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The Universe

tom king

on 28 April 2010

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Transcript of Space

SPACE Mercury Venus Earth The Moon Mars Jupiter
Saturn Uranus neptune The Sun The Sun is one out of billions of stars.
The Sun is the closest star to Earth. The Sun rotates once every 27 days.
The Sun is now a middle-aged star,
meaning it is at about the middle of its life.
The Sun formed over four and a half billion years ago. You may think the Sun will die soon, but it will keep shining for at least another five billion years. The Sun’s surface is called the photosphere.
The temperature of the photosphere is about 10,000°
Fahrenheit. Its core is under its atmosphere.
The temperature at the core, or very middle,
of the Sun, is about 27 million° Fahrenheit.
That’s pretty hot! Mercury is a battered and baked planet just larger than Earth's moon. Evidence of heavy bombardment from the chaos of the formation of the solar system is left in the hundreds of craters and resulting lava flows on this small, barren planet. The largest crater is Beethoven at 643 km in diameter and is the largest in the solar system. The largest feature, Caloris Basin, is 1300 km in diameter and was probably caused by an impact from an object larger than 100 km in diameter. Some craters have ice in them even though the planet is so hot because the sun never reaches into the shadows due to the planet's tilt and orbit. With no atmosphere, there is a temperature difference of about 600 degrees between the coldest spots and hottest spots on the planet.

The brightest of all planets, Venus, is also known as the Morning Star and the Evening Star. This planet is about the same size as Earth but is covered with impenetrable clouds of carbon dioxide and sulfur compounds. Radar mapping of the planet shows lots of craters and that 90% of the landforms are volcanic. Venus spins slowly retrograde (backwards west to east) in 243 days and takes about 225 days to orbit the sun. This makes the daytime about 115 days which can raise surface temperatures up to 464° C.

Age: 4.6 billion years old.
Position: 3rd planet from the sun.
Size: 5th largest planet in our solar system.
Surface Area: 197 million square miles, about 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered with water..
Diameter: The Earth has an average diameter of 12,742 kilometers. (7,926 miles)
Average Temperature: The temperature at the Earth's core is estimated to be between 5000 and 7000 degrees Celsius.
Length of Year: 365.25 days
Inclination of Axis: The Earth's axis has a tilt of about 23 ½ degrees. It is this tilt which causes the seasons.
Chemical Composition: The Earth is made mostly of iron, oxygen, silicon, magnesium, nickel and sulfur: 34.6% Iron, 29.5% Oxygen, 15.2% Silicon, 12.7% Magnesium, 2.4% Nickel, 1.9% Sulfur, 0.05% Titanium
Mars has the largest canyon in the solar system. It would reach from Los Angeles to Chicago if it was on Earth!

Mars has a very thin atmosphere, mostly carbon dioxide, but dust storms can cover the whole planet for months at a time. About every two years the Earth and Mars come close together. The planet has two moons, Diemos and Phobos.

Jupiter takes about 12 years to orbit the sun and rotates in about 10 hours. This short Jupiter "day" is amazing since the planet is roughly 11 Earth diameters wide.

Unlike the rocky planets, Jupiter is a ball of dense hydrogen, helium, water, nitrogen and other gases over a tiny rocky core. Powerful winds dominate the atmosphere with criss-crossing jet streams, lightning and huge hurricane-like storms like the Great Red Spot. This storm has been raging for over 300 years and is about 2 Earth diameters wide. The Great Red Spot can be seen on Jupiter along with four moons: Io (smallest), Europa, Callisto and Ganymede in this NASA image.
Saturn and some of its moons can be seen in the composite image at left. Four more moons were found in late 2000 and 9 more were discovered recently for a total of 31. Scientists are tracking more objects that may be additional moons.

The Voyager missions found winds, magnetic field, auroras and lightning on the planet similar to Jupiter. Also, the planet has light colored cloud bands (zones) and darker bands (belts) like the larger gas giant.

The icy planet Uranus is a smaller version of Jupiter and not the small rocky bodies like Earth. It have faint rings and a number of moons. Uranus takes some 84 years to orbit the sun. It rotates on its side and so half the time one pole is toward the sun and then the other making each of the four seasons last about 20 years. The faint bluish color of the planet is because the methane gas in the atmosphere absorbs red light and reflects blue light. Blue Neptune is one of the solar system's gas giants. Unlike Earth, gas giants are mostly hydrogen, helium, and methane gases. The methane gas on Neptune gives the planet its blue color because the gas absorbs red light and reflects the blue back into space. Although not seen in the image the planet has a set of very faint rings.

The Great Dark Spot, the dark oval on the planet, was a storm like the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. The storm has disappeared since this image was taken by Voyager 2 according to Hubble Space Telescope data but another spot was found in a different place. The atmosphere shows lots of activity including the white clouds of methane ice crystals seen in the image at left.

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