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17 Completely Mind-Blowing Facts About Outer Space

Eclipses are basically cosmological miracles.

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1. We're able to have solar eclipses because the sun is exactly 400 times the size of the moon, but the moon is 400 times closer to Earth.

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That's right, you can thank simple geometry for one of the most stunning natural phenomenons. The perfect matchup of those proportions is why it appears that the moon perfectly obscures the sun during a total eclipse. But thanks to the moon's changing orbit, in about 50 million years, it will no longer blot out the sun perfectly.

3. And if the sun were the size of a typical front door, Earth would be the size of a nickel.

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Hey everyone, we're living on a tiny planet. So tiny, in fact, that more than one million Earths could fit inside the sun.


5. There's also a planet made of diamonds that's two times the size of Earth.

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The "super earth," aka 55 Cancri e, is most likely covered in graphite and diamond, making our dirt and water planet look like a real dud.

6. And it rains diamonds on Jupiter and Saturn.

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Hailstones made of diamond form when "lightning storms turn methane into soot (carbon) which as it falls hardens into chunks of graphite and then diamond," according to the BBC. The largest diamonds are about one centimeter in diameter.

7. Oh, and there's another planet where it rains glass sideways.

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In 2013, the Hubble telescope spotted a blue planet that kind of looked a lot like Earth — except that that planet has a temperature of about 1,832 degrees Fahrenheit, and it rains glass sideways, at about 4,300 miles per hour.


9. One of Saturn's moons is walnut-shaped because it's absorbed some of Saturn's rings.

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Look at the little UFO-shaped planet! Pan's distinctive equatorial ridge isn't because it really wants to look like a ravioli; instead, it's because the moon accumulates some of Saturn's runoff ring particles as it orbits. Scientists first theorized that Pan had its unusual shape in 2007, but it wasn't confirmed until it was photographed for the first time in March 2017.


14. But there are way more stars in the universe than grains of sand on Earth.

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The universe is way beyond the Milky Way galaxy, because it's...everything. It can be hard to estimate how many stars are out there because we don't know how big the universe is, but scientists estimate that the number hovers around 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars, or a septillion. That's massive, especially compared to the seven quintillion, five hundred quadrillion grains of sand on Earth.

15. Olympus Mons on Mars is so large at its base that an observer on its peak wouldn't know they were standing on a mountain because its slope would be obscured by the curvature of the planet itself.

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It's the tallest known mountain in the solar system, which means it has some pretty impressive stats: Its base is the size of Arizona, the whole thing is16 miles high, and it has five-mile-high cliffs at the bottom.


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Aspiring Elaine Benes.

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