The Solar System

In our solar system, have nine planets circle around our Sun. The Sun sits in the middle while the planets travel in circular paths aroud it, that called Orbits. In addition to planets, the solar system also consists of moons, comets, asteroids, minor planets, and dust and gas. The nine planets in our solar syatem are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The astronomers have demoted Pluto, Pluto is no longer officially a planet. Now they are calling it a "dwarf planet", so there are now only eight planets in our solar system. The solar system is made up for two part:The inner solar system and The outer soalr system. The inner solar system contains Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. These four planets is closest to the Sun. The outer solar system contains Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. The inner planet is separated from the outer planets by Asteroid Belt.


The Solar System

The Sun's surface, called the photosphere, is at a temperature of about 5800 K. There are some regions that are much "cooler." These cool regions are called "sunspots." It measures more than a million kilometers across. The Sun's center is about 15 million degrees Celsius. The Sun is about 75% hydrogen and 25% helium. This changes slowly over time as the Sun converts hydrogen to helium in its core (center).
The Moon is a cold, dry orb whose surface is studded with craters and strewn with rocks and dust (called regolith). The moon has no atmosphere. Recent lunar missions indicate that there might be some frozen ice at the poles. The moon is about 238,900 miles (384,000 km) from Earth on average. The temperature on the Moon ranges from daytime highs of about 130°C = 265°F to night time lows of about -110°C = -170°F.
Mercury is only visible at twilight (in the west) and sunrise (in the east) because its orbit is so close to the sun. Just how close is that, though? From Mercury, the sun is "only" 36 million miles away. Mercury's temperatures change radically during the day: 800° to -200°F between day and night. Although small, Mercury is the densest planet after Earth.
Venus, the second-closest planet to the sun, has the highest planetary temperature: 900°F/475°C. It also has the longest rotational period of any of the planets, the equivalent of 243 Earth days. You would need more than an umbrella if you got caught in a storm on Venus: it rains sulfuric acid there! Venus is the third brightest object in the sky, followed by Jupiter.
Earth is the third planet from the Sun in our Solar System. It is the planet we evolved on and the only planet in our Solar System that is known to support life. The Earth is about 7,926 miles (12,756 km) in diameter. The temperature on Earth ranges from between -127°F to 136°F (-88°C to 58°C; 185 K to 311 K). The Earth's atmosphere is a thin layer of gases that surrounds the Earth. It is composed of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, 0.03% carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases.
Mars has a day length just slightly longer than Earth's, but its average surface temperature is a chilly -80°F. Do this experiment to demonstrate one of theories about why Mars has such a red surface. Put a layer of sand in the bottom of a ceramic baking dish. Cut some steel wool into 2 cm (1 inch) pieces and mix them with the sand, then cover the mixture with water. (You could also sprinkle iron filings on top of the sand instead of using steel wool.) You might need to add more water each day as some evaporates. Every day, check on the experiment and record how the surface is changing. How long did it take before the sand turned red like the surface of Mars? Scientists believe Mars' color occurs because of iron oxide (rust) in the soil.
Jupiter, named after the king of the Roman gods, has a diameter more than 11 times the size of Earth's. One day on Jupiter is only 10 hours, though, since the planet rotates very quickly. One of Jupiter's moons, Io, has the most violent volcanic eruptions known in our solar system. You can actually see Io and three of Jupiter's other moons (Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) with just binoculars. Galileo was the first to see these moons, using a telescope in the 1600s.
Saturn is one of the "gas planets," along with Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. Like Jupiter, Saturn probably has a rocky core and outer envelope composed of liquid metallic hydrogen. However, Saturn is notable as the planet with the lowest density: it's less dense than water. Although all of the gas planets have rings around them, Saturn's are the brightest and most famous. In the mid-1800s, Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell correctly hypothesized that Saturn's rings must be made up of solid particles (such as ice) or else the rings could not maintain their stability.
Uranus and Neptune are mostly rock and ice, with around 15% hydrogen. Uranus's satellites (moons or huge rocks orbiting it) are named after characters from Shakespeare's plays and from an Alexander Pope poem. Neptune has a really, really long sidereal period, or year: 165 Earth years would equal just one year on Neptune! Since Neptune wasn't discovered until 1846, the planet has yet to make a full orbit around the sun while we've been aware of it.
Pluto was classified as one of the "nine planets" for most of the 21st century, until a ruling by the International Astronomical Union in 2006 declared it a dwarf planet instead. Debate continues even among scientists whether this is an accurate definition, since it orbits a star (our sun) but is not a star or a moon itself, just like the other planets. However, Pluto has a somewhat wacky orbit and sometimes nips in closer to the sun and leaves Neptune behind as the farthest planet. It is also surrounded by objects in the Kuiper Belt, which it orbits through. The other planets have cleared the area they orbit through. Pluto has colder temperatures than the eight bigger planets: -400°F/-250°C. In fact, it's so cold there that it "snows" methane gas crystals.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

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