Tag Archives: empty

Closest approach to Earth by a space rock

The closest an asteroid has ever been observed to pass by the Earth is around 6,500 km (4,000 miles), by the asteroid 2004 FU162 on 31 March 2004. The asteroid, which measures only around 6 m (19 ft) across is too small to be classified as an asteroid (which must be at least 50m across) and would most likely have burned up in Earth’s atmosphere had it collided with the planet.

Closest moon to a planet

Of all the moons in the Solar System, the one which orbits closest to its planet is the tiny Martian satellite, Phobos. Phobos is 9,378 km 5,827 miles from the centre of Mars – which corresponds to 5,981 km 3,716 miles above the Martian surface. Phobos is a small potato-shaped irregular moon, measuring 27 x 22 x 18 km (17 x 14 x 11 miles). It is dark and covered with dusty craters and is almost certainly an asteroid which was captured by Mars’ gravity Continue reading →

Coldest place in the Milky Way

The coldest place in the universe is in the Boomerang Nebula, a cloud of dust and gases 5,000 light years from Earth. It has a temperature of -272C (-457.6F). It is formed by the rapid expansion of gas and dust flowing away from its central ageing star. This cold region of the nebula was discovered in 1995 by  astronomers using from data obtained by the 49 ft wide Swedish-European Space Observatory-Submillimeter radio telescope in La Silla, Chile.  In the areas coldest spots, the gases are Continue reading →

Costliest war

The material cost of World War II far transcended that of the rest of history’s wars put together and has been estimated at $1.5 trillion (£1.04 trillion). The total cost to the former Soviet Union was estimated in May 1959 at 2.5 trillion roubles, while a figure of $530 billion (£369 billion) has been estimated for the USA. In the case of the UK the cost of £34.42 billion ($49.43 billion) was over five times as great as that of World War I (£6.7 billion) Continue reading →

Continent most affected by desertification

Desertification: the transformation of arable land to desert, has a number of natural causes, including climate variation and soil erosion. Human activities including over-intensive farming, deforestation and even the migration of refugees in wartime can also give rise to conditions that make desertification possible. The situation is at its worst in Africa, where two thirds of the continent has been reduced to desert or dryland.

Deadliest mountain to climb

Annapurna l, in the 55 km (34 mile) long Annapurna massif, has been climbed by 130 people, 53 of whom died along the way, giving the peak a 41% mortality rate – making it statistically the world’s most dangerous mountain. The latest fatality came in 2008 when Iñaki Ochoa de Olza (Spain) had a seizure and pulmonary oedema near the summit.

Deepest bat colony

The world’s deepest bat colony, comprising approximately 1,000 little brown bats (Myotis lucifrugus), spends each winter in a New York zinc mine, USA, at a record depth for any bat species of 1,160 m (3,805 ft), almost six times deeper than this species’ normal roosting depth.