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A Very Long Science Project
Transcript of A Very Long Science Project
The Moon is Earth's only natural satellite.
It is strange in the way that it takes the same amount of time for it to orbit the Earth and rotate on it's axis, resulting in us (people on the Earth) only ever seeing one side of the Moon .
It is about 3475 kilometers in diameter which means it is actually bigger than Pluto.
The Moon has a very thin atmosphere called an exosphere. It can not break up asteroids reliably, which is why the moon is pitted with craters.
Because asteroids have been pelting the moon for so long, it has ground the surface into a powder.
Over the course of human history, twelve humans have set foot on the Moon.
It is believed that the Moon was formed when a large object collided with the Earth; The debris formed the Moon.
Fun fact: the diameter of the Moon is 400 times smaller than the Sun, but the Sun is 400 times more distant. This results in the moon looking like it is the same size as the Sun and is why we can see solar eclipses.
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun in the solar system and the first inner planet
This means it also has the shortest orbit time of any planet in the solar system, 88 days.
Mercury's temperature fluctuates a lot, it can be from -173 C to 700 C.
It is a rocky planet like all the inner planets; it has a solid surface.
It is the smallest planet in the solar system, with a diameter of 4878 kilometers, not much larger than the moon, which is 3475 kilometers in diameter.
Mercury has no moons.
Mercury is strange in that it has a elliptical orbit, while all the other planets in the solar system are much more circular.
Mercury is the most upright of all the planets in the solar system, tilted just 2 degrees from the vertical.
Venus is the second inner planet, and is only slightly smaller than the Earth.
Like all the inner planets, it is terrestrial.
Venus is constantly shrouded in clouds made of sulfuric acid. Because of this, we cannot view the surface of Venus in visible light.
Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, with temperatures staying at a toasty 400 C due to the clouds providing a greenhouse effect.
The surface pressure on Venus is much igher than that of Earth, an astonishing 92 times more.
Venus is similar in size to the Earth; It's diameter is only 650km less than that of the Earth's (12 742 km).
Venus has no moons.
A single day on Venus lasts longer than nine months on Earth, because it rotates extremely slowly.
A day on Venus is 243 Earth days, while a year on Venus is 225 Earth days. A single day on Venus is actually longer than a Venusian year!
Venus actually spins in a direction opposite to that of the other planets in the Solar System, instead of spinning west to east, it spins east to west.
The Earth is the third inner planet in the solar system.
It is the only planet in the solar system known to have liquid water on its surface and to have life.
The Earth is one of the four rocky planets in the solar system.
Earth is not as pitted with impact craters as other celestial bodies such as the Moon because the air particles in our atmosphere burn up most of the meteoroids.
Unlike the other inner planets, the surface of the Earth is broken up into tectonic plates that are constantly moving around.
Earth has a strong magnetic field compared to the other inner planets, which protects it from solar wind.
Earth is the largest of the inner planets, with a diameter of 12 742 km at the equator.
Earth has the shortest day of any of the inner planets.
It is the densest planet in the solar system, despite being the fifth largest planet.
Mars is the final inner planet.
It is a terrestrial planet with a solid surface.
It is notable for its red tinge, which comes from the iron oxide (otherwise known as rust) on its surface.
Mars is home to the largest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, which is more than twice the height of Mount Everest.
Mars also sports a massive canyon system, the Valles Marineris that is more than four times deeper than the Grand Canyon.
Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system, after Mercury.
Mars actually has two moons, Deimos and Phobos. Due to their small size and irregular shape, they are likely asteroids captured by Mars's gravity.
Mars is the only other known planet that for sure has water on it. It is located at the poles in frozen ice caps.
Mars's angle of tilt is similar to the Earth's, so Mars also has four seasons, albeit with much colder temperatures.
A day on Mars is only slightly longer than a day on Earth, but a Martian year is almost twice as long as an Earth year.
Jupiter is the first outer planet and the fifth planet in the Solar System
Like all the outer planets, it is a gas giant and does not have a solid rocky surface like the inner planets. In fact, Jupiter is made up of nearly entirely hydrogen and helium, with no solid surface at all.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System, you could fit about 1300 Earths inside of it. It has a diameter of 139 822 kilometers, more than times that of Earth.
Despite being the largest planet and having the most mass,it is gaseous in composition and not very dense. Earth is the most dense planet.
if Jupiter were 80 times larger, it is likely it would have become a star instead of a planet.
Jupiter actually has rings that consist of dark grains of dust, though they are not as noticeable as Saturn's rings, which are made of much larger particles.
Jupiter has over 50 moons and it has the largest moon in the Solar System, Ganymede. Ganymede is larger than Pluto.
Jupiter rotates so quickly that one day on Jupiter is less than half as long as a day on Earth: 10 hours.
The Great Red Spot, a storm three times the size of the Earth has been raging on Jupiter for more than 300 years. It is believed to have lasted for so long because there is nothing on Jupiter to slow it down.
It takes Jupiter nearly 12 Earth years to make a single orbit around the Sun.
Saturn is the second outer planet and the sixth planet in the Solar System.
Like all the outer planets, it is a gas giant, having no solid surface, unlike the inner planets that are terrestrial.
Most notable for its rings (actually 3 separate rings) that can be seen from the Earth, they consist of billions of blocks of ice and rock.
Despite the rings having a huge diameter, they are actually only ten of feet thick.
It has a similar composition to Jupiter, being made of almost completely hydrogen and helium.
While not as big as Jupiter, Saturn is still huge, with a diameter of 116 464 kilometers, more than nine times the diameter of Earth.
Even though it is huge, the Earth is actually more dense than Saturn, which is actually the least dense of the planets; if there were a bathtub big enough, Saturn would actually float in it!
Where Earth has one moon, Saturn has the most moons of any planet in the Solar system, with more than 60 moons that have names.
It only takes about ten hours for Saturn to rotate. And you thought that Earth days went by quickly!
Thought that today was windy? Wind speeds on Saturn can reach 1800km/h, more than enough to blow away your hat.
You would not be having many new years parties on Saturn, because it takes Saturn about 29 Earth years to orbit the Sun once!
The gravity on Saturn is actually only slightly stronger than that of Earth's. You would not be crushed like you would be on a planet like Venus.
Uranus is the seventh planet in the Solar System and the third outer planet.
It is a gas giant like the other outer planets; it does not have a solid surface like the Earth.
Despite being a gas giant like Jupiter and Saturn, it is a completely different colour than them because of the presence of methane in it's atmosphere. The methane absorbs red light from the Sun but reflects the blue light.
Uranus, while still a huge gas giant, is much smaller than Jupiter or Saturn, it has a diameter 50 724 kilometers, slightly more than four times that of the Earth's.
Uranus also has a lot less moons than them, with about 27 known moons.
The Earth is tilted about 23 degrees, a rather significant amount that affects where sunlight hits the planet. Uranus is tilted 98 degrees so that it is almost on it's side.
This causes one pole, then the other to face the Sun head on for half of it's 84 year orbit period. That means each pole experiences 42 years of continuous sunlight followed by 42 years of continuous night!
Uranus takes a whopping 84 years to complete a single orbit around the Sun, nearly an entire average human lifetime.
Like Saturn, Uranus also has several rings around it, although they are much thinner and are nowhere near as spectacular. They are likely made out of small blocks of ice, no larger than a few meters across.
Interestingly, Uranus has a magnetic field that is similar in strength to that of the Earth's.
The gap between Uranus and it's closest neighbour, Saturn, is around twice the distance that Saturn is from the Sun. That puts Uranus at the distance of nearly 2 877 000 000 kilometers away from the sun.
Uranus is one of the more recently discovered planets, being discovered in 1781 by William Herschel.
Neptune is the fouth outer planet and the last planet in the Solar System.
Neptune is a gas giant like the other outer planets, with no solid surface.
Like the other gas giants it has a series of rings, composed of large fragments of ice, though Neptune's rings are even fainter than those of Uranus.
Neptune is the farthest plant in our Solar System from the Sun. Earth is around 150 million kilometers away from the Sun, but Neptune is a whopping 4.5 billion kilometers away from the Sun, more than 30 times farther.
Neptune is slightly smaller than Uranus, with a diameter of 49 244 kilometers to Uranus's 50 724 km.
It is the most "blue" planet in the Solar System due to the high amounts of methane in it's atmosphere (see Uranus)
Neptune has 13 known moons.
One of Neptune's moons, Triton is unique in that unlike any other moon in the Solar System, it orbits in the direction opposite to Neptune's rotation.
Neptune is the most recent planet to be added to the Solar System, being discovered in 1849 by German astronomer Johann Galle.
The average temperature on the Earth is around 15 C. The average temperature on Neptune, one of the coldest places in the Solar System, is -218 C.
Neptune possesses winds that are even faster than those of of Saturn's, topping out at nearly 2100 km/h.
Neptune has the longest orbit period of the planets, it takes nearly 165 years for it to complete a single orbit!
A star is a massive ball of burning gas held together by it's own gravitational force.
Stars are made mostly of hydrogen and helium with traces of other elements such as oxygen and carbon.
Stars are bright due to nuclear fusion. Their gravity is so strong it compresses the gases until they fuse with each other. This causes a lot of energy and heat.
Stars are formed when clouds of dust and gas clump together in space. As it grows, its gravity gets stronger and it pulls in more gas and dust that becomes hotter and denser. When it gets hot enough, it causes nuclear fusion and eventually the energy flowing outward from the nuclear fusion is enough to balance out the force of gravity pulling inwards, and a star is born.
The Sun, while it seems relatively large to us, is actually quite small compared to other stars. VY Canis Majoris is a star that has a diameter of nearly 2 billion kilometers, while the Sun is only about 1.2 million kilometers in diameter. Still, that is large enough to fit over 1 million Earths inside of it.
The temperature at the Sun's core is around 15000000 C. Toasty!
Stars actually have different rotation periods depending on where the measurement is taken. At the equator it takes less time for a star to rotate than at the poles.
Stars don't stay the same forever. Our Sun will eventually turn into a red giant, swallowing up the inner planets.
The Sun is a G class star. Stars are classified using a series of letters: O,B,A,F,G,K,M with O stars being the hottest. This means the Sun is actually farily cool in respect to other stars.
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Constellations are groups of stars, nebuals and galaxies that form patterns in the sky.
Constellations are named and based on many different things, such as objects, creatures or people.
Constellations are not just used as ways to keep track of the stars that make them up. They are also used to tell seasons, teach lessons, and navigate at night.
The objects in constellations appear from Earth to be in close proximity to each other. In reality, they are actually very far apart and have no relation to one another.
Different constellations can be seen depending on where you are on the Earth and what time of the year it is.
Constellations, since they were made from the viewpoint of the Earth, would look very different if you tried to find them standing on a different planet, such as Mars.
A galaxy is a giant group of stars and other objects (ie. nebulae) held together by gravity.
Galaxies are huge; our Milky Way galaxy is estimated to be at least 100 000 light years in diameter and contain at least 200-400 billion stars. Some galxies contain over 1 trillion stars.
Despite their huge size, there are thought to be over 170 billion galaxies in our universe.
There are several different kinds of galaxies. elliptical galaxies, which are like large disks, spiral galaxyies, which have "arms" of stars and dust spiraling out from the center, and irregular galaxies with strange shapes, like rings.
At the center of most galaxies is a supermassive black hole.
Our Solar System resides on one of the outer spiral arms of the Milk Way galaxy, about halfway between the edge and center of the galaxy.
On a clear night, one can actaully see our galaxy in the night sky.
Our galaxy is actually part a collection of several galaxies, known as the Local Group.
In about 4 billion years, the Andromeda galaxy will collide with ours.
Nebulae (sing. nebula) are large clouds of different kinds of gases and dust in space.
Nebulae are massive. The Eagle Nebula has "pillars" of gas that are over a light year in height.
Nebulae are sometimes the birthplace of stars. Nebulae have all the ingredients needed to form a star ( gas, dust, and gravity.) As the gravity pulls dust and gas together if forms into larger and larger clumps; young stars.
On the flip side, some nebulae are the remnants of supernova explosions; a dead star. It is like a cycle; A nebula forms, creates a star, the star dies and forms a new nebula.
Due to being unable to see them clearly, astronomers once referred to spiral galaxies as "spiral nebulae".
Nebulae are classified into
several different categories , including but not limited to, planetary nebulae, supernova remnants, and dark nebulae.
A meteor is a flash of light that is created when a space object burns up in our atmosphere.
The objects themselves are called meteoroids, which are smaller than 1km across. Most meteoroids are very small and completely burn up in the atmosphere and never reach the ground
If any of the debris from the meteoroid manages to make it through the atmosphere and hit the Earth, it is called a meteorite. A meteorite varies in size; they are usually small, but can be much larger, some weighing more than 100 kilograms.
Meteoroids are usually pieces of asteroids or comets that have broken off of it.
Meteoroids are different from asteroids because meteoroids are much smaller than asteroids.
Earth is actually constantly showered with meteoroids each day.
Meteoroids can be made of many different things, such as ice, rock, or metals like iron.
Meteor showers occur when the Earth passes through a string of space debris, such as the path of a comet.
Comets are rocky, icy objects in space, sometimes called a dirty snowball. When they get near the Sun, they warm up and the ice in them begins to vaporize. This causes jets of gas and dust to emante from the comet, forming a big long cloud called a coma.
As comets get closer to the Sun, solar wind causes the coma to sweep back so that it faces away from the Sun and split into two "tails".
One of the "tails" is a gas tail that is straight, and the other one is a dust tail that is curved.
Like the planets, comets orbit the Sun, but their orbits are very elliptical.
Many of the comets in our Solar System are believed to have originated from either the Kuiper Belt (essentially a very large asteroid belt made up of remnants of the Solar System's formation) or the Oort Cloud (a very far away "cloud" of icy particles).
A comet's tail only appears when it gets near the Sun because it requires the Sun's heat and solar wind. As it leaves the Solar System, the tail disappears.
Asteroids, also known as planetoids are essentially very small planets.
Asteroid size ranges from tiny particles, to a few meters to several kilometers in diameter.
The majority of asteroids in our Solar System orbit the Sun in the asteroid belt, a large ring of asteroids in between Mars and Jupiter.
Asteroids are irregularily shaped and pitted with craters.
Asteroids are composed of different things. Some asteroids may be made out of metals, others rock.
There are also many different kinds of asteroids. Most are just large pieces of rock or metal, but some are just a group of small asteroids held together by their own gravity.
The largest asteroid in our Solar System is called Ceresm discovered in 1801. Ceres is over 900 kilometers in diameter, more than 3 times the distance from Edmonton to Jasper!
Ceres alone comprises about 1/3 of the matter found in the asteroid belt. Though if all the matter in the asteroid was put together it would still be smaller than Earth's Moon.
The Barringer Crater ( that large one you see on postcards that looks like it is surrounded by a desert) was believed to be caused by an asteroid that was only 50 meters across.
Pluto, was until 2006, the final planet in the Solar System; the ninth planet. Now it is considered a dwarf planet due to similar objects to Pluto being found in the Kuiper Belt.
Pluto was the smallest, coldest, and farthest planet in the Solar System. Earth alone is around 500 times more massive and even our Moon is bigger. It has a nice cool temperature of -220 C, and at its farthest point away from the Sun, it orbits at a distance of nearly 7 billion kilometers.
Pluto's orbit is highly elliptical. This sometimes puts it closer to the Sun than Neptune.
When it is closest to the Sun, Pluto actually warms up enough to develop a thin atmosphere due to the evaporating nitrogen and methane on its surface.
This atmosphere actually ends up enveloping Charon, Pluto's largest moon.
Pluto takes an astonishing 248 Earth years to complete a single orbit around the Sun.
Despite being not even considered a planet of the Solar System anymore, Pluto has something to be proud of: it has 5 moons. That's more than the Earth, at least.
Pluto and it's largest moon, Charon spin in a direction oppostie to that of the planets in the Solar System, except Venus.
Similarly to Uranus, Pluto essentially rotates on it's side. It is tilted even more than Uranus, at 120 degrees.