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Our Solar System (See on fullscreen and use arrow keys)
Transcript of Our Solar System (See on fullscreen and use arrow keys)
by Aleksandros Beqari
The sun is a star. A star does not have a solid surface, but is a ball of gas (92.1 percent hydrogen (H2) and 7.8 percent helium (He)) held together by its own gravity.
The sun is the center of our solar system and makes up 99.8% of the mass of the entire solar system.
If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be about the size of a nickel.
Since the sun is not a solid body, different parts of the sun rotate at different rates. At the equator, the sun spins once about every 25 days, but at its poles the sun rotates once on its axis every 36 Earth days.
The solar atmosphere (a thin layer of gases) is where we see features such as sunspots and solar flares on the sun.
The sun is orbited by eight planets, at least five dwarf planets, tens of thousands of asteroids, and hundreds of thousands to three trillion comets and icy bodies.
The sun does not have any rings.
Spacecraft are constantly increasing our understanding of the sun -- from Genesis (which collected samples of the solar wind and returned the particles to Earth) to SOHO, STEREO, THEMIS, and many more, which are examining the sun's features, its interior and how it interacts with our planet. .
Without the sun's intense energy there would be no life on Earth.
The temperature at the sun's core is about 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit).
Distance from Earth: 149,597,900 km
Mean Radius: 695,508 km
Volume: 1,409,272,569,059,860,000 km3
Mass: 1,989,100,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Temperatures: 27 million F (core)
Rotation: 25 Earth days (equator), 36 Earth days (axis)
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun at a distance of about 58 million km (36 million miles) or 0.39 AU.
One day on Mercury (the time it takes for Mercury to rotate or spin once) takes 59 Earth days. Mercury makes a complete orbit around the sun (a year in Mercury time) in just 88 Earth days.
Mercury is a rocky planet, also known as a terrestrial planet. Mercury has a solid, cratered surface, much like Earth's moon.
Mercury's thin atmosphere, or exosphere, is composed mostly of oxygen (O2), sodium (Na), hydrogen (H2), helium (He), and potassium (K). Atoms that are blasted off the surface by the solar wind and micrometeroid impacts create Mercury's exosphere.
Mercury has no moons and there are no rings around Mercury.
Only two spacecraft have visited this rocky planet: Mariner 10 in 1974-5 and MESSENGER, which flew past Mercury three times before going into orbit around Mercury in 2011.
No evidence for life has been found on Mercury, daytime temperatures can reach 430 degrees Celsius (800 degrees Fahrenheit) and drop to -180 degrees Celsius (-290 degrees Fahrenheit) at night and it also has a very thin atmosphere, leaving it vulnerable to meteors so it is unlikely life (as we know it) could survive on this planet.
Fact: Standing on on Mercury's surface at its closest point to the sun, the sun would appear more than three times larger than it does on Earth.
Distance from sun: 58 million km (36 million miles)
Mean Radius: 2,439.7 km
Volume: 60,827,208,742 km3
Mass: 330,104,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Gravity: 0.38 g
Temperatures: 800F (430C) daytime, -290F(-180C) night time
1 day = 59 Earth days, 1 year = 88 Earth days
Atmosphere: Very thin, vulnerable to meteors. Oxygen,Sodium, Hydrogen, Helium and Potassium ( non-breathable )
Venus is only a little smaller than Earth.
Venus is the second closest planet to the sun at a distance of about 108 million km (67 million miles) or 0.72 AU.
One day on Venus lasts as long as 243 Earth days (the time it takes for Venus to rotate or spin once). Venus makes a complete orbit around the sun (a year in Venusian time) in 225 Earth days.
Venus is a rocky planet, also known as a terrestrial planet. Venus' solid surface is a cratered and volcanic landscape.
Venus' thick and toxic atmosphere is made up mostly of carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrogen (N2), with clouds of sulfuric acid (H2SO4) droplets and all of these are being burned up giving it's hell-like look.
Venus has no moons and there are no rings around Venus.
More than 40 spacecraft have explored Venus. The Magellan mission in the early 1990s mapped 98 percent of the planet's surface.
No evidence for life has been found on Venus. The planet's extreme high temperatures of almost 480 degrees Celsius (900 degrees Fahrenheit) make it seem an unlikely place for for life as we know it.
Venus spins backwards (retrograde rotation) when compared to the other planets. This means that the sun rises in the west and sets in the east on Venus.
Distance from sun: 108 million km (67 million miles)
Mean Radius: 6,051.8 km.
Volume: 928,415,345,893 km3.
Mass: 4,867,320,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg .
Gravity: 0.904 g
Temperatures: 900 F ( 480C ).
1 day = 243 Earth days, 1 year = 225 Earth days
Atmosphere: Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen and with Sulfuric Acid Clouds ( non-breathable)
If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be the size of a nickel.
Earth is the third planet from the sun at a distance of about 150 million km (93 million miles) or one AU.
One day on Earth takes 24 hours (this is the time it takes the Earth to rotate or spin once). Earth makes a complete orbit around the sun (a year in Earth time) in about 365 days.
Earth is a rocky planet, also known as a terrestrial planet, with a solid and dynamic surface of mountains, valleys, canyons, plains and so much more. What makes Earth different from the other terrestrial planets is that it is also an ocean planet: 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered in oceans.
The Earth's atmosphere is made up of 78 percent nitrogen (N2), 21 percent oxygen (O2) and 1 percent other ingredients -- the perfect balance for us to breathe and live. Many planets have atmospheres, but only Earth's is breathable.
Earth has one moon but no rings.
Many orbiting spacecraft study the Earth from above as a whole system and together aid in understanding our home planet.
Earth is the perfect place for life.
Earth's atmosphere protects us from incoming meteoroids, most of which break up in our atmosphere before they can strike the surface as meteorites.
It's atmosphere helps Earth being warm trapping the heat but not too warm.
Distance from Sun: 150 million km (93 million miles)
Mean Radius: 6,371.00 km
Volume: 1,083,206,916,846 km3
Mass: 5,972,190,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Gravity: 0.99732 g
Temperatures = Usually from 18°C(64.4F) to 27°C(80.6F)
Depending on location.
1 day = 24 hours , 1 year = 365 days
Atmosphere : 78% Nitrogen, 21% oxygen,1% others (Breathable)
If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be the size of a nickel and the moon would the size of a green pea.
The moon is Earth's satellite and orbits the Earth at a distance of about 384 thousand km (239 thousand miles) or 0.00257 AU.
The moon makes a complete orbit around Earth in 27 Earth days and rotates or spins at that same rate, or in that same amount of time. This causes the moon to keep the same side or face towards Earth during the course of its orbit.
The moon is a rocky, solid-surface body, with much of its surface cratered and pitted from impacts.
The moon has a very thin and tenuous (weak) atmosphere, called an exosphere.
The moon has no moons and no rings
More than 100 spacecraft been launched to explore the moon. It is the only celestial a body beyond Earth that has been visited by human beings (The Apollo Program).
The moon's weak atmosphere and its lack of liquid water cannot support life as we know it.
Surface features that create the face known as the "Man in the moon" are impact basins on the moon that are filled with dark basalt rocks.
Distance from Earth: 384,000 km ( 239 miles )
Mean Radius: 1737.5 km
Volume: 21,971,669,064 km3
Mass: 73,476,730,924,573,500,000,000 kg
Gravity: 0.1654 g
Atmosphere: Very thick and weak, vulnerable to impacts and non-breathable
Temperatures: -153 C (243.4 F) night time, 103 C (217.4 F) daytime
1 day = 29.5 Earth days, 1 year = 27.3 Earth days.
Mars is a cold desert world. It is half the diameter of Earth and has the same amount of dry land. Like Earth, Mars has seasons, polar ice caps, volcanoes, canyons and weather, but its atmosphere is too thin for liquid water to exist for long on the surface.The iron particles in the surface and atmosphere give it's reddish looks. There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but evidence for water now exists mainly in icy soil and thin clouds.
Curiosity, a robotic rover about the size of a small SUV, is designed to find whether the Red Planet ever was -- or is still today -- an environment suitable for life. The rover landed on Mars in August 2012.
Mars has two potato-shape moons, Phobos and Deimos but no rings.
Officials say that one day ,by 2020 , Man will land on Mars. There are many controversies and conspiracy theories regarding Mars such as the fact that alien life actually exists on Mars but NASA hides that information from people.There is actual evidence that life, or at least water, existed on Mars billions of years ago.If mankind one day expands to space, Mars would be it's first colony.
Distance from Sun: 154 million miles (249 million km)
Mean Radius: 3,389.5 km
Volume: 163,115,609,799 km3
Mass: 641,693,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Atmosphere: Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, Argon
Gravity: 0.376 g
Temperatures: -125 to 23 °F
1 day = 24.623 hours, 1 year = about 686 Earth days
Jupiter, the most massive planet in our solar system -- with dozens of moons and an enormous magnetic field -- forms a kind of miniature solar system. Jupiter does resemble a star in composition, but it did not grow big enough to ignite. The planet's swirling cloud stripes are punctuated by massive storms such as the Great Red Spot, which has raged for hundreds of years.
It has 67 physical satellites (moons), of these, 51 are less than 10 kilometers in diameter and have only been discovered since 1975. The four largest moons, known as the "Galilean moons", are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. And it also has rings, just like the other four giants but unlike Saturn, they are almost invisible.
Jupiter's appearance is a tapestry of beautiful colors and atmospheric features. Most visible clouds are composed of ammonia. Water vapor exists deep below and can sometimes be seen through clear spots in the clouds. The planet's "stripes" are dark belts and light zones created by strong east-west winds in Jupiter's upper atmosphere.
NASA's Juno polar orbiter will study how Jupiter formed and became the dynamic world we see today. Juno will also help us to better understand the formation of our solar system and other planetary systems.
Distance from sun: 778,340,821 km
Mean Radius: 69,911 km
Volume: 1,431,281,810,739,360 km3
Mass: 1,898,130,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Gravity: 2.528 g
Temperatures: -157.27 F (1 bar level), -258.07 (0.1 bar)
Atmosphere and Composition: 89.8±2.0% hydrogen (H2), 10.2±2.0% helium (He)
1 day: 9h 56m in Earth,
1 year:12 Earth Years
Adorned with thousands of beautiful ringlets, Saturn is unique among the planets. All four gas giant planets have rings -- made of chunks of ice and rock -- but none are as spectacular or as complicated as Saturn's. Like the other gas giants, Saturn is mostly a massive ball of hydrogen and helium.Saturn has at least 150 moons and moonlets, 53 of which have formal names.Titan, the largest, comprises more than 90% of the mass in orbit around Saturn, including the rings. Saturn's second largest moon, Rhea, may have a tenuous ring system of its own, along with a tenuous atmosphere. Many of the other moons are very small: 34 are less than 10 km in diameter and another 14 less than 50 km but larger than 10 km.
NASA's Cassini orbiter is on an extended mission to explore Saturn and its rings, its magnetosphere and its moons. Cassini also delivered Europe's Huygens probe to its historic landing on Titan in 2005.
Distance from Sun: 1,426,666,422 km
Mean Radius: 58,232 km
Volume: 827,129,915,150,897 km3
Mass: 568,319,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Gravity: 1.065 g
Temperatures: -218.47F (1 bar), -308.47F (0.1 bar)
Atmosphere and composition:~96% hydrogen (H2) ~3% helium (He)
1 day:10 hours 45 minutes 45 seconds, with a 36 second margin of error( each week it's rotation slows down by 1 percent , either because the Sun's solar flares are interfering or particles from Enceladus' geysers are messing up with it's magnetic field)
1 year: 29 Earth years
Uranus is the only giant planet whose equator is nearly at right angles to its orbit. A collision with an Earth-sized object may explain Uranus' unique tilt. Nearly a twin in size to Neptune, Uranus has more methane in its mainly hydrogen and helium atmosphere than Jupiter or Saturn. Methane gives Uranus its blue tint.
Uranus has 27 known natural satellites.The names for these satellites are chosen from characters from the works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. The five main satellites are Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon. The Uranian satellite system is the least massive among the gas giants; indeed, the combined mass of the five major satellites would be less than half that of Triton alone.The largest of the satellites, Titania, has a radius of only 788.9 km, or less than half that of the Moon, but slightly more than Rhea, the second largest moon of Saturn, making Titania the eighth largest moon in the Solar System.
One of the most bizarre things about Uranus; however, is the fact that its axis is tilted to almost 90-degrees. Unlike the other planets, which spin like tops on a table, Uranus looks like it’s rolling around. For part of the year on Uranus, the Sun appears to be move thought the sky, just like we have on Earth. But then, as the year goes on, one hemisphere is in light, and the other is in darkness for an entire season.
What this means is that a day on Uranus is the same as an entire season on Uranus. Even though the planet is rotating on its axis, the Sun will just spiral around in the sky until the planet has gone far enough around the Sun for it to be obscured. Day on Uranus is as long as Summer on Uranus, and night on Uranus is as long as winter on Uranues
Most of what we know about Uranus came from Voyager 2's flyby in 1986. The spacecraft discovered 10 additional moons and several rings before heading on to Neptune.
Average distance from Sun: 2,870,658,186 km
Mean Radius: 25,362 km
Volume: 68,334,355,695,584 km3
Mass: 86,810,300,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Gravity: 0.886 g
Atmosphere: 83 ± 3% hydrogen (H2) 15 ± 3% helium (He), 2.3% methane (CH4)
1 day: 17 hours, 14 minutes and 24 seconds
1 year: 84 Earth years
Dark, cold and whipped by supersonic winds, Neptune is the last of the hydrogen and helium gas giants in our solar system. More than 30 times as far from the sun as Earth, the planet takes almost 165 Earth years to orbit our sun. In 2011 Neptune completed its first orbit since its discovery in 1846.Neptune has 14 known moons. The largest by far, comprising more than 99.5% of the mass in orbit around Neptune and the only one massive enough to be spheroidal, is Triton, discovered by William Lassell just 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself. Unlike all other large planetary moons in the Solar System, Triton has a retrograde orbit, indicating that it was captured rather than forming in place; it was probably once a dwarf planet in the Kuiper belt. It is close enough to Neptune to be locked into a synchronous rotation, and it is slowly spiralling inward because of tidal acceleration. It will eventually be torn apart, in about 3.6 billion years, when it reaches the Roche limit. In 1989, Triton was the coldest object that had yet been measured in the solar system, with estimated temperatures of 38 K (−235 °C). Neptune isn’t a single solid object like the terrestrial planets, so different parts of the planet rotate at different speeds. This is a process that astronomers call differential rotation. Neptune’s equatorial zone takes about 18 hours to complete a rotation – that’s slower than the planet’s averate 16.1 hour rotation period. And the polar regions can take just 12 hours to rotate; much more quickly than the average.
This big difference in rotational rate between the equatorial regions and the planet’s poles means that Neptune has a strong latitudinal wind shear. This helps to generate the strongest winds in the Solar System. Astronomers have clocked winds on Neptune going as fast as 2,400 km/hour (1,500 miles/hour)
Most of what we know about Neptune is thanks to Voyager 2's 1989 flyby. The spacecraft also discovered six of Neptune's moons.
Average Distance from Sun: 4,498,396,441 km
Mean Radius: 24,622 km
Volume: 62,525,703,987,421 km3
Mass: 102,410,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Gravity: 1.14 g
Temperatures: 1 bar level -330.07ºF
0.1 bar (10 kPa) -360.67ºF
Atmosphere: 80±3.2% hydrogen (H2)
19±3.2% helium (He)
1 day (average): 16.1 Earth hours
1 year: 165 Earth years
Eris Pluto Ceres
What is a planet? We've been asking that question at least since Greek astronomers came up with the word to describe the bright points of light that seemed to wander among fixed stars. Our solar system's planet count has soared as high as 15 before it was decided that some discoveries were different and should be called asteroids.
Many disagreed in 1930 when Pluto was added as our solar system's ninth planet. The debate flared again in 2005 when Eris -- about the same size as Pluto -- was found deep in a zone beyond Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. Was it the 10th planet? Or are Eris and Pluto examples of an intriguing, new kind of world?
The International Astronomical Union decided in 2006 that a new system of classification was needed to describe these new worlds, which are more developed than asteroids, but different than the known planets. Pluto, Eris and the asteroid Ceres became the first dwarf planets. Unlike planets, dwarf planets lack the gravitational muscle to sweep up or scatter objects near their orbits. They end up orbiting the sun in zones of similar objects such as the asteroid and Kuiper belts.
Our solar system's planet count now stands at eight. But the lively debate continues as we continue to explore and make new discoveries.
The Kuiper belt, Oort Cloud
and the asteroid belt
The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune -- billions of kilometers from our sun. Pluto and Eris are the best known of these icy worlds. There may be hundreds more of these ice dwarfs out there. The Kuiper Belt and even more distant Oort Cloud are believed to be the home of comets that orbit our sun.All these Asteroids might have been travelling through space and came into our solar system, then maybe they go caught the suns' and/or other planet's magnetic field forming the belt.
NASA's New Horizons will be the first spacecraft to visit Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. The spacecraft's journey began in January 2006. It will continue into the Kuiper Belt after its Pluto flyby in 2015.
Extras!: Meteors,Comets and beyond our solar system!
Meteoroids become meteors -- or shooting stars -- when they interact with a planet's atmosphere and cause a streak of light in the sky. Debris that makes it to the surface of a planet from meteoroids are called meteorites.
Meteorites may vary in size from tiny grains to large boulders. One of the largest meteorite found on Earth is the Hoba meteorite from southwest Africa, which weighs roughly 54,000 kg (119,000 pounds).
Meteor showers are usually named after a star or constellation which is close to the radiant (the position from which the meteor appears to come).
Meteors and meteorites begin as meteoroids, which are little chunks of rock and debris in space.
Most meteorites are either iron, stony or stony-iron.
Meteorites may look very much like Earth rocks, or they may have a burned appearance. Some may have depressioned (thumbprint-like), roughened or smooth exteriors.
Many of the meteor showers are associated with comets. The Leonids are associated with comet Tempel-Tuttle; Aquarids and Orionids with comet Halley, and the Taurids with comet Encke.
When comets come around the sun, they leave a dusty trail. Every year the Earth passes through the comet trails, which allows the debris to enter our atmosphere where it burns up and creates fiery and colorful streaks (meteors) in the sky.
Leonid MAC (an airborne mission that took flight during the years 1998 - 2002) studied the interaction of meteoroids with the Earth's atmosphere.
Meteoroids, meteors and meteorites cannot support life. However, they may have provided the Earth with a source of amino acids: the building blocks of life.
Meteoroids become meteors -- or shooting stars -- when they interact with a planet's atmosphere and cause a streak of light in the sky. Debris that makes it to the surface of a planet from meteoroids are called meteorites.
Comets are cosmic snowballs of frozen gases, rock and dust roughly the size of a small town. When a comet's orbit brings it close to the sun, it heats up and spews dust and gases into a giant glowing head larger than most planets. The dust and gases form a tail that stretches away from the sun for millions of kilometers.
Beyond our solar System
When we leave the solar system, we find our star and its planets are just one small part of the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is a huge city of stars, so big that even at the speed of light, it would take 100,000 years to travel across it. All the stars in the night sky, including our Sun, are just some of the residents of this galaxy, along with millions of other stars too faint to be seen.
Beyond our own galaxy lies a vast expanse of galaxies. The deeper we see into space, the more galaxies we discover. There are billions of galaxies, the most distant of which are so far away that the light arriving from them on Earth today set out from the galaxies billions of years ago. So we see them not as they are today, but as they looked long before there was any life on Earth.