Solar SystemSolar System
““The uncharted frontier”The uncharted frontier”
Composed by: Andy LamancusaComposed by: Andy Lamancusa
Illustrated by: Amber SchaeferIllustrated by: Amber Schaefer
The Solar SystemThe Solar System
The solar system consists of nine planets, all of which revolve around
Lets Explore!Lets Explore!
Click on the yellow boxes above the planets to learn more! Take the quiz!Take the quiz!
This king of our Solar System rules because compared to everything else, it is so
large. It contains about 98% of all the mass, or rocks, dust, and gas in the Solar
System. If the Sun were hollow a million Earths could fit inside.
The Sun's surface is a warm 6,000 degrees Celsius. This is the same temperature
as the Earth's core.
In astronomy mythology, Mercury was the Roman version of
the god Hermes. He was the messenger for the other gods,
and for this reason Mercury is often depicted in pictures with
Mercury is a world of extremes. Because it is so close to the Sun a visitor could
easily cook to death. However because Mercury spins so slowly it gets very cold
in the night time, which means a visitor could also freeze to death.
As Mercury's massive iron core cooled, it contracted, or shrunk. As the core
shrunk, the surface became wrinkled, in a similar manner to the way the surface of
a balloon becomes wrinkled as air is released from it.
In astronomy mythology, Venus was the Roman goddess
of love and beauty. In Greek her name was Aphrodite.
Venus is a hostile planet. Its thick cloud cover makes it impossible to see the
surface, and also traps much of the Sun's heat. This extra heat gives Venus the
hottest average temperature of any of the planets.
In many ways Venus is similar to the Earth. It has active volcanoes,
venusquakes, mountains and valleys. The major difference is that Venus's
atmosphere makes the planet far too hot for life.
In astronomy mythology, Her Greek name was Gaea. Earth
was the mother of the mountains, valleys, streams and all
other land formations. She was married to Uranus.
Our planet is an oasis of life in an otherwise desolate universe. The Earth's
temperature, weather, atmosphere and many other factors are just right to keep us
Scientists use the Earth to study all the other planets. Since no human has ever
visited another planet, we have to use what we know about the Earth, and try to
guess what the other planets must be like. This is called Comparative Planetology.
In astronomy mythology, Mars was the Roman god of war
and agriculture. It may not seem like these two things go
together, but they do. Mars protected those who fought for
their communities, and stayed home to raise crops for food.
Mars excites scientists because its mild temperament is more like the Earth's than
any of the other planets. Evidence suggests that Mars once had rivers, streams,
lakes, and even an ocean. Today the only water on Mars is either frozen in the
polar caps, or underground.
Mars has higher mountains, and deeper canyons than any other planet. The largest
canyon on Mars would stretch from New York City to Los Angeles on the Earth.
That makes the Grand Canyon look tiny.
In astronomy mythology, Jupiter known as Zeus in Greece over
threw his father Saturn to become king of the gods. He then
split the Universe with his brothers Neptune and Pluto.
Jupiter's great red spot visible in the picture to the right is where a giant storm has
been raging for at least 300 years. This storm's super hurricane winds blow
across an area larger than the Earth.
You can see four of Jupiter's moons With a pair of binoculars at night. Also Jupiter
spins really fast. It only takes 10 hours to go from night to day on Jupiter.
Jupiter has at least 63 moons.
In astronomy mythology, Saturn was the god of agriculture, he was called Cronus by
the Greeks. He is the son of Uranus, and father of Jupiter. Saturn over threw his
father to become king of the gods, but was then over thrown himself by his son
Saturn is a favorite object for many observers. Its beautiful rings are 169,800 miles
wide, but less thick than a football field. In many ways Saturn is similar to Jupiter,
but it is much smaller. Under the clouds of methane and helium the sky gradually
turns into liquid until it becomes a giant ocean of liquid chemicals.
Saturn has several hundred rings. However it is not the only planet with rings.
Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune also have rings.
In astronomy mythology, Uranus was the lord of the skies and
husband of Earth. He was also the king of the gods until his son
Saturn overthrew him.
Uranus is very odd. Unlike all the other planets and most of the moons in our Solar
System Uranus spins on its side. It is believed that long ago a very large object
smashed into this planet. The crash was so powerful that it completely changed the
direction of Uranus' spin.
Scientists think Uranus has a huge water ocean underneath its clouds.
In astronomy mythology, Neptune was originally only the god
of water, but was later extended to the ocean when he
became associated with the Greek god Poseidon.
Neptune has a giant storm much like the storm on Jupiter. This storm is often called
The Great Dark Spot. We do not know how long this storm has been active, because
it is so far away that we could not get a good view of Neptune until modern times
when we began to send robot explorers.
Scientists think there is a very large water ocean under Neptune's clouds.
Pluto is not a planet. However, it does have a moon that
orbits it. In truth, these two small worlds actually orbit each
Pluto has only one moon, called Charon
Until 1978 it was believed that Pluto was much larger. Through a telescope on
Earth Charon and Pluto look like they are the same object. However in 1978 Jim
Christy discovered that what we used to think was one object, were really two.
Charon and Pluto keep the same face towards each other at all times.
Among the most brilliant, and most rare objects in the night sky. These soaring
beacons with their beautiful tails come from the outer realms of the Solar System.
While most asteroids can be found in the Asteroid Belt, others are in strange
orbits straying far from home. It is currently believed that at least 5000 asteroids
cross the Earth's orbit, some coming very close. Don't worry though, asteroids
and comets only hit the Earth every 100 million years or so.
A comet is a small world which scientists sometimes call a planetesimal. They are
made out of dust, and ice. Kind of like a dirty snow ball.
26 very large asteroids have been discovered, which is probably most of the big
ones. But there are still millions of smaller ones that we have yet to see because
they are too tiny, only a mile or so across.
Quiz Time!Quiz Time!
In astrology mythology which planets name stands for the Greek good of war and
Question #2Question #2
Which planet is the closest to the sun? Here is a hint its really hot there.
Question #3Question #3
Which planet is known for having several hundred rings surrounding it?
The end!The end!
Work cited:Work cited:
IONCMASTE. 06 Apr. 2009 <http://www.ioncmaste.ca/homepage/resources/
"Solar System - Interactive Solar System - By KidsAstronomy.com."
Astronomy For Kids - KidsAstronomy.com. 1998-2009. 06 Apr. 2009
Zunal.Com. 06 Apr. 2009
A Space BunnyA Space Bunny
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