AstroFacts for June 2011
June 30: Lightning can reach temperatures five times greater than the surface temperature of the Sun.
June 29: Only 3 of the 30 closest stars to Earth emit more light than our Sun (Alpha Centauri, Sirius, and Procyon).
June 28: An area of one square meter on Earth receives 1,370 Watts of power from the Sun.
June 27: Against expectations, the brightest stars in the night sky are not the closest stars. The brightest stars are just really bright.
June 26: Apollo astronauts brought back 842 pounds (382 kilograms) of rock samples from the Moon.
June 25: Each second the Sun converts 700,000,000 tons of hydrogen into 695,000,000 tons of helium. The difference is made up in light.
June 24: The term “galaxy” can be traced to Greek origins where it means “milky circle”.
June 23: With the use of mirrors stationed on the Moon and lasers, astronomers monitor the distance to the Moon to within millimeters.
June 22: Summers are warmer than winters because the Sun is higher in the sky and there are more hours of daylight.
June 21: If you stood on the Tropic of Cancer today at noon, your shadow would have been beneath you.
June 20: Even though Jupiter is the largest planet, it has the shortest day at 9 hours and 50 minutes (at the equator).
June 19: The solar wind blows a comet’s tail away from the Sun. As a comet travels away from the Sun, it’s led by its tail.
June 18: To leave Earth an object has to travel at least 7 miles per second. That could get you from NYC to LA in less than 6 minutes.
June 17: The top five most abundant elements in the Universe are (1) Hydrogen, (2) Helium, (3) Oxygen, (4) Carbon, and (5) Neon
June 16: The first English use of Milky Way, “See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë Which men clepeth the Milky Wey, For hit is whyt.” –Chaucer
June 15: Solar eclipses last only a few minutes, but a lunar eclipse can last over an hour and a half.
June 14: If you’re in the northern hemisphere, the altitude of Polaris (the North Star) is also your latitude on Earth.
June 13: For 2 weeks a month the Moon is visible during the day it’s hard to see because the Moon’s bright side is facing away from Earth.
June 12: The atmospheric pressure found on the surface of Venus is enough to crush a submarine.
June 11: For a given star that crosses the horizon it will rise 3 minutes 56 seconds earlier each night.
June 10: The Sun contains more than 99.8% of the mass in the Solar System, while Jupiter contains most of the rest.
June 9: Mt Everest is the highest mountain above sea level (8,850 m), but Mauna Kea is the tallest (10,203 m) from base to peak.
June 8: Moonlight is really sunlight that is being reflected off the Moon.
June 7: Asterisms are familiar star patterns (eg Big Dipper) while constellations are official regions of the sky (as chosen by the IAU).
June 6: Homo-sapiens have been around for 200,000 but only in the last few hundred years have we used non-visible light to study Nature.
June 5: Hydra is the largest constellation in the night sky, while Crux is the smallest.
June 3: According to Greek mythology, the Milky Way formed when the goddess Hera spilt her milk while she unwillingly nursed Heracles.
June 2: Since its discovery in 1846, Neptune has made one trip around the Sun.
June 1: It would take New Horizons (the fastest spacecraft) roughly 60,000 years to reach the nearest star if that was its destination.