Sunday, 13 October 2013

True Or False: Six 'Space And The Universe' Facts For National Astronomy Day

Origami, extreme diets and the planet 'Marjory'...


As today is National Astronomy Day, I thought it would be appropriate to base my latest True Or False quiz on the theme of 'space and the universe'.  See if you can spot which of the following 'facts' are actually true and which ones are nothing more than a devious bluff...

The planets Neptune and Saturn, with the planet 'Marjory'
sandwiched in the middle.  Note: Not to scale.

Fact 1) The Planet 'Marjory'


The planet Uranus was discovered in 1628 by astronomer Richard Keplington and as a romantic gesture he originally wanted to name the planet 'Marjory' after his beloved wife.  However, his wife was quite a humble lady and didn't want any fuss or attention, and so Keplington reluctantly agreed to respect her wishes and the name Uranus was eventually decided upon.

True of false? 



Fact 2) Extreme diets


If you want to lose weight there are some extreme diets out there, but one extremely effective method to lose weight would be to fly to Mars where the gravity is only 38 percent of the gravity on Earth.  So for example a person who weighs twenty stone on Earth would weight less than eight stone on Mars!  An even more extreme course of action would be to fly to Pluto where the gravity is even less and a twenty stone person would weigh less than two stone!

You'd have to be careful not to get lost and end up on Jupiter, however, as the gravity there is much stronger than on Earth and therefore a person who weighs twenty stone on Earth would weigh over forty seven stone if they ever decided to visit Jupiter.

Please be aware, however, that the atmospheric conditions on Mars, Pluto and Jupiter are not ideally suited for human survival and therefore a much safer diet would be to eat less food and do more exercise.

True or false? 



The infinity of space, pictured yesterday.

Fact 3) The vastness of space


Everyone knows that space is big, but it's hard to comprehend actually just how massively big the universe and the Milky Way is.  So to help give you a bit of perspective, if you imagine the sun was the size of the tiny dot on this letter 'i', then the nearest star would be ten miles away!

True or false?



...one giant leap for rock and roll!

Fact 4) One small step for a rock band...


Creedence Clearwater Revival were a popular American rock band who had big success in the late 60s and early 70s.  However, when they approached one record company in 1963, Alvin Mallery, the A&R excutive at the time, declared that although he was personally a fan of their music he nevertheless wasn't convinced of their commercial potential and famously uttered the words, "They'll put a man on the moon before you have a number one single."

On 20th July 1969 Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon and uttered his famous line, "One small step for (a) man.  One giant leap for mankind."  A few hours later that week's single charts were announced and Alvin Mallery's words turned out to be true as the number one single was revealed to be Bad Moon Rising by ... yes, you guessed it Creedence Clearwater Revival - their first and only number one single.

True or false? 



Fact 5) Supernovas and sneezes


When a star goes supernova it's one of the most violently explosive events in the universe with incomprehensible amounts of energy released.  This is partly due to the fact that the star going supernova measures millions of miles across and therefore an explosion that big is obviously going to release massive amounts of energy.  However, if you were to shrink the star down in size to the comparative size of the human nose, then in actual fact the energy released in a typical human sneeze would match the energy of a supernova.

True or false?



Origami, the art of folding paper.  Generally used for
decorative purposes, rather than as a means of space travel.

Fact 6) Fold me to the Moon


If you fold a typical piece of paper in half repeatedly then after seven folds you'll find that the paper won't fold in half anymore*.  However, if we were to ignore this fact and assume that you could hypothetically fold a sheet of paper in half an infinite number of times, then after folding it in half a mere 2,688 times it would actually be thick enough to reach the Moon.

* Apparently in 2002 Britney Gallivan (some genius in America) came up with a technique to fold a sheet of paper in half 12 times (although she did sort of cheat a bit by using a long roll of toilet paper), but for regular non-geniuses most of us will find that seven folds is the limit of what we can achieve.

True or false?

Scroll down the page to check out the answers and see how well you did...



















Answers:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn,
'George', Neptune and dwarf planet Pluto.
Fact 1) The planet 'Marjory' - FALSE
Uranus was actually discovered in 1781 by William Herschel and I've no idea what his wife was called (or indeed if he even had a wife), but Herschel had no desire to name the newly discovered planet 'Marjory'.  He did, howerver, originally want to call the planet 'George' after King George III, but in the end the name of Uranus was eventually chosen.  In my opinion, 'George' is a very appropriate name for a king, but not so appropriate for a planet, so I reckon Uranus was overall a much wiser choice.

Fact 2) Extreme diets - TRUE
A twenty stone person would indeed weigh less than eight stone on Mars and less than two stone if they went to Pluto.  The bit about the atmospheric conditions on Mars, Pluto and Jupiter not being ideally suited for human survival was also true, although you probably obviously realised that.

Fact 3) The vastness of space - TRUE
This one is true.  If the Sun was the size of the dot on a letter 'i' then the nearest star would actually be ten miles away.  When you consider that there are an estimated 100 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and an estimated 125 billion galaxies in the universe, it all adds up to an unfathomably large universe.

Fact 4) One small step for a rock band - FALSE.
It would have been nice if it was true but sadly I just made up all that stuff about Alvin Mallery and the Moon, and in actual fact Alvin Mallery doesn't even exist.  (Or if he does, it's just by a fluky random coincidence.)  Creedence Clearwater Revival did indeed have a number one hit in the UK with Bad Moon Rising, but it didn't reach number one until 20th September 1969, two months after the first moon landing.  It then stayed at number one for a further two weeks making three weeks in total, but anyway the rest of the story and that quote about the moon was just made up.

Fact 5) Supernovas - FALSE
This one was a bit ridiculous.  Even if you proportioned it down to a similar size, of course a supernova would release more energy than a sneeze.  In fact when a star goes supernova it causes a burst of radiation that will often briefly outshine an entire galaxy, so as you can imagine a supernova just edges out a sneeze in the energy stakes.

Fact 6) Fold me to the Moon - FALSE
In actual fact you would only need to fold a sheet of paper in half a mere 42-45 times (depending on the exact thickness of the paper) in order to reach the Moon, so perhaps NASA should focus their future resources on origami as a potentially cost-effective method of space travel.




Not recommended for prudes or squares.
This True Or False quiz was written and compiled by Charles Fudgemuffin, author of the 'How To Save The World' comedy books.  All six books are now available for Kindle from Amazon, and you can download the opening book, 'How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy' for free from the following links:

UK:  How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy
US:  How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy


Please note, The 'How To Save The World' books are suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.

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About The Author

The 'How To Save The World' books
by Charles Fudgemuffin
Charles Fudgemuffin is the author of the alien comedy 'How To Save The World' books which are available for Kindle from Amazon.  The first book in the series is available from the following link:
How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy

As with all Kindle books, you can also download a free sample of the first few chapters.

Please note, the 'How To Save The World' books contain material suitable for ages 18+ and are not recommended for prudes or squares.