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The Solar System
Transcript of The Solar System
As the planet nearest the sun, the surface of Mercury can reach a scorching 840 degrees F (450 degrees C). However, since this world doesn't have a real atmosphere to entrap any heat, at night temperatures can plummet to minus 275 degrees F (minus 170 degrees C), a more than 1,100 degrees F (600 degree C) temperature swing that is the greatest in the solar system. Mercury Mercury apparently shrank about 0.6 to 1.2 miles (1 to 2 kilometers) as it cooled in the billions of years after its birth. This caused its surface to crumple, creating lobe-shaped scarps or cliffs, some hundreds of miles long and soaring up to a mile high. about 4 billion years ago, a roughly 60-mile-wide (100-kilometer-wide) asteroid struck Mercury with an impact equal to 1 trillion 1-megaton bombs, creating a vast impact crater roughly 960 miles (1,550 kilometers) wide. Known as the Caloris Basin, this crater could hold the entire state of Texas. Venus This planet is know as earth's sister planet You would choke from entering this planet's atmosphere and would burn on the land. Venus is the hottest world in the solar system. Roughly two-thirds percent of the Venusian surface is covered by flat, smooth plains that are marred by thousands of volcanoes, ranging from about 0.5 to 150 miles (0.8 to 240 kilometers) wide, with lava flows carving long, winding canals up to more than 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) in length, longer than on any other planet. Venus has no moons or rings. Not only are conditions on Venus infernal, an ancient name for Venus was even Lucifer. This name did not carry any fiendish connotations, however — Lucifer means "light-bringer," and when seen from Earth, Venus is brighter than any other planet or even any star in the night sky because of its highly reflective clouds and its closeness to our planet. Earth Earth happens to lie within the so-called "Goldilocks zone" around its star, where temperatures are just right to maintain liquid water on its surface. Earth's crust and oceans may have formed within about 200 million years after the planet had taken shape. The atmosphere is roughly 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, with trace amounts of water, argon, carbon dioxide and other gases. Nowhere else in the solar system can one find an atmosphere loaded with free oxygen, which ultimately proved vital to one of the other unique features of Earth — us Earth is the only planet in the universe known to possess life. There are several million known species of life, ranging from the bottom of the deepest ocean to a few miles into the atmosphere, and scientists think far more remain to be discovered. Scientists figure there are between 5 million an 100 million species on Earth, but science has only identified about 2 million of them The bright rust color Mars is known for is due to to iron-rich minerals in its regolith — the loose dust and rock covering its surface. Mars The red planet is home to both the highest mountain and the deepest, longest valley in the solar system. Olympus Mons is roughly 17 miles (27 kilometers) high, about three times as tall as Mount Everest, while the Valles Marineris system of valleys — named after the Mariner 9 probe that discovered it in 1971 — can go as deep as 6 miles (10 kilometers) and runs east-west for roughly 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers), about one-fifth of the distance around Mars and close to the width of Australia or the distance from Philadelphia to San Diego. Mars has the largest volcanoes in the solar system, including Olympus Mons, which is about 370 miles (600 kilometers) in diameter, wide enough to cover the entire state of New Mexico. Jupiter It would have actually become a star instead of a planet. Its atmosphere resembles that of the sun, The most extraordinary feature on Jupiter is undoubtedly the Great Red Spot, a giant hurricane-like storm seen for more than 300 years. At its widest, the Great Red Spot is three times the diameter of the Earth Jupiter spins faster than any other planet, taking a little under 10 hours to complete a turn on its axis, compared with 24 hours for Earth. This rapid spin actually makes Jupiter bulge at the equator and flatten at the poles, making the planet about 7 percent wider at the equator than at the poles. Saturn Saturn has the lowest density of all the planets, and is the only one less dense than water — if there were a bathtub big enough to hold it, Saturn would float on top. 7,500 miles (12,500 kilometers) across — big enough to fit nearly four Earths inside. Thermal images show it reaches some 60 miles (100 kilometers) down into the planet's atmosphere. It remains uncertain what causes it. Saturn has at least 62 moons. Titian, one of Saturn's many moon's is covered in an oily flammable substance, so if there was oxygen one spark could set it on fire. Uranus Was the first planet found in the solar system Unlike the other planets of the solar system, Uranus is tilted so far that it essentially orbits the sun on its side, with the axis of its spin nearly pointing at the star. This unusual orientation might be due to a collision with a planet-sized body soon after it was formed. The extreme axial tilt Uranus experiences can give rise to unusual weather. As sunlight reaches some areas for the first time in years, it heats up the atmosphere, triggering gigantic springtime storms roughly the size of North America. Uranus Every 248 years, Pluto moves inside Neptune's orbit for 20 years or so, during which time it is closer to the sun than Neptune. A large dark storm that Voyager 2 tracked in Neptune's southern hemisphere in 1989. This oval-shaped, counterclockwise-spinning "Great Dark Spot" was large enough to contain the entire Earth. Neptune’s cloud cover has an especially vivid blue tint that is partly due to an as-yet-unidentified compound and the result of the absorption of red light by methane in the planets mostly hydrogen-helium atmosphere.