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Nebular Planets Basics- Information and Theory on Our Solar System.
Here is more information about our solar system:
- Origins of the Solar System- The Solar Nebula Theory
The theory of how our Solar System originated, with information on seldom-discussed objects like the Asteroid Belt, the Kuiper Belt, and the Oort Cloud.
Mercury is the closest planet to our sun, named after the Roman god of trade. Think "MER"-chandise.
- This planet is small, dense, hot, and has many craters so that it looks like our moon.
- Mercury has no atmosphere and no moons.
- Its surface temperature ranges from 150°Cto 450°C (302°F to 842°F).
Venus has always been considered a beautiful planet, which is why it was named after the Roman goddess of beauty.
- Almost the same size and density of Earth, Venus is the third brightest object in sky and can be seen alternately in the mornings and evenings, which is why Venus is often called the "Morning Star" or "Evening Star".
- A runaway greenhouse effect makes it the hottest planet. There are high concentrations of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and sulfur, which make sulfuric acid. If you remember using this stuff in chemistry class, you know that it is highly corrosive.
- Atmospheric pressure is over 90 times that of Earth, so it can certainly crush a human.
- It is very difficult to land spacecraft on Venus, but the surface has been mapped out using radar by spacecraft in orbit.
- There is a lot of volcanic activity on Venus, and a high amount of lightening in the atmosphere.
The Maya thought Venus was more important than the Sun.
- The Maya Civilization- Astronomy, Venus, and the Dresden Codex
A brief introduction to Maya astronomy, detailing the Dresden Codex, and the Importance of the planet Venus.
This planet was named after the Roman god of war.
- It has a red surface due to rust (iron oxide) and a very thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide.
- Mars has WATER! Its polar caps are frozen water and carbon dioxide. There is also evidence that Mars had liquid water at one time, seen in the effects of erosion over its surface.
- If you're standing on Mars, the sky also looks red.
- Mars has 2 very small moons.
This is the largest planet in the solar system, which is why it was named after the king of the Roman gods.
- Jupiter has very thick cloud cover, which scientists believe leads down to a liquid hydrogen core.
- If Jupiter had more mass, it could become a small star.
- This lovely planet has thin, dark rings, several moons, and a famous Red Spot, which is a huge storm system.
This is another large, gaseous planet, which was named for the Roman god of agriculture.
- The atmosphere is made of hydrogen and helium, and it is believed that the planet has a liquid metal core. Most of Saturn's atmosphere is even less dense than water.
- Saturn has famous rings, which are mostly made of dust, rocks, and frozen water, and are actually 10 feet thick.
- The moon's of Saturn actually help to maintain its rings.
How did Saturn get its rings?
The Roche Limit states that if a moon gets too close to a planet, the planet's gravitational pull can actually rip the moon into pieces, which may explain how Saturn's rings were formed!
Uranus is light blue in color, and is a little funky, because it rotates on its side. It has faint rings. It gets its name from the Greek representation of the sky.
Neptune is bluish-greenish, as is named after the Roman god of the sea. It has rings and a white spot.
- The existence of Neptune was actually predicted before the planet was discovered.
- Some professors instructed young English and French students to look for another planet, because they knew that something was interrupting Uranus' orbit.
Yes, you're right, this is no longer a planet, but I have always had a fondness for lonely little Pluto, and I'm having a hard time letting it go.
- It is now technically considered a "dwarf planet".
- It spends 10 years during its orbit closer to the sun than Neptune.
- Not surprisingly, Pluto was named for the Greek god of the underworld (also known as Hades).
What is Titius Bode's Law?
- A mechanical relationship between the distances from the sun to all of the planets.
- Basically, you follow a numerical pattern, assigning a number to Each planet. You add 4, divide by 10, and you get the distance of the planet from the sun in AUs*.
So for example, let's look at Mercury, the closest planet to the sun. Since it is the closest planet, we'll start with the number 0.
0 plus 4 equals 4. 4 divided by 10 equals .4
Mercury is .39 au* from the sun.
For Venus, we'll start with 3.
3 + 4 = 7. 7/10 = .7
Venus is .72 au from the sun.
- For each planet after Venus, you double the starting number of the previous planet.
- The pattern continues all the way up to Pluto.
- The only planet that does not fit into Titius-Bode's law is Neptune.
*AU = Astronomical Unit. Based on the average distance of the Earth from the Sun.
Titius Bode's Law
0 +4 = 4
4 divided by 10 = .4
Mercury's distance: .39 au
Asteroid Belt: 24
Here's another hub about basic astronomy info:
- Astronomy 101. Phases of the Moon, Lunar Eclipse, Solar Eclipse, and More.
Astronomy basics that will help you navigate through the night sky. Learn how solar and lunar eclipses work, what causes the phases of the moon, along with other very basic astronomical knowledge. Included are beautiful photos and diagrams.