Coins can be a lot more than just currency. Throughout history, they have been used to celebrate important events, people and culture. In 2021, the Royal Canadian Mint released a $50 coin to showcase one of its biggest subjects yet: our solar system. This coin is a must-have item for any astronomy lover. It is also a great example of the beautiful artwork that is made possible by modern minting methods.
5 Things To Know About Our Solar System
For much of human history, we considered the Earth to be the center of everything. However, as astronomy and space travel progressed, we have started to learn more about our solar system, our galaxy, and other parts of space. These are four interesting facts that everyone should know about our solar system:
- It’s Old: Humans have inhabited Earth for around 200,000 years. The earliest civilizations started emerging about 6,000 years ago. By contrast, the solar system is estimated to be around 4.6 billion years old. That is over 23,000 times longer than the entirety of human history. Of course, our sun has some older siblings, including HD 140283, which scientists estimate to be around 14.5 billion years old.
- The Sun Is Massive: Our solar system orbits the sun, a ball of fire fueled by nuclear reactions. Scientists estimate that around 99.8% of the solar system’s total mass is contained within the sun. Everything else combined accounts for less than two one-thousandths of the solar system!
- It Circles a Big Black Hole: The sun is just one of the hundreds of billions in the Milky Way galaxy. Our solar system is part of a spiraling arm of stars called the Orion Arm. The swirling arms of the galaxy surround a supermassive black hole that provides the gravitational center of the galaxy.
- Pluto Isn’t a Planet: Many people learned in school that there are nine planets in our solar system. However, there are actually only eight, as of 2006. Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet due to its low impact on neighbouring space.
- There May Be a New Planet: Planet X, a possible ninth planet, has received some attention since 2016. Caltech researchers proposed there may be a planet that is 10 times larger than Earth and 20 times farther from the sun than Neptune.
The 5oz $50 Silver Solar System Coin
There is no doubt that our solar system is full of wonder and beauty. To help celebrate this, the Royal Canadian Mint struck a 1,250-mintage run of $50 coins in 2021. These coins are five ounces of 99.99% pure silver with a special, full-colour design on the reverse.
The image depicts all eight planets (sorry Pluto) lined up around the sun. The background is illuminated by a mesh of distant stars. Excitingly, the coin is designed with a special glowing element that can be seen when a black light is shined on the reverse of the coin. This creation by artist Neil Hamelin is truly grand, just like its subject. With only 1,250 made, these coins are likely to remain popular for a long time.
These coins are proof quality and perfect for both astronomy lovers and coin collectors alike. The obverse of the coin features the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Susanna Blunt (a familiar image for anyone who collects or uses Canadian currency).
Add to Your Collection Today
Colonial Acres Coins has a huge selection of commemorative and special coins from the Royal Canadian Mint. Whether you are looking for the 2021 Solar System coin or something else, we are your first stop. Check out our catalogue today to find the right coin to add to your collection. Alternatively, find a gift for the stargazer in your life.