20. The Ponzo Illusion
Have you ever noticed that when the moon is directly on the horizon it appears to be a lot closer and larger? Well, it’s not. What’s happening is actually something that your brain does all the time. Think about what happens when you see one of your friends on the horizon. Although they appear to be really small your brain doesn’t actually interpret them as being that tiny. Something similar is going on with regards to the moon. Known as the Ponzo illusion, your brain inflates the size of the moon to make it appear larger than it really is. Don’t believe it? Next time you’re looking at an oversized moon block everything else out with your hands and watch it shrink.
15. Cold Welding
This is a phenomenon used to describe the fact that whenever two pieces of metal in outerspace touch each other, they are more or less permanently stuck together. While welding usually requires heat, in this case the vacuum of space does the trick, hence the the name. You might think then, how do space shuttles accomplish anything out there? Well, typically metals on Earth have a layer of oxidized material covering their surface that prevents this, so on shuttle missions the risk of accidently welding the shuttle to itself is negligible.
10. The Big Dipper is not a constellation
While it’s not our intention to burst your bubble, we thought we should inform you that it is actually an asterism. There are only 88 official constellations in the night sky and everything else, including the Big Dipper, falls into this other category. It is, however, composed of the 7 brightest stars in the Great Bear (Ursa Major) constellation.
5. Einsteins Theory of Relativity
Without getting too complex, Einstein essentially came forward with the revolutionary idea that not only is motion relative, but time is too. In fact, they are linked together. The faster you move, the slower others will perceive that time has passed for you. Why? Well imagine this. As you are sitting in the bus you shine a beam of light at the opposite wall. Lets say in 1 second it covers 2 meters before hitting the other side of the bus. Now, lets think of this from the perspective of the person on the street. To them the bus is also moving so the beam of light actually covers 15 meters in that same second. Why is this weird? Think about it. Here we have an object that just traveled 12 meters farther in the same amount of time…but it was moving at the same speed. The only logical explanation is that to the person watching you from the road, it actually took the beam of light longer to reach the other side of the bus. This means that while you percieved the event to elapse in only 1 second, they percieved it in 2. To them your clock is ticking slower. While this was exactly the kind of nonsense scientists were trying to avoid, Einstein took it at face value and accepted the conlusion. Still don’t believe it? Thats why we’re moving on to…