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The Solar System. Jessica Damiano. Neptune.

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the solar system

The Solar System

Jessica Damiano

  • The ice giant Neptune was the first planet located through mathematical predictions rather than through observations of the sky. In 1846 when Uranus didn't travel as astronomers expected it to, a French mathematician, Urbain Joseph Le Verrier, proposed the position and mass of another as yet unknown planet that could cause the observed changes to Uranus' orbit.
  • Neptune's atmosphere extends to great depths, gradually blending into water and other ices over a heavier, Earth-size solid core.
  • Neptune's blue color is the result of methane in the atmosphere. Uranus’s blue-green color is also the result of atmospheric methane, but Neptune is a more vivid, brighter blue, so there must be an unknown component that causes the more intense color.
  • Neptune has six known rings. Voyager 2's observations confirmed that these unusual rings are not normal, but have four thick regions called arcs.
  • The rings are thought to be relatively young and short-lived.
  • Neptune has 13 known moons
  • In 2011 Neptune completed it’s first 165 year orbit since it’s discovery.
  • Uranus, discovered in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel, was the first planet found with the aid of a telescope.
  • Uranus rotates retrograde, like Venus.
  • Uranus is one of the ice giants of the outer solar system.
  • The atmosphere is mostly hydrogen and helium with traces of water, methane, and ammonia.
  • Uranus gets its blue-green color from methane gas in the atmosphere. Sunlight passes through the atmosphere and is reflected back out by Uranus' cloud tops.
  • Uranus has two sets of rings. The inner system of nine rings, discovered in 1977, consists of dark rings. Voyager found two other inner rings. An outer system of two more rings was discovered in Hubble Space Telescope images in 2003.
  • Uranus has 27 known moons.
  • Uranus is the coldest planet in the solar system, with storms the size of the United States.
  • Earth’s ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface.
  • We are enveloped by an atmosphere that consists of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% etc.
  • Our planet's rapid rotation and molten nickel-iron core creates a magnetic field.
  • Earth’s crust has huge plates that are constantly moving. The theory of motion of the large plates of the lithosphere is known as plate tectonics. This theory was developed within the last 40 years.
  • In 1960 NASA launched the Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS), the first weather satellite.
  • In 1990 Quick Scatterometer (QuikScat) launched in June to measure ocean surface wind velocity.
  • In 2007 Arctic sea ice reaches the all-time minimum since satellite records began.
  • In 2009 NASA and Japan release the most accurate topographic map of Earth.
  • Earth is the only planet known to sustain life.
  • Earth is the densest planet.
  • Glimpses below the sulfuric clouds reveal volcanoes and deformed mountains.
  • Probes that have landed on Venus survived only a few hours before being destroyed by the extreme temperatures.
  • Venus has two large mountainous areas: Ishtar Terra, about the size of Australia, in the north, and Aphrodite Terra, about the size of South America, between the equator.
  • Maxwell Montes, the tallest mountain on Venus and comparable to Mount Everest on Earth, is at the eastern edge of Ishtar Terra.
  • In 1962, NASA's Mariner 2 reaches Venus and reveals the planet's extreme surface temperatures. It is the first spacecraft to send back information from another planet.
  • In 1970, The Soviet Union's Venera 7 sends back 23 minutes of data from the surface of Venus. It is the first spacecraft to successfully land on another planet.
  • With a core of iron and molten rock, a carbon dioxide atmosphere, and hurricane winds, we will never inhabit Venus.
  • Venus has a retrograde rotation (from east to west, unlike the other planets).
  • The hottest planet
  • Mercury has very little atmosphere to stop impacts thus it is covered in craters.
  • Mercury has a large lobe-shaped cliff called the Caloris Basin as well; egg-shaped orbit
  • Researchers found out that the core is liquid molten and the mantle is 600 km thick.
  • The Mariner 10 was the first spacecraft to visit Mercury; imaging 45% of the Earth’s surface.
  • The outer crust grew strong enough to prevent magma from reaching the surface
  • After it’s formation, Mercury shrank 1 to 2 km in radius.
  • The first people to discover Mercury were the Assyrians, about 3400 years ago.
  • Mercury’s core is 2/3 metallic.
  • Mercury is the second densest planet.
  • The first planet from the sun, Mercury’s day is 59 Earth days and it’s year is 88 Earth days.
  • There is little atmosphere to regulate temperatures, so temperatures are usually anywhere between 800° and -300° Fahrenheit.
  • In 1610, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei was the first to gaze at Saturn through a telescope.
  • Like Jupiter, Saturn’s atmosphere is made up of helium and hydrogen.
  • In the early 1980s, NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft revealed that Saturn's rings are made mostly of water ice.
  • Saturn has 500 mile per second winds, and combined with the heat rising from within the planet's interior (the core is approximately 21,000° Fahrenheit), cause the yellow and gold bands visible in the planet’s atmosphere.
  • In 2004, after a seven-year journey, Cassini becomes the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn.
  • In 2005, the Huygens probe successfully lands on Titan, returning images of the complex surface
  • Saturn has 60 known moons.
  • Saturn has the lowest density of all planets.
  • Most visible clouds on Jupiter are composed of ammonia. Water vapor exists deep below and can sometimes be seen through clear spots in the clouds.
  • The Great Red Spot, a giant spinning storm, has been observed since the 1800s. Recently, three storms merged to form the Little Red Spot, about half the size of the Great Red Spot.
  • Jupiter’s atmosphere is mostly hydrogen and helium, making it a gas giant.
  • In 1610 Galileo Galilei makes the first detailed observations of Jupiter.
  • In 1994 Astronomers observe as pieces of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collide with Jupiter's southern hemisphere. Then on July 20 2009, almost exactly 15 years after fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy slammed into Jupiter, a comet or asteroid crashes into the giant planet's southern hemisphere.
  • Discovered in 1979 by NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft, Jupiter's rings were a surprise: a flat main ring and an inner cloud-like ring, referred to as the halo, are both composed of small, dark particles.
  • Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system, and Ganymede (one of it’s 63 moons) is the biggest moon in our solar system.
  • Solid, rocky, core enveloped by a liquid metallic hydrogen mantle.
  • Jupiter has 10 hour days, making it the fastest rotating planet despite it’s enormous size!
  • The surface of Mars has been altered by volcanoes, impacts, movement in the crust, and atmospheric effects such as dust storms.
  • Mars has the largest volcanic mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons, as well as a spectacular equatorial canyon system, VallesMarineris.
  • Because Mars has no tectonic plates, Olympus Mons is still growing!
  • In 1997 the Mars Pathfinder lands and dispatches Sojourner, the first wheeled rover to explore the surface of another planet.
  • In 2004 the Twin Mars Exploration Rovers named Spirit and Opportunity land on Mars and find the strong evidence that Mars once had liquid water flowing on the surface.
  • In 2008 the Phoenix lands on Mars to study the history of water and search for complex organic molecules. The Phoenix confirms the presence of water ice near the north pole.
  • Mars temperatures are usually between 60° and -230° Fahrenheit.
  • Mars is red because of the high iron contents in the soil.
  • The atmosphere of Mars is mostly made up of CO²
why was pluto demoted as a planet
Why Was Pluto Demoted as A Planet?

According to the International Astronomical Union, which sets definitions for planetary science, a dwarf planet is a celestial body that:

  • Orbits the sun.
  • Has enough mass to assume a nearly round shape.
  • Has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.
  • Is not a moon.

This means "a planet" must be gravitationally dominant in its orbit and this is where Pluto fails. Pluto not only shares its orbit with a number of other Kuiper Belt objects, but it also flies inside the orbit of ice giant Neptune!