In a year, we will learn much more about her than we do now, thanks to the Dawn probe. So far we only know that it is covered with ice and water evaporates from two points on the surface at a rate of 6 liters per second. We will also learn about Pluto next year, thanks to the New Horizons station. In general, as 2014 in astronautics will become the year of comets, 2015 promises to be the year of dwarf planets.

The rest of the dwarf planets are beyond Pluto, and we will not know any details about them soon. Just recently, another candidate was found, although he was not officially included in the list of dwarf planets, just like his neighbor Sedna. But it is possible that they will still find several larger dwarfs, so the number of planets in the solar system will grow.

Fact #4. Hubble telescope - not the most powerful


Thanks to the enormous volume of images and impressive discoveries, the perfect Hubble telescope, many people have the idea that this telescope has the highest resolution and is able to see such details that are not visible from Earth. For some time this was the case: in spite of the fact that large mirrors on telescopes can be assembled on Earth, the atmosphere makes a significant distortion in the images. Therefore, even a “modest” by the earthly standards mirror with a diameter of 2,4 meters in space, allows to achieve impressive results.

However, in the years that have passed since the launch of Hubble and terrestrial astronomy has not stood in place, several technologies have been developed that allow, if not completely get rid of the distorting effect of air, then significantly reduce its impact. Today, the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in Chile has the most impressive resolution. In the optical interferometer mode, when four main and four auxiliary telescopes work together, it is possible to achieve a resolution that exceeds the capabilities of the Hubble by about fifty times.

For example, if Hubble gives permission on the Moon about 100 meters per pixel (hello to everyone who thinks that Apollo landing gears can be considered), then the VLT can distinguish details up to 2 meters. Those. in its resolution, American descent vehicles or our moon rovers would look like a 1-2 pixel (but they will not look because of the extremely high cost of working time).

A pair of Keck Observatory telescopes, in the interferometer mode, can exceed the Hubble resolution by a factor of ten. Even individually, each of Keck's ten-meter telescopes, using adaptive optics technology, is able to beat Hubble approximately two times.

Fact #5. Bears in Russia are found 19 times more often than asteroids in the main asteroid belt

American popular science site leads, and Computerra translates curious calculations that show that the journey in the asteroid belt is not as dangerous as it seemed to George Lucas. If all asteroids larger than the 1 meter are located on a plane equal to the area of ​​the Main asteroid belt, then it turns out that one Kamenyuk falls approximately on 3200 square kilometers. 100 Thousands of Russian bears should be distributed one by one for every 170 square kilometers of territory. Of course, both asteroids and bears try to keep closer to themselves and desecrate pure mathematics with their uneven distribution, but for the sake of the holiday such trifles can be neglected.

Vitaly EGOROV - "Novaya Gazeta"

USA Science space Innovations
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