Did You Know?
- All the planets in the solar system rotate anticlockwise, except Venus. Venus is the only planet that spins the other way. Does this mean that the sun rises in the West and sets in the East? Uranus is a bit different also – it spins “on its side”.
- Every one of the stars that you see in the sky at night is actually a violent spinning ball of hot gases giving out light; and these gases are held together by gravity.
- Satellites which are used in telecommunications (long-distance telephone calls, TV, mobile phones, etc.), for bouncing signals off in order to send over long distances, and which appear to be standing still over the Earth, are not still at all. They are orbiting around the Earth at the same rate as the rotating Earth.
- Unlike stars, planets do not give off light; they shine at night because they reflect light from the sun.
- On 21 June 1913, Georgia Broadwick became the first woman to parachute out of a plane. She did this over Los Angeles , USA .
- Isaac Newton was just 23 years old when he came up with the laws of gravity.
- Earth is the only planet in the solar system with air, oceans and life.
- The first human to orbit the Earth in a spacecraft was a Russian called Yuri Gagarin, in 1961.
- The variety of apple which is said to have fallen on Newton was called ‘Flower of Kent’. This variety of apple tree is planted all over the world in front of Physics laboratories, as a reminder that great discoveries can come from simple things.
- Golf is the only sport to have been played on the Moon – astronaut Alan Shephard played golf there on 6th February 1971.
- A dog called Laika was the first creature in space; it was sent up in a satellite called Sputnik in 1957. (A sheep, a duck and a rooster were the first creatures to fly in a hot air balloon).
- The first parachutes and first hot air balloon flights were made in France in the 1780s. The French inventor Jeanne Pierre Blanchard tested his parachute with a dog.
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