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The Solar System
Transcript of The Solar System
Mercury's surface closely resembles the Earth's moon
Its largest feature, the Carolis Basin, is 800 miles across
The Greeks were the first people to discover Mercury
The Sun's rays are seven times stronger on Mercury than on Earth Fun Facts Venus Venus's diameter is 7,520 miles, and has no moons. Its mass is 80% of Earth's mass. NASA recently launched the MESSENGER, a satellite orbiting Mercury, and ice was also discovered on Mercury Current News Venus has a very dense atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid, and the atmosphere has a high albedo. This makes taking pictures of Venus nearly impossible. Since Venus is a terrestrial planet, scientists hypothesize that it has a crust, mantle, and core. However, they have been unable to get data about how big the layers are, since they have no seismic data. Venus orbits the Sun approximately every 225 days, and has the most circle-like orbit in our solar system. It completes a rotation every 243 days, the slowest of the eight planets. Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system, with temperatures reaching 865°F
Because it is close to Earth, and it has a high albedo, it is the third brightest object when viewed from Earth, behind the Sun and Moon
Venus is the most explored planet besides Earth
Venus is upside down, which causes it to rotate East-West
Venus has a weak magnetic field
Venus is considered the least likely planet in our solar system to contain life Fun Facts Current News The Transit of Venus, a rare astronomical event in which Venus moves across the Sun, happened in 2012. Earth Earth's diameter is 7,918 miles, and weighs nearly 13 septillion pounds. That is a thirteen, followed by twenty-four zeroes. Earth's atmosphere is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and the remaining percent is a mixture of other gases. Earth has a thin crust, a mantle, and a core. However, unlike other planets, it has a viscous mantle and distinct difference between the inner and outer core. Earth is composed of mainly iron, oxygen, silicon, and magnesium. The crust is composed of mainly silicon and oxygen. The inner core is a solid ball made of iron and nickel, and is 70% as big as the moon. It is as hot as the Sun. The outer core is made of nickel and iron, and is liquid. The nickel creates our magnetic field. The Earth's mantle is a made of a combination of silicon, oxygen, and magnesium. It occupies 84% of Earth's volume. Earth makes a rotation every 23 hours and 56 minutes, and it revolves around the Sun in 365.26 days. It rotates the fastest out of the four terrestrial planets. Moon Our moon is the fifth largest and second densest satellite in the solar system. The moon causes tides, and lengthens our day by a fraction of a second. Our moon is composed mainly of silica, a compound made of silicon and oxygen. Most of the Moon's volume is in the mantle, and it has a core similar to Earth's. Earth is the only planet in the universe known to have life, liquid water, and tectonic plates
Earth has the strongest magnetic field and highest density in our solar system, and the strongest gravity of all the terrestrial planets
Earth has an albedo of 30% Due to increased carbon and methane emissions, there is a hole in Earth's ozone layer. If this continues, the Sun may fry anything living on Earth, and it will become too hot for life. Current Events Fun Facts Mars Mars has a diameter of 4,221 miles, and weighs about 10% as much as Earth. Mars's atmosphere is composed mainly of carbon dioxide, and has layers similar to Earth, including a jet stream. However, it has significantly less pressure than Earth's atmosphere at Mt. Everest, and since Mars lost its magnetosphere, solar wind is a major factor. Traces of methane have been discovered in the atmosphere, which suggests that there may have been life on Mars at one point. Mars, like most rocky planets, has a core, mantle, and crust. Like Earth, Mars has a core that is composed mainly of iron and nickel. However, there is a lot of sulfur in the core, causing it to be much less dense than Earth's core. Mars's mantle is silicate, and once helped create tectonic and volcanic activity. However, it is now dormant. Like the mantle, the Martian crust is primarily composed of silicon and oxygen. It is three times as thick as Earth's crust. Mars is one and a half times as far from the Sun as Earth is, and completes a revolution around the Sun in 687 days. However, the day is only 44 minutes longer than Earth's, which is one reason why many scientists want to colonize Mars. The month of March is named after Mars
Mars is red because all of the metallic rocks are rusting
Only 1/3 of probes sent to Mars actually make it there
Mars has the tallest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons. It is three times as tall as Mt. Everest
Mars's climate closely resembles that of Antarctica Fun Facts Current News Many companies are beginning to offer one way tickets to Mars, with the hope to colonize it, and scientists have discovered, with the help of rovers, that Mars could have once supported life. Mars has two moons: Phobos and Deimos Both Phobos and Deimos are thought to be asteroids captured by Mars. Phobos is the closest moon to its planet in the solar system. It is projected to crash into Mars in 50 million years. Due to its shape, gravity isn't constant on Phobos. Phobos is covered with craters. In fact, the object that created this crater almost destroyed the moon! Phobos rises and sets twice every day. Deimos is very far from Mars, and most of the time it can't be seen. Unlike Phobos, Deimos only rises once every 2.7 days. Phobos has 1/1000th of Earth's gravitational pull. A 150 pound person would weigh only two ounces! Deimos is covered by a thick layer of dust, which is why it doesn't appear to have many landforms. There is a belt of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. In the asteroid belt is Ceres, a dwarf planet. Jupiter Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, with a diameter of 86,881 miles. It's mass is 318 times that of Earth, and takes up 1,321 times as much space as Earth. Jupiter is most known for the Great Red Spot, a humongous storm that is larger than Earth. It is believed to be a stable, permanent feature of the planet. Jupiter's atmosphere is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, and has a higher concentration of noble gases than other planets. Since it is a gas giant, there is no clear boundary between the atmosphere and interior of the planet. Jupiter's atmosphere isn't blown in the same direction. Instead, the colored bands travel in their own separate directions. No one knows what the core of Jupiter is like, and the best guess that scientists have is that it is dense and rocky, contains anywhere from 3%-15% of Jupiter's mass, and has 12-45 times as much mass as Earth. Surrounding the core is a large layer of metallic hydrogen, and it is believed to extend 78% of the way from the center. In this layer, it is believed to rain helium and neon. Above the liquid metallic hydrogen layer is a layer of normal hydrogen. Hydrogen is not in a distinct phase in this layer, as the temperature is below hydrogen's critical point. Jupiter has the fastest rotation in the solar system, as a day is just under ten hours. It completes an orbit around the Sun in almost twelve Earth-years. The axis only tilts about 3°, so there aren't seasons on Jupiter. Fun Facts Jupiter has the most confirmed moons, with 67
Four of Jupiter's moons are larger than Pluto
Jupiter has a small ring
Jupiter has 2.5 times the mass of all other planets put together
Jupiter has the strongest gravity of all of the planets Jupiter has been observed to have many explosions recently. It was also abnormally visible on Mother's Day. Current News Jupiter's Main Moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto are the largest moons of Jupiter, and are considered Galilean moons, since they were discovered by Galileo. For every four orbits Io makes around Jupiter, Europa makes two orbits, and Ganymede makes one. Io is the most geologically active object in the solar system, with over 400 volcanoes. Many are larger than Mt. Everest
Io's atmosphere is one millionth as dense as Earth's, and is composed primarily of sulfur
Io's surface temperature can range from 4,000°F to -230°F
Jupiter's magnetic field strips one ton of matter off Io every second Europa has one of the smoothest surfaces in the solar system
Europa has a layer of ice, and is rumored to have a 62 mile deep ocean under the layer of ice
Because of the layer of ice, Europa has a high albedo of 0.64, one of the highest in the solar system
Europa's composition is similar to Earth's, as it has a silicate surface and iron core. It is also about the same age as Earth Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system, and is larger than Pluto and Mercury
Ganymede is the only moon known to have a magnetic field
Ganymede is composed of primarily silicate rock and ice
It is believed that 124 miles below the surface, a salt water ocean is sandwiched between ice layers
Ganymede has an atmosphere that may contain ozone Callisto is the least dense of the Galilean moons
Callisto has a lot of craters, including one that is 1800 miles wide. That's equal to the distance from Minneapolis to San Francisco!
Callisto has an atmosphere containing carbon dioxide and oxygen
Callisto, like many other Galilean moons, has an ocean
Since it is far away from Jupiter's radiation, it is the most likely object to harbor life Our Solar System By Blake Andert Saturn Saturn's diameter is 72,367 miles. You can fit 764 Earths inside of Saturn. However, Saturn is the least dense planet in the solar system, and would float on water if you could find a very large pool to put it in. Because of this, Saturn is only 95 times as heavy as Earth. Saturn's atmosphere is 96% hydrogen. It's atmosphere has bands like those of Jupiter, but are much less distinctive. In the atmosphere, there is liquid water at normal Earth temperatures. However, we would have to fight through many layers of ammonia to get there, and since Saturn is a gas giant, we would have nothing to stand on. Saturn is famous for it's winds, some of the fastest in the solar system at 1100 miles per hour. Also, in every Saturn year, about the when the summer solstice happens in the northern hemisphere, a huge storm starts up, known as the Great White Spot. The next storm will occur around 2020. Saturn takes a little under eleven hours to rotate, and takes 29.5 Earth years to revolve around the Sun. It is 9 AU from the Sun. Since Saturn is a gas giant, like Jupiter, their internal structure is very similar. Saturn has a super dense core made of metallic hydrogen that contains almost all of the planet's mass, and is about 22,000°F, almost as hot as the Sun. Because of the core, Saturn radiates 2.5 times as much energy back into space than it receives from the Sun. Surrounding the core is a layer of thick liquid hydrogen, followed by a runnier layer of hydrogen saturated with helium. Surrounding that is the atmosphere. Saturn's most known feature is its rings, which are primarily composed of ice. They are not visible to the naked eye. They are commonly thought to have gaping holes between layers of rings, but astronomers agree that the rings are very similar to an annular disk. Saturday is named after Saturn
Saturn is oblate, due to its fast rotation
Ancient estimates of Saturn's diameter were only 1% off of today's accepted diameter
Saturn's rings will disappear in 50 million years, as gravity will pull most of the matter into Saturn Fun Facts Current News The Cassini space probe is currently exploring Saturn, and it has discovered that Saturn's magnetosphere and plasma changes with the seasons. Notable Moons of Saturn Saturn has 62 confirmed moons, 53 of which have formal names. However, scientists believe that Saturn has hundreds of moons, which means that it would have the most moons. Titan is the second largest moon in the solar system, and is larger than Mercury, and has 75% of Mars's mass. It is 50% larger than the Moon. Titan is composed of mainly ice and water. It has methane clouds, nitrogen smog, and has wind and rain. This means that its landforms are similar to those on Earth. Its atmosphere is similar to Venus's, which has kept astronomers from learning more about Titan. Many scientists believe that Titan can host microbial life, and the Cassini space probe is investigating this while it is orbiting Saturn. Rhea has a very low density, indicating that it is made primarily of ice water and not rock. It is rumored that Rhea may have a stable ring system. This was inferred by changes in electron flow, and bright spots appeared in a ring in a UV picture of Rhea. No one knows what Rhea's interior is like for sure, but many scientists agree that the core is a homogeneous solution. Rhea may be able to sustain liquid water, with radioactive decay providing thermal energy to keep it from freezing. Enceladus is believed to have liquid water near its icy surface, and it is believed that there is snow on Enceladus. 95% of Enceladus is water vapor. This caused NASA to name it "the most habitable spot for life in our solar system" Enceladus has a Bond albedo of .99, the highest in the solar system. This is because the icy surface acts like a mirror and reflects almost all sunlight. Enceladus has a diameter of 310 miles, and would fit inside Arizona or Colorado. However, since it's a sphere, the surface area is the size of Texas. Enceladus does have tectonic plates. Uranus Uranus's diameter is 31,518 miles, and has a mass 14 times as big as Earth. However, it has the least mass out of all the gas giants, even though Neptune has less volume. Since Uranus is a gas giant and has no solid surface, the deepest accessible part to remote sensors is considered the atmosphere. Its atmosphere is divided into three parts: the troposphere, stratosphere, and thermosphere. The troposphere consists of four cloud layers, with water clouds on the bottom layer, with an ammonium hydrosulfide layer on top of that, and a layer of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide clouds on top of that. The highest layer is composed of methane. Only the top two layers have been directly obsrved. The stratosphere consists of a layer of hydrocarbons on the bottom, with density increasing as you go higher. However, carbon monoxide is the most abundant substance in the stratosphere. The outermost layer of the Uranian atmosphere is also the largest, extending for thousands of miles. There are many hydrogen ions in this layer. The thermosphere is about 1000°F, which scientists believe is caused by its inability to cool down efficiently. Uranus has a very small core, about the size of our moon and its radius is 20% of Uranus's. It is composed of silicate minerals, iron, and nickel. The temperature of the core is very low. The mantle of Uranus makes up most of the planet, and it contains an water/ammonia ocean. There may be an ionic layer where hydrogen and oxygen are separated, and this ocean is very conductive. However, most of the mantle and planet is ice. Uranus rotates in 17 hours, and completes a revolution every 84 years. It is 20 AU away from the Sun on average, and the Sun is 1/400 as bright as it is on Earth. Uranus's axis is tilted at a 97° angle, making it almost perpendicular to the rest of the solar system. This is why the bands on the planet go vertically instead of horizontally. This causes a weird day night cycle, as half of the planet has 42 years of continuous sunlight, followed by continuous darkness, and vise versa. Many scientists believe that a large object hit Uranus really hard, causing it to get knocked on its side. However, a new theory states that a large moon's gravity may have constantly been tugging on Uranus for a long time, eventually forcing it on its side. However, no one knows where the moon could have gone. Fun Facts Uranus is the coldest planet in the solar system
Uranus was the first planet discovered with the help of the telescope
Uranus has only been seen once by a space probe
Uranus's moons are named after Shakespeare characters
Uranus's gravity is 89% as strong as Earth's gravity In 1977, with the help of thermal imaging, scientists discovered rings orbiting Uranus. There are many layers of rings, and most of the particles in the rings are big and rock-like, instead of space dust. The rings orbit perpendicular to Uranus's axis. Recently, scientists have taken pictures of the auroras of Uranus for the first time. Also, Uranus and Pluto will be aligned on May 20, and the fast winds Uranus is famous for is actually confined to the atmosphere. Current News Major Moons of Uranus The two most well-known moons of Uranus were both discovered by William Herschel, and both are named after characters from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" Titania is in Uranus's magnetosphere, so both objects have a big affect on each other. Since they are so close, Titania may be one of the reasons why Uranus is tilted sideways. Titania is believed to have an atmosphere made up of carbon dioxide. The pressure is about one ten-trillionth of Earth's pressure at sea level. Titania contains equal amounts of ice and rock. However, most of the rock is in the core, and the mantle is icy. It is Uranus's largest moon. Oberon is heavily cratered, and has an internal composition similar to Titania. However, it has more nitrogen and carbon than Titania. It is the farthest notable moon from the planet. Oberon does not have an atmosphere or a magnetic field. The same side always faces Uranus, similar to the Moon facing Earth. Since Titania and Oberon have a similar structure, albedo, density, and eccentricity (how circular the orbit is), they have often been called twins. In "A Midsummer Night's Dream", Titania and Oberon were married. Neptune Neptune has a diameter of 30,600 miles. It weighs 17.5 times as much as Earth, and takes up 60 times as much space as Earth. It was discovered by Urbain Le Verrier. Neptune's core is composed of iron, nickel, and silicates, and is about 9200°F. It is under twice as much pressure as Earth's core, and doesn't make up much of the planet. Like Uranus, the mantle is mainly ice, but has an ocean of water and ammonia, and is highly conductive. The mantle makes up most of Neptune's volume. The atmosphere of Neptune is 80% hydrogen and 19% helium. Like all other gas giants, Neptune's atmosphere has bands, although they are less observable than other planets. It is abnormally hot, and scientists are wondering why this is, as it is too far away from the Sun the Sun's heat to cause this. In conclusion, the internal structure and atmosphere of Neptune is very similar to that of Uranus. One of Neptune's noteworthy facts is that the wind travels at supersonic speeds. Not these Sonics!!! Not this Sonic either!!! Many less abundant substances, such as methane, ethane, and ethyne are more common in polar regions. This is because the winds blow them away from the equator, and they settle in the less breezy poles. One of Neptune's most known features is the Great Dark Spot, which is a huge storm similar to Jupiter's Great Red Spot. It contains the fastest winds in the solar system, at 1500 miles per hour, and is believed to be a hole in the methane deck. It is the size of Earth. Jupiter's gravity is largely responsible for shaping the asteroid belt, since it is the largest and closest object to the belt. Neptune rotates every 18 hours, but its magnetic field rotates every 16 hours. The poles rotate even faster, at 12 hours per rotation. This is because Neptune is not a solid, definite planet. Neptune revolves every 165 Earth-years, and is 30 AU from the Sun. It has a 28° tilt, similar to that of Earth and Mars, so it experiences similar seasons. Like all gas giants, Neptune has rings. They were discovered by Patrice Bouchet in 1984. Unlike Uranus, they consist of small particles. They are made of silicate and carbon, and are very unstable. Neptune is the coldest planet in our solar system
Galileo originally thought Neptune was a star
Like Uranus, Neptune has only been explored once
Neptune is blue because its methane absorbs red light and reflects blue light.
Neptune cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Neptune's gravity is very similar to Earth's. Fun Facts Scientists have discovered that Neptune's south pole is much hotter than the rest of the planet, as this region has been in sunlight for forty years. Also, scientists have discovered that its weather only goes down to a certain depth. Current News Triton Neptune has 13 confirmed moons, and 6 unconfirmed moons. However, Triton is the only one shaped like a sphere, and it contains 99.9% of all of the mass orbiting Neptune. Triton is the seventh largest moon in our solar system. Triton has a retrograde orbit, indicating it was probably a dwarf planet captured from the Kuiper Belt. Triton is one of the only moons that is geologically active. Triton is primarily composed of frozen nitrogen and ice water. Triton will be stretched apart in 3.6 billion years, when Neptune's gravity will break it into smaller particles. Triton was discovered just 17 days after Neptune. Pluto Pluto is the second largest object in the Kuiper Belt, with a 1500 mile diameter. It is 1/6 as massive as Earth, and takes up 1/3 as much space as Earth. Its albedo is 2 times as high as Earth's. Pluto's atmosphere is a thin layer of nitrogen, methane, and carbon monoxide. Due to the layer of methane, a greenhouse gas, the upper layers of the atmosphere are warmer than the surface. Pluto's core is made mainly of rock. It makes up 70% of Pluto's volume. Above it is ice. The ice is mainly water, but traces of methane and nitrogen have been detected in this layer. The surface of Pluto is 98% frozen nitrogen. However, there are small quantities of methane and carbon monoxide on the surface. Pluto completes a rotation every 6.39 Earth days. Like Uranus, it rotates on its side, as its axis is at a 120° angle. Pluto orbits the Sun every 248 years. It is very eccentric, and is closer to the Sun than Neptune for forty years. It revolves at a 17° angle around the Sun, which is the largest tilt in the solar system. Pluto is the only dwarf planet with an atmosphere
The Sun looks just like another star from Pluto, since they are so far away
Many people believe that Pluto was a moon of Neptune, but escaped its orbit
Because it is now a dwarf planet, Pluto's technical name is 134340
Pluto has never been visited by a space probe Fun Facts Charon Pluto has three moons, but Charon is the most known and biggest, because it has more than 1/2 of the mass of Pluto. This makes it the largest moon when compared to its parent planet. Unlike Pluto, Charon's composition is a 50-50 split between rock and ice. No one knows what the interior of Charon is like. Some people believe it has a core, mantle, and crust, and some believe that the interior is uniform, with no layers. Charon is gravitationally locked with Pluto, and scientists are beginning to question which object orbits around the other. Eris Eris, Pluto, Ceres, Haumea, and Makemake are the five known dwarf planets in our solar system. Of those, Eris is the largest. Eris is the farthest known object from the sun in our solar system, at approximately 100 AU. It orbits the Sun every 557 Earth years. Eris has one known moon, Dysnomia. Eris is so far from the Sun that its atmosphere is frozen. Kuiper Belt The Kuiper Belt is considered the edge of our solar system, and takes up space 30-55 AU from the Sun. It is similar to the asteroid belt, except it is twenty times as wide and 200 times as massive. Most objects in the Kuiper Belt are composed of rocky material and ices. The ices are made of ammonia, methane, and water. Some of the solar system's moons, most notably Triton and Phoebe, are thought to have formed in the Kuiper Belt. Some of the solar system's moons, notably Triton and Phoebe, are believed to have formed in the Kuiper Belt. In 1943, Kenneth Edgeworth hypothesized that the dust at the edge of our solar nebula was too widely spaced to form planets, so it condensed into a lot of small, rocky bodies instead. From this reasoning, he concluded that "the outer region of the solar system, beyond the orbits of the planets, is occupied by a very large number of comparatively small bodies". He also concluded one of these objects occasionally escapes from the Kuiper Belt and becomes a comet. In 1951, Gerald Kuiper speculated that a disc described in Edgeworth's theory existed when the solar system was younger, but did not exist anymore. Kuiper reasoned this because Pluto was thought to be the size of Earth at the time. The Oort Cloud is a spherical cloud that is nearly one light-year away from the Sun. Scientists believe that the Oort Cloud formed because the gravity of other stars was competing with the Sun's gravity, preventing objects in this area from condensing into a planet. The Oort Cloud's existence has not yet been confirmed, but most astronomers are certain that it exists. Halley's Comet, much like most other comets in our solar system, are believed to have formed in the Oort Cloud. Like the Kuiper Belt, most objects in the Oort Cloud are believed to be composed of water, methane and ammonia in ice form. The End