In the first of our handy beginner's guides, we delve in to the mysterious, and often mind-jangling field of space!
What is it? Where did it come from? Who, or what is in it?
All these things, and a few more, will be answered in our easily printable guide.
For the full on novice, or the more studied amateur, this top ten fact-file will impress and delight, enabling you to talk knowledgeably at parties about space, join in with awkward conversations about the wonders of our world with those who know better, and ultimately pick up girls at bars by telling them you're a scientific superstar!
So read on, and unlock those mysteries...
1. Space is called space because it has lot's of space in it! The distance between stars can be huge. Some stars are so far apart that you can't even write down the number of miles between them, because you'd run out of paper.
2. A star is made of rock, and it twinkles in the sky at night due to the sun's light reflecting off it. Star's get their distinctive five pointed look because they all spin in the same rotation. The atmosphere surrounding a star is quite coarse, and over time it wears points in to the rock.
3. The Milky Way is a Galaxy. It contains Starbursts and the planet Mars. Some of the Milky Way's Stars are Magic. You will also notice that all these thing's are famous confectionery items. That's because many of the things in space are named after chocolate bars!
4. The Earth, our planet, was created in 1853 BC. Before that, man lived on floating platforms bound together by strong vine, to stop them from floating off in to space.
5. An astronomer discovered a massive ball of ice, rock and gas spinning through space in 1680, while looking through his telescope. Gottfried Kirch had recently bought a gramophone from his local electrical appliance purveyor, and so decided to name this spinning ball a Comet!
6. There are reportedly over 8000 satellites in space orbiting Earth, as you read this. Most of them beam media, telephone and G.P.S data all around the world. But there are two that have the power to destroy! One is a huge laser, disguised as a Disney satellite, owned by the U.S government, and pointed directly at the Middle East. The other is a huge ball, currently under construction, and owned by the Empire.
7. Many planets were named after famous Greek footballers. Saturn played mid-field for Panathinaikos, Neptune famously scored the winning penalty kick for his Olympiacos team mates and League 1 giants Fokikos were responsible for Mercury, their powerful centre back!
8. Black holes, a spacetime curvature so great that nothing, including light, can escape it, occur when a colossal star with a mass of more than 3 times that of the Sun reaches the end of its life. It gets crushed under its own gravity and leaves behind a compact black hole. They can be used for storing linen, garden waste and old mattresses.
9. The billions of stars that can be seen at night were all given names. Astronomers used these names to identify certain parts of the sky. But on a long shift in 1653, a German astronomer got bored, and began doodling on the star maps. Linking stars together, in a dot-to-dot style, he discovered that whole areas of the sky could be identified far quicker by naming the patterns after what they look like. He called these patterns constellations. The Plough, the Great Bear, Orion the Hunter. These constellations have helped astronomers for ever after. (*)
10. Fact-flood!! Space smells of burnt cabbage! Space is actually a deep mauve, not black as people stupidly believe! If you were to fly a rocket in space and the brakes failed, you would continue to gain speed until your eyes burst, or you crashed in to a planet! The moon is not made of cheese, but it does have holes in like Emmental, with a faint odour of Gouda! Astronomy is the fourth biggest pastime in the UK, after football, drinking and badger baiting!
(*) The astronomer admits he was very, very drunk, by the time he got to design Pegasus and Pisces!
Next week don't miss...The Beginner's Guide Part 2: Ten Things To Know About Religion