Mercury Data http://www.vegaattractions.com/images/1mercury.gif Surface Gravity if Earth = 1 0.38 Planet Symbol Mass if Earth = 1 0.055 Length of Day 58.65 Earth days Diameter if Earth = 1 0.38 Length of Year (revolution around the sun) 87.97 Earth days Diameter at the Equator 3,031 miles Moons None Mean Distance from the sun 36,000,000 miles 0.4 AU
Mercury is only Slightly Larger than the Moon MERCURY OUR MOON
As an inferior planet (between sun and earth), Mercury displays phases that resemble the phases of earth’s moon.
You need a telescope to observe the phases of Mercury.
Galileo first observed the phases of Mercury and Venus. This observation represented proof of the heliocentric (sun-centered), or Copernican solar system
Phases of Inferior Planets http://www.polaris.iastate.edu/EveningStar/Unit1/Graphics/PicES1_6c.gif http://astromm.calstatela.edu/images/planets/larousse/Me_Phases.jpg Telescope sketches of Mercury Orbit of an inferior planet
Impact craters on Mercury have similar features to those on the Moon. CRATERS ON BOTH MERCURY AND THE MOON HAVE RINGS OF MOUNTAINS SURROUNDING THEM MERCURY OUR MOON Jumbled hills surrounding the Caloris Impact Basin
Mercury also has numerous long cliffs, called scarps, believed to have formed when the planet cooled
LeVerrier, who along with Adams predicted the existence of Neptune, proposed that the mysterious precession of Mercury’s revolution was caused by the gravity of an undiscovered planet that lay between Mercury and the sun.
This hypothetical planet was named Vulcan.
Some astronomers in the 1800’s claimed to have observed this planet using telescopes, but these observations have never been confirmed, and it is unlikely that anything like Vulcan exists.
Clay tablets written by the Sumerians show that these people kept very accurate records of the appearances of Mercury in the night sky. The Sumerians flourished around 5000 years ago in modern day Iraq
Wednesday, or Woden’s Day, is named for the planet Mercury
According to legend, Copernicus never was able to see Mercury. It’s not difficult, you just need to know when and where to look
Venus Data http://www.vegaattractions.com/images/1venus.gif Surface Gravity if Earth = 1 0.91 Planet Symbol Mass if Earth = 1 0.815 Length of Day 243.01 Earth days Diameter if Earth = 1 0.95 Length of Year (revolution around the sun) 224.70 Earth days Diameter at the Equator 7,521 miles Moons 0 Mean Distance from the sun 67,200,000 miles 0.72 AU
The Clouds of Venus Venus is covered with a dense layer of clouds that hides its surface. Unlike the benign water vapor clouds on Earth, these clouds contain large amounts of sulfur dust and sulfur compounds, giving them a yellow-orange color. The clouds on Venus are made of concentrated sulfuric acid.
Spacecraft : The first spacecraft to visit Venus was Mariner 2 in 1962
Venus was visited next by many others (more than 20 so far), including Pioneer Venus and Soviet Venera 7, the first spacecraft to land on another planet, and Venera 9, which returned the first photographs of the surface
The orbiting US spacecraft Magellan has produced detailed maps of Venus’s surface using radar. Magellan entered Venus’s orbit in 1990
Venus’s Surface, courtesy of Venera Edge of Venera Lander
This image of the Venusian surface from the Soviet spacecraft Venera 13 shows rock plates which are possibly fractured lava. Unfortunately, this craft was destroyed by the intense pressure and extreme temperatures on the Venusian surface.
The Magellan spacecraft, in an orbit around Venus, was able to “see through” the thick clouds using radar, giving us the best view of our sister planet.
This false color map of Venus, equivalent to a topographical map of Earth, shows the large-scale surface features of the planet.
A global view of Venus using radar images from the Magellan spacecraft The craters found on Venus tend to be in clusters. This suggests that they were formed from a large single piece of falling debris that was broken up by the Venusian atmosphere.
As an inferior planet, Venus can transit or cross in front of the sun
Transits occur twice in 8 years, separated by over 120 years
Transits of Venus are one of the rarest events in astronomy
The last transit of Venus occurred June 8, 2004, the next will be in 2012
The previous transit had been in 1882
June 2004 Transit of Venus http://www.astrosurf.org/lombry/Documents/transit-venus-8juin2004-3d-contact-anim-furlanetto.gif http://www.atmob.org/Photo/venus_2004/venus%20transit%208.JPG Click on Link:
Transits of Venus 8 June 9, 2255 122 June 11, 2247 8 December 8, 2125 105 December 11, 2117 8 June 6, 2012 June 8, 2004 Separation in Years Transit Dates
Milton : The movement of Venus in the sky was used by Milton as a metaphor of the fallen angel Lucifer and forms the central theme of his epic poem Paradise Lost.
Paradise Lost is a long poem that was first published in 1674, the poem deals directly with ideas from the Bible.
Paradise Lost http://www.clt.astate.edu/wnarey/Honors%20Seminars_files/Horror/summar3.jpg http://users.ox.ac.uk/~lina0897/emwo/images/big/PARADISE_LOST.jpg
Mars Data http://www.vegaattractions.com/astrology/symbols.html Surface Gravity if Earth = 1 0.38 Planet Symbol (draw) Mass if Earth = 1 0.107 Length of Day 24 hr. 37 min. 22.6 sec. Diameter if Earth = 1 0.53 Length of Year (revolution around the sun) 686.98 Earth days Diameter at the Equator 4,217 miles Moons 2 Mean Distance from the sun 141,500,000 miles AU
One earthlike feature of Mars are the ice caps which grow and shrink with the seasons on Mars
The ice caps are composed mainly of frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) and water ice
Mars is tilted on its axis by 25.19 (nearly the same as Earth) and has seasons. Martian Seasons Large ice cap made mostly of frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) The dry ice melts, leaving a much smaller polar cap
High winds create dust devils on the Martian surface. A DUST DEVIL FROM ABOVE DARK STREAKS SHOW THE PATH OF DUST DEVILS
Liquid Water : There is much evidence of past running water on Mars’ surface including large floods and small river systems.
Some large lakes or oceans may also have existed.
Ice Caps : Mars has permanent ice caps at its north and south poles.
This ice is mainly composed of frozen carbon dioxide (dry ice) with a small amount of frozen water ice.
The winding canyons found on the Martian surface are similar to those found in river beds on Earth, suggesting that liquid water once flowed on Mars. Martian winding canyon, photographed by the Viking orbiter The Yangtze River in China has similar features
Surface features believed to be ancient waterways An ancient lake A dried riverbed Sedimentation
Layers of rock laid down by water Hemetite black rocks, usually formed in water Gullies in crater walls
Nirgal Vallis, possible river valley http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast05jan_1.htm
Sedimentary Layers from Water http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/images/mars_water/sediments.jpg
Mars has been the Center of Speculation about Extraterrestrial Life Early telescope images showed features which were perceived as irrigation canals. People feared an attack from Mars, like this one portrayed in “The War of the Worlds.”
Martian Nomenclature : The main features on Mars were named by the astronomer Schiaparelli
He selected geographical and imaginary names from Greek and Roman literature such as Solis Lacus (Lake of the Sun), Aurorae Sinus (Bay of Dawn), Margaritifer Sinus (coast of India), Syrtis Major (Gulf of Sidra), Mare Tyrrhenum (Tyrrhenian Sea)
The names of dark areas were those of bodies of water, and those of bright areas, of lands
“ Face on Mars ”: Images from the Viking Orbiter 1 show what appears to be a large, human face located in the Cydonia region of Mars.
Some writers have claimed that this shape was artificially sculpted, Richard Hoagland, for example, created elaborate systems of alignments linking the Face to the Egyptian Pyramids and Sphinx on earth
Images returned from the Mars Global Surveyor reveal that the “face” is little more than a pile of rocks.
Viking’s Face on Mars (1976) http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/images%5Cface_mars.jpg
Mars Global Surveyor Face (2001) http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs/msss/camera/images/moc_5_24_01/face/ “ Face” the truth, Mr. Hoagland http://www.sg.hu/kep/2004_03/0322mars1.jpg
“ Yet across the gulfs of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. ”
“ The Men of Earth came to Mars. They came because they were afraid or unafraid, because they were happy or unhappy, because they felt like Pilgrims or did not feel like Pilgrims. There was a reason for each man .”
“ Smith is not a man. He is an intelligent creature with the genes and ancestry of a man, but he is not a man. He's more a Martian than a man. Until we came along he had never laid eyes on a human being. He thinks like a Martian, he feels like a Martian. He's been brought up by a race which has nothing in common with us. “
“ This had been a very short word. Smith still felt that he had grokked rightly the human word "God"... “