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THE SOLAR SYSTEM Name Planets Orbital Period Rotatinal Period Mass1 (Earth=1) Volume2 (Earth=1) Radius (km)

Distance From The Sun (X 106 km) 57.9 108.9 149.6

Mercury Venus Earth

87.97 days 224.7 days 365.26 days 687 days 11.86 years

59 days -243days 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds 24 hours 27 minutes 23 seconds 9 hours 50 minutes 30 seconds 10 hours 14 minutes 11 hours

0.055 1.815 1

0.05 0.86 1

2430 6052 6378








1 318

71 492


29.46 95.2 744 60 268 years Uranus 84.01 14.6 67 25 559 years Neptune 164.8 16 hours 17.2 57 25 269 years 17 minutes Pluto 90 465 6 days 0.0025 0.01 1 195 days 9 hours 1 Earth mass = 1, in fact 6 X 10 24 kg 2 Earth Volume = 1, in fact 1 097 509 500 000 000 000 000 m3.


1 427 2869.6 4496.6 5869

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and the eighth largest. Mercury is slightly smaller in diameter than the moons Ganymede and Titan but more than twice as massive. In Roman mythology Mercury is the god of commerce, travel and thievery, the Roman counterpart of the Greek god Hermes, the messenger of the Gods. The planet probably received this name because it moves so quickly across the sky. Mercury's orbit is highly eccentric; at perihelion it is only 46 million km from the Sun but at aphelion it is 70 million. Until 1962 it was thought that Mercury's "day" was the same length as its "year" so as to keep that same face to the Sun much as the Moon does to the Earth. But this was shown to be false in 1965 by doppler radar observations. It is now known that Mercury rotates three times in two of its years. Temperature variations on Mercury are the most extreme in the solar system ranging from 90 K to 700 K. The temperature on Venus is slightly hotter but very stable. Mercury is in many ways similar to the Moon: its surface is heavily cratered and very old; it has no plate tectonics. On the other hand, Mercury is much denser than the Moon (5.43 gm/cm3 vs 3.34). Mercury is the second densest major body in the solar system, after Earth. Actually Earth's density is due in part to gravitational compression; if not for this, Mercury would be denser than

Earth. This indicates that Mercury's dense iron core is relatively larger than Earth's, probably comprising the majority of the planet. Mercury therefore has only a relatively thin silicate mantle and crust. Mercury's interior is dominated by a large iron core whose radius is 1800 to 1900 km. The silicate outer shell (analogous to Earth's mantle and crust) is only 500 to 600 km thick. At least some of the core is probably molten. Mercury actually has a very thin atmosphere consisting of atoms blasted off its surface by the solar wind. Because Mercury is so hot, these atoms quickly escape into space. Thus in contrast to the Earth and Venus whose atmospheres are stable, Mercury's atmosphere is constantly being replenished. The surface of Mercury exhibits enormous escarpments, some up to hundreds of kilometers in length and as much as three kilometers high. Some cut thru the rings of craters and other features in such a way as to indicate that they were formed by compression. It is estimated that the surface area of Mercury shrank by about 0.1% (or a decrease of about 1 km in the planet's radius). One of the largest features on Mercury's surface is the Caloris Basin (right); it is about 1300 km in diameter. It is thought to be similar to the large basins (maria) on the Moon. Like the lunar basins, it was probably caused by a very large impact early in the history of the solar system. That impact was probably also responsible for the odd terrain on the exact opposite side of the planet (left). In addition to the heavily cratered terrain, Mercury also has regions of relatively smooth plains. Some may be the result of ancient volcanic activity but some may be the result of the deposition of ejecta from createring impacts. Mercury has a small magnetic field whose strength is about 1% of Earth's. Mercury has no known satellites. Mercury is often visible with binoculars or even the unaided eye, but it is always very near the sun and difficult to see in the twilight sky.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun and the sixth largest. Venus' orbit is the most nearly circular of that of any planet, with an eccentricity of less than 1%. In Roman mythology, Venus (the Greek Aphrodite) is the goddess of love and beauty. The planet is so named probably because it is the brightest of the planets known to the ancients. (With a few exceptions, the surface features on Venus are named for female figures.) Venus has been known since prehistoric times. It is the brightest object in the sky except for the Sun and the Moon. Like Mercury, it was popularly thought to be two separate bodies: Eosphorus as the morning star and Hesperus as the evening star, but the Greek astronomers knew better. (Venus's apparition as the morning star is also sometimes called Lucifer.) Since Venus is an inferior planet, it shows phases when viewed with a telescope from the perspective of Earth. Galileo's observation of this phenomenon was important evidence in favor of Copernicus's heliocentric theory of the solar system. The first spacecraft to visit Venus was Mariner 2 in 1962. It was subsequently visited by many others (more than 20 in all so far), including Pioneer Venus and the Soviet Venera

7 the first spacecraft to land on another planet, and Venera 9 which returned the first photographs of the surface. The first orbiter, the US spacecraft Magellan produced detailed maps of Venus' surface using radar Venus' rotation is somewhat unusual in that it is both very slow (243 Earth days per Venus day, slightly longer than Venus' year) and retrograde (rotation or orbital motion in a clockwise direction when viewed from above the north pole of the primary, i.e., in the opposite sense of most satellites). Venus is sometimes regarded as Earth's sister planet. In some ways they are very similar: y Venus is only slightly smaller than Earth (95% of Earth's diameter, 80% of Earth's mass). y Both have few craters indicating relatively young surfaces. y Their densities and chemical compositions are similar. Because of these similarities, it was thought that below its dense clouds Venus might be very Earthlike and might even have life. But, unfortunately, more detailed study of Venus reveals that in many important ways it is radically different from Earth. The pressure of Venus' atmosphere at the surface is 90 atmospheres (about the same as the pressure at a depth of 1 km in Earth's oceans). It is composed mostly of carbon dioxide. There are several layers of clouds many kilometers thick composed of sulfuric acid. These clouds completely obscure our view of the surface. This dense atmosphere produces a run-away greenhouse effect that raises Venus' surface temperature by about 400 degrees to over 740 K (hot enough to melt lead). Venus' surface is actually hotter than Mercury's despite being nearly twice as far from the Sun. There are strong (350 kph) winds at the cloud tops but winds at the surface are very slow, no more than a few kilometers per hour. Venus probably once had large amounts of water like Earth but it all boiled away. Venus is now quite dry. Earth would have suffered the same fate had it been just a little closer to the Sun. We may learn a lot about Earth by learning why the basically similar Venus turned out so differently. Data from Magellan's imaging radar shows that much of the surface of Venus is covered by lava flows. There are several large shield volcanoes (similar to Hawaii or Olympus Mons) such as Sif Mons. Recently announced findings indicate that Venus is still volcanically active, but only in a few hot spots; for the most part it has been geologically rather quiet for the past few hundred million years. There are no small craters on Venus. It seems that small meteoroids burn up in Venus' dense atmosphere before reaching the surface. Craters on Venus seem to come in bunches indicating that large meteoroids that do reach the surface usually break up in the atmosphere. Magellan's images show a wide variety of interesting and unique features including pancake volcanoes (left) which seem to be eruptions of very thick lava and coronae (right) which seem to be collapsed domes over large magma chambers. The interior of Venus is probably very similar to that of Earth: an iron core about 3000 km in radius, a molten rocky mantle comprising the majority of the planet. Venus has no magnetic field, perhaps because of its slow rotation. Venus has no satellites, and thereby hangs a tale. Venus is usually visible with the unaided eye. Sometimes (inaccurately) referred to as the "morning star" or the "evening star", it is by far the brightest "star" in the sky.

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the fifth largest. Earth is the only planet whose English name does not derive from Greek/Roman mythology. The name derives from Old English and Germanic. There are, of course, hundreds of other names for the planet in other languages. In Roman Mythology, the goddess of the Earth was Tellus - the fertile soil (Greek: Gaia, terra mater - Mother Earth). Earth, of course, can be studied without the aid of spacecraft. Nevertheless it was not until the twentieth century that we had maps of the entire planet. Pictures of the planet taken from space are of considerable importance; for example, they are an enormous help in weather prediction and especially in tracking and predicting hurricanes. And they are extraordinarily beautiful. Depths in km Name of layers The Earth is divided into several 0- 40 Crust layers which have distinct chemical and 40- 400 Upper mantle seismic properties 400- 650 Transition region The crust varies considerably in 650-2700 Lower mantle thickness, it is thinner under the oceans, 2700-2890 D'' layer thicker under the continents. The inner 2890-5150 Outer core core and crust are solid; the outer core and 5150-6378 Inner core Mass mant atmosphere 0.0000051 le layers are plastic or semi-fluid. The various layers are 0.0014 separated by discontinuities which are evident in seismic oceans crust 0.026 data. mantle 4.043 Most of the mass of the Earth is in the mantle, most of outer core 1.835 the rest in the core; the part we inhabit is a tiny fraction of inner core 0.09675 the whole (values below x10^24 kilograms): The core is probably composed mostly Earths chemical Mass (%) of iron (or nickel/iron) though it is possible composition that some lighter elements may be present, Iron 34.6% too. Temperatures at the center of the core Oxygen 29.5% may be as high as 7500 K, hotter than the Silicon 15.2% surface of the Sun. The lower mantle is Magnesium 12.7% probably mostly silicon, magnesium and Nickel 2.4% oxygen with some iron, calcium and Sulfur 1.9% aluminum. The upper mantle is mostly Titanium 0.05% olivene and pyroxene (iron/magnesium silicates), calcium and aluminum. The Earth is the densest major body in the solar system. The other terrestrial planets probably have similar structures and compositions with some differences: the Moon has at most a small core; Mercury has an extra large core (relative to its diameter); the mantles of Mars and the Moon are much thicker; the Moon and Mercury may not have chemically distinct crusts; Earth may be the only one with distinct inner and outer cores. Note, however, that our knowledge of planetary interiors is mostly theoretical even for the Earth. 71 Percent of the Earth's surface is covered with water. Earth is the only planet on which water can exist in liquid form on the surface (though there may be liquid ethane or methane on Titan's surface and liquid water beneath the surface of Europa). Liquid water is, of course, essential for life as we know it. The heat capacity of the oceans is also very important in keeping the Earth's temperature relatively stable. Liquid water is also responsible for most of the erosion and weathering of the Earth's

continents, a process unique in the solar system today (though it may have occurred on Mars in the past). The Earth's atmosphere is 77% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, with traces of argon, carbon dioxide and water. There was probably a very much larger amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere when the Earth was first formed, but it has since been almost all incorporated into carbonate rocks and to a lesser extent dissolved into the oceans and consumed by living plants. Plate tectonics and biological processes now maintain a continual flow of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to these various "sinks" and back again. The tiny amount of carbon dioxide resident in the atmosphere at any time is extremely important to the maintenance of the Earth's surface temperature via the greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect raises the average surface temperature about 35 degrees C above what it would otherwise be (from a frigid -21 C to a comfortable +14 C); without it the oceans would freeze and life as we know it would be impossible. The presence of free oxygen is quite remarkable from a chemical point of view. Oxygen is a very reactive gas and under "normal" circumstances would quickly combine with other elements. The oxygen in Earth's atmosphere is produced and maintained by biological processes. Without life there would be no free oxygen. The Seasons There is a popular misconception that the seaons on Ertah are caused by varying distances of Earth from the Sun on its elliptical orbit. This is not correct. On eway to see that this reasoning may be in errror is to note that the seasons are out of phase in the Northern and Southern hemispheres: when it is summer in the north it is winter in the south. Seasons in the Northren hemisphere The primary cause of the season is 23.5 degree of Erths with respect to the plane of the ecliptic. This means that as Earth goes aroundits orbit, the nrthern hemisphere is at various times oriented more toward and are away from the sun, and likewise for the southern hemisphere. Thus we experience summer in the northern hemisphere is oriented more toward the sun. therefore the sun rises higher in th esky and is above th ehorizon longer, and rays of the sun strike the ground more directly. Likewise, in the northern hemisphere it is winter when the hemisphere is oriented away from the sun. the sun only rises low in the sky, and the rays of the sun strike the ground more obliquely. In fact, Earth is actually closer to the sun in the northern hemisphere summer than in the winter. Earth is at its closest approach to the sun on about january 4 of each year, which is dead of the northern hemisphere winter. Southern Hemisphere Seasons As is clear from the preceding diagram, the seasons in the southern hemisphere are determined from the same reason, axcept that they are out of phase wwith the northern hemisphere seasons because when the northern hemisphere is oriented toward the sun, the southern hemisphere is oriented away, and vice versa. The Lag Of The Seasons

The preceding reason for the causes of the seasons is idealized. In reality, we know that the seasons lag: for example, the hottest temperatures in summer ussually occur a month or so after the time of maximum insolation (the time when maximum solar energy is deposited during a day at a point on the surface of Earth). This is because earth and its atmosphere store heat. Thus, a detailed description of the seasons is quite complicated ssince it must tak einto account complex local variations in the storage of solar energy. However, the basic reasons for the seasons is simple.

The Moon

The Moons Data Orbital period : 27.32 days Rotational period : same as orbital period Mass : 0.0123 time Earth mass Surface Gravity : 0.17 time Earth surface gravity Diameter : 3 476 km Distance from Earth : 384 400 km

The Moon is the only natural satellite of Earth. The Moon called Luna by the Romans, Selene and Artemis by the Greeks, and many other names in other mythologies. The Moon, of course, has been known since prehistoric times. It is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. The Soviet spacecraft Luna 2 in 1959. It is the only extraterrestrial body to have been visited by humans. The first landing was on July 20, 1969 (do you remember where you were?); the last was in December 1972. The Moon is also the only body from which samples have been returned to Earth. In the summer of 1994, the Moon was very extensively mapped by the little spacecraft Clementine and again in 1999 by Lunar Prospector. The Moon has no atmosphere. But evidence from Clementine suggested that there may be water ice in some deep craters near the Moon's south pole which are permanently shaded. This has now been reinforced by data from Lunar Prospector. There is apparently ice at the north pole as well. There are two primary types of terrain on the Moon: the heavily cratered and very oldhighlands and the relatively smooth and younger maria. The maria (which comprise about 16% of the Moon's surface) are huge impact craters that were later flooded by molten lava. Most of the surface is covered with regolith, a mixture of fine dust and rocky debris produced by meteor impacts. For some unknown reason, the maria are concentrated on the near side. Most of the craters on the near side are named for famous figures in the history of science such as Tycho, Copernicus, and Ptolemaeus. In addition to the familiar features on the near side, the Moon also has the huge craters South Pole-Aitken on the far side which is 2250 km in diameter and 12 km deep making it the the largest impact basin in the solar system. Most rocks on the surface of the Moon seem to be between 4.6 and 3 billion years old. This is a fortuitous match with the oldest terrestrial rocks which are rarely more than 3 billion years old. Thus the Moon provides evidence about the early history of the Solar System not available on the Earth. The orbit of the moon around Earth and its rotation around its axis has the same period. Therefore the ,oon is always keeping the same face to Earth.

Moon Phases The revolution of the moon around Earth makes the moon appear as if it is changing shape in the sky. This is caused by the different angles from which we see the bright part of the moons surface. These are called phases of the moon. Of course, the moon doesnt generate any light itself; it just reflects the light of sun. the moon passes through four major shapes during acycle that repeats itself every 29.5 days. The passes always follow one another in the same order. The four major mooon phases are New, 1st Quarter, Full, and Last Quarter. At this cycle of a continuous process, there are eight distinct traditionally recognized stages, called phases. The phases designate both of degree to which the moon is illuminated and the geometric appearance of the illuminated part. These phases of the moon, in the squence of their occurance, are listed below. (1) New Moon when the moon is roughly in the same direction as the sun, its illuminated half is facing away from Earth, and therefore the part thet faces us is all dark: we have the new moon. When in this phase, the moon and the sun rise and set at about the same time. (2) Waxing Crescent Moon as the moon moves around Earth, we get to see more and more of the illuminated half, and we say the moon is waxing. At first we get a silver of it, which grows as days go by. This phase is called the crescent moon. (3) Quarter Moon a week after the new moon, when the moon has completed about a quarter of its turn around Earth, we can see half of the illuminated part; that is, a quarter of the moon. This is the first quarter phase. (4) Waxing Gibbous Moon during the next week, we keep seeing mnore and more of the illuminated part of the moon, and it is now called waxing gibbous. (5) Full Moon two weeks after new moon, the moon is now halfway through its revolution, and now the illuminated half coincides with the one facing Earth, so that we acana see a full disk: we have a full. As mentioned above, at this time the moon rises at the time the sun sets, and it sets whenn the sun rises. If the Moon happens to align exactly with Earth and the sun, then we get a lunar aclipse. (6) Waning Gibbous Moon from now on, until it becomes new again the illuminated part of the moon that we can see decreases, and we say its waning. The first week after full, is called wanning gibbous. (7) Last Quarter Moon three weeks after new, we again can see half of the illuminated part. (8) Waning Crescent Moon finally, during the fourth week, the illuminated half of the moon to athin silver from us. A while after two weeks (29.5 days, more precisely) the illuminated half of the moon again faces away from us, and we come back to the beginnning of the cycle: a new moon. Tide The gravitational forces between the Earth and the Moon cause some interesting effects. The most obvious is the tides. The Moon's gravitational attraction is stronger on the side of the Earth nearest to the Moon and weaker on the opposite side. Since the Earth, and

particularly the oceans, is not perfectly rigid it is stretched out along the line toward the Moon. From our perspective on the Earth's surface we see two small bulges, one in the direction of the Moon and one directly opposite. The effect is much stronger in the ocean water than in the solid crust so the water bulges are higher. And because the Earth rotates much faster than the Moon moves in its orbit, the bulges move around the Earth about once a day giving two high tides per day. Solar Eclipses One consequence of the moons orbit about Earth is that the moon can shadow thye suns light as viewed fromEarth, or the moon can pass through the shadow cast by Earth. The former is called a solar eclipse and the later is called a lunar eclipse. The small tilt of the moons orbit with respect to the plane of the ecliptic and the small accentricity of the lunar orbit make such eclipses are actually rather frequent. The shadow cast by the moon can be divided by geometry into the completely shadowed umbra and the partially shadowed penumbra. There are three general classes of solar eclipses to be defined: (1) Total Solar Eclipses occur when the umbra of the moons shadow touches a region on the surface of Earth.

(2) Partial Solar Eclipses occur when the penumbra of the moons shadow passes over a region on Earths surface. (3) Annular Solar Eclipses occur when a region on Earths surface is in line with the umbra, but the distances are such that the tip of the umbra does not reach Earths surface.

partial solar

annular solar

total solar

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the seventh largest: In Roman Mythology Mars (Greek: Ares) is the god of War. The planet probably got this name due to its red color; Mars is sometimes referred to as the Red Planet. (An interesting side note: the Roman god Mars was a god of agriculture before becoming associated with the Greek Ares; those in favor of colonizing and terraforming Mars may prefer this symbolism.) The name of the month March derives from Mars. Mars has been known since prehistoric times. Of course, it has been extensively studied with ground-based observatories. But even very large telescopes find Mars a

difficult target, it's just too small. It is still a favorite of science fiction writers as the most favorable place in the Solar System (other than Earth!) for human habitation. The first spacecraft to visit Mars was Mariner 4 in 1965. Several others followed including Mars 2, the first spacecraft to land on Mars and the two Viking landers in 1976. Ending a long 20 year hiatus, Mars Pathfinder landed successfully on Mars on 1997 July 4. Mars' orbit is significantly elliptical. One result of this is a temperature variation of about 30 C at the subsolar point between aphelion and perihelion. This has a major influence on Mars' climate. While the average temperature on Mars is about 218 K (-55 C, 67 F), Martian surface temperatures range widely from as little as 140 K (-133 C, -207 F) at the winter pole to almost 300 K (27 C, 80 F) on the day side during summer. Except for Earth, Mars has some of the most highly varied and interesting terrain of any of the terrestrial planets, some of it quite spectacular: y Olympus Mons: the largest mountain in the Solar System rising 24 km (78,000 ft.) above the surrounding plain. Its base is more than 500 km in diameter and is rimmed by a cliff 6 km (20,000 ft) high. y Tharsis: a huge bulge on the Martian surface that is about 4000 km across and 10 km high. y Valles Marineris: a system of canyons 4000 km long and from 2 to 7 km deep (top of page); y Hellas Planitia: an impact crater in the southern hemisphere over 6 km deep and 2000 km in diameter. Much of the Martian surface is very old and cratered, but there are also much younger rift valleys, ridges, hills and plains. There is no evidence of current volcanicc activity inMars. But there is a new evidence from the Mars Global Survryor spacecraft that Mars may have had tectonic activity in its early history, making comparisons to Earth all the more interesting! There is very clear evidence of erosion in many places on Mars including large floods and small river systems. At some time in the past there was clearly some sort of fluid on the surface. Liquid water is the obvious fluid but other possibilities exist. There may have been large lakes or even oceans; the evidence for which was strenghtened by some very nice images of layered terrain taken by Mars Global Surveyor and the mineralology results from MER Opportunity. Most of these point to wet episodes that occurred only briefly and very long ago; the age of the erosion channels is estimated at about nearly 4 billion years. Early in its history, Mars was much more like Earth. As with Earth almost all of its carbon dioxide was used up to form carbonate rocks. But lacking the Earth's plate tectonics, Mars is unable to recycle any of this carbon dioxide back into its atmosphere and so cannot sustain a significant greenhouse effect. The surface of Mars is therefore much colder than the Earth would be at that distance from the Sun. Mars has a very thin atmosphere composed mostly of the tiny amount of remaining carbon dioxide (95.3%) plus nitrogen (2.7%), argon (1.6%) and traces of oxygen (0.15%) and water (0.03%). The average pressure on the surface of Mars is only about 7 millibars (less than 1% of Earth's), but it varies greatly with altitude from almost 9 millibars in the deepest basins to about 1 millibar at the top of Olympus Mons. But it is thick enough to support very strong winds and vast dust storms that on occasion engulf the entire planet for months. Mars' thin atmosphere produces a greenhouse effect but it is only enough to raise the surface temperature by 5 degrees (K); much less than what we see on Venus and Earth. Mars has permanent ice caps at both poles composed of water ice and solid carbon dioxide (dry ice).

When it is in the nighttime sky, Mars is easily visible with the unaided eye. Mars is a difficult but rewarding target for an amateur telescope though only for the three or four months each martian year when it is closest to Earth. Its apparent size and brightness varies greatly according to its relative position to the Earth. Mars' Satellites Mars has two tiny satellites which that orbit very close to the surface. Like the moon, the craters cover the surface of these satellites too.



Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and by far the largest. Jupiter is more than twice as massive as all the other planets combined (the mass of Jupiter is 318 times that of Earth). Jupiter (a.k.a. Jove; Greek Zeus) was the King of the Gods, the ruler of Olympus and the patron of the Roman state. Zeus was the son of Cronus (Saturn). Jupiter is the fourth brightest object in the sky (after the Sun, the Moon and Venus). It has been known since prehistoric times. But in 1610 when Galileo first pointed a telescope at the sky he discovered Jupiter's four large moons Io, Europa, GanymedeandCallisto(now known as the Galilean moons or Galilean Satellites). Jupiter was first visited by Pioneer 10 in 1973 and later by Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and Ulysses and Galileo. The gas planets do not have solid surfaces, their gaseous material simply gets denser with depth. What we see when looking at these planets is the tops of clouds high in their atmospheres. Jupiter is about 90% hydrogen and 10% helium (by numbers of atoms, 75/25% by mass) with traces of methane, water, ammonia and "rock". This is very close to the composition of the primordial Solar Nebula from which the entire solar system was formed. Saturn has a similar composition, but Uranus and Neptune have much less hydrogen and helium. Jupiter probably has a core of rocky material amounting to something like 10 to 15 Earth-masses. Above the core lies the main bulk of the planet in the form of liquid hydrogen. The outermost layer is composed primarily of ordinary molecular hydrogen and helium which is liquid in the interior and gaseous further out. The atmosphere we see is just the very top of this deep layer. Water, carbon dioxide, methane and other simple molecules are also present in tiny amounts. Data from the Galileo atmospheric probe also indicate that there is much less water than expected. The expectation was that Jupiter's atmosphere would contain about twice the amount of oxygen (combined with the abundant hydrogen to make water) as the Sun. But it now appears that the actual concentration much less than the Sun's. Also surprising was the high temperature and density of the uppermost parts of the atmosphere.

The vivid colors seen in Jupiter's clouds are probably the result of subtle chemical reactions of the trace elements in Jupiter's atmosphere, perhaps involving sulfur whose compounds take on a wide variety of colors, but the details are unknown. The colors correlate with the cloud's altitude: blue lowest, followed by browns and whites, with reds highest. Sometimes we see the lower layers through holes in the upper ones. The Great Red Spot has been seen by Earthly observers for more than 300 years. The GRS is an oval about 12,000 by 25,000 km, big enough to hold two Earths. Other smaller but similar spots have been known for decades. Infrared observations and the direction of its rotation indicate that the GRS is a high-pressure region whose cloud tops are significantly higher and colder than the surrounding regions. Similar structures have been seen on Saturn and Neptune. It is not known how such structures can persist for so long. Jupiter has rings like Saturn's, but much fainter and smaller. They were probably composed of very small grains of rocky material. Unlike Saturns rings, they seem to contain no ice. In July 1994, Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter with spectacular results (left). The effects were clearly visible even with amateur telescopes. The debris from the collision was visible for nearly a year afterward with Hubble Space Telescope. When it is in the nighttime sky, Jupiter is often the brightest "star" in the sky (it is second only to Venus, which is seldom visible in a dark sky). The four Galilean moons are easily visible with binoculars; a few bands and the Great Red Spot can be seen with a small astronomical telescope. Jupiter's Satellites Jupiter has 63 known satellites (as of Feb 2004): the four large Galilean moons plus many more small ones some of which have not yet been named:here are the data of the four biggest of Jupiters satellites. Satellite Distance (km) Radius (km) Discoverer Date Io 422 000 1 815 Galileo 1610 Europa 671 000 1 569 Galileo 1610 Ganymede 1 070 000 2 631 Galileo 1610 Callisto 1 883 000 2 400 Galileo 1610

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest: In Roman mythology, Saturn is the god of agriculture. The associated Greek god, Cronus, was the son of Uranus and Gaia and the father of Zeus (Jupiter). Saturn is the root of the English word "Saturday". Saturn has been known since prehistoric times. Galileo was the first to observe it with a telescope in 1610; he noted its odd appearance but was confused by it. Saturn's rings remained unique in the known solar system until 1977 when very faint rings were discovered around Uranus (and shortly thereafter around Jupiter and Neptune). Saturn was first visited by NASA's Pioneer 11 in 1979 and later by Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Cassini (a joint NASA / ESA project) arrived on July 1, 2004 and will orbit Saturn for at least four years. Saturn is visibly flattened (oblate) when viewed through a small telescope; its equatorial and polar diameters vary by almost 10% (120,536 km vs. 108,728 km). This is

the result of its rapid rotation and fluid state. The other gas planets are also oblate, but not so much so. Saturn also exhibits long-lived ovals (red spot at center of image at right) and other features common on Jupiter. In 1990, HST observed an enormous white cloud near Saturn's equator which was not present during the Voyager encounters; in 1994 another, smaller storm was observed (left). Two prominent rings (A and B) and one faint ring (C) can be seen from the Earth. The gap between the A and B rings is known as the Cassini division. The much fainter gap in the outer part of the A ring is known as the Encke Division.The Voyager pictures show four additional faint rings. Saturn's rings, unlike the rings of the other planets, are very bright. Saturn's rings are extraordinarily thin: though they're 250,000 km or more in diameter they're less than one kilometer thick. Despite their impressive appearance, there's really very little material in the rings - if the rings were compressed into a single body it would be no more than 100 km across. The ring particles seem to be composed primarily of water ice, but they may also include rocky particles with icy coatings. The origin of the rings of Saturn (and the other jovian planets) is unknown. Though they may have had rings since their formation, the ring systems are not stable and must be regenerated by ongoing processes. When it is in the nighttime sky, Saturn is easily visible to the unaided eye. Though it is not nearly as bright as Jupiter, it is easy to identify as a planet because it doesn't "twinkle" like the stars do. The rings and the larger satellites are visible with a small astronomical telescope. Saturn's Satellite Distance (km) Radius (km) Discoverer Date Satellites Tethys 295 000 530 Cassini 1684 Saturn has 34 Dione 377 000 560 Cassini 1684 named satellites. Here Rhea 527 000 765 Cassini 1672 are five biggest of Titan 1 222 000 2575 Huygens 1655 Saturns satellites:





Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and the third largest (by diameter). Uranus is larger in diameter but smaller in mass than Neptune. Uranus is the ancient Greek deity of the Heavens, the earliest supreme god. Uranus was the son and mate of Gaia the father of Cronus (Saturn) and of the Cyclopes and Titans (predecessors of the Olympian gods). Uranus, the first planet discovered in modern times, was discovered by William Herschel while systematically searching the sky with his telescope on March 13, 1781. It had actually been seen many times before but ignored as simply another star (the earliest

recorded sighting was in 1690 when John Flamsteed cataloged it as 34 Tauri). Herschel named it "the Georgium Sidus" (the Georgian Planet) in honor of his patron, the infamous (to Americans) King George III of England; others called it "Herschel". The name "Uranus" was first proposed by Bode in conformity with the other planetary names from classical mythology but didn't come into common use until 1850. Uranus has been visited by only one spacecraft, Voyager 2 on Jan 24 1986. Most of the planets spin on an axis nearly perpendicular to the plane of the ecliptic but Uranus' axis is almost parallel to the ecliptic. At the time of Voyager 2's passage, Uranus' south pole was pointed almost directly at the Sun. This results in the odd fact that Uranus' polar regions receive more energy input from the Sun than do its equatorial regions. Uranus is nevertheless hotter at its equator than at its poles. The mechanism underlying this is unknown. Actually, there's an ongoing battle over which of Uranus' poles is its north pole! Either its axial inclination is a bit over 90 degrees and its rotation is direct, or it's a bit less than 90 degrees and the rotation is retrograde. Uranus is composed primarily of rock and various ices, with only about 15% hydrogen and a little helium (in contrast to Jupiter and Saturn which are mostly hydrogen). Uranus (and Neptune) are in many ways similar to the cores of Jupiter and Saturn minus the massive liquid metallic hydrogen envelope. Uranus' atmosphere is about 83% hydrogen, 15% helium and 2% methane. Uranus' blue color is the result of absorption of red light by methane in the upper atmosphere. There may be colored bands like Jupiter's but they are hidden from view by the overlaying methane layer. Like the other gas planets, Uranus has rings. Like Jupiter's, they are very dark but like Saturn's they are composed of fairly large particles ranging up to 10 meters in diameter in addition to fine dust. There are 11 known rings, all very faint; the brightest is known as the Epsilon ring. The Uranian rings were the first after Saturn's to be discovered. This was of considerable importance since we now know that rings are a common feature of planets, not a peculiarity of Saturn alone. Uranus is sometimes just barely visible with the unaided eye on a very clear night; it is fairly easy to spot with binoculars (if you know exactly where to look). A small astronomical telescope will show a small disk. Uranus' Satellites Uranus has 21 named moons and six unnamed ones. The following tabel summarizes the biggest of Uranus satellites:
Satellite --------Ariel Umbriel Titania Oberon distance (000 km) -------191 266 436 583 radius (km) -----579 585 789 761 Discoverer ---------Lassell Lassell Herschel Herschel Date ----1851 1851 1787 1787

Neptune is the eighth planet from the Sun and the fourth largest (by diameter). Neptune is smaller in diameter but larger in mass than Uranus. In Roman mythology Neptune (Greek: Poseidon) was the god of the Sea. After the discovery of Uranus, it was noticed that its orbit was not as it should be in accordance with Newton's laws. It was therefore predicted that another more distant planet must be perturbing Uranus' orbit. Neptune was first observed by Galle and d'Arrest on 1846 Sept 23 very near to the

locations independently predicted by Adams and Le Verrier from calculations based on the observed positions of Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. Neptune has been visited by only one spacecraft, Voyager 2 on Aug 25 1989. Much of we know about Neptune comes from this single encounter. But fortunately, recent ground-based and HST observations have added a great deal, too. Because Pluto's orbit is so eccentric, it sometimes crosses the orbit of Neptune making Neptune the most distant planet from the Sun for a few years. Neptune's composition is probably similar to Uranus': various "ices" and rock with about 15% hydrogen and a little helium. Its atmosphere is mostly hydrogen and helium with a small amount of methane. Neptune's blue color is largely the result of absorption of red light by methane in the atmosphere. Like a typical gas planet, Neptune has rapid winds confined to bands of latitude and large storms or vortices. Neptune's winds are the fastest in the solar system, reaching 2000 km/hour. At the time of the Voyager encounter, Neptune's most prominent feature was the Great Dark Spot (left) in the southern hemisphere. It was about half the size as Jupiter's Great Red Spot (about the same diameter as Earth). Neptune's winds blew the Great Dark Spot westward at 300 meters/second. owever, HST observations of Neptune (left) in 1994 show that the Great Dark Spot has disappeared! It has either simply dissipated or is currently being masked by other aspects of the atmosphere. A few months later HST discovered a new dark spot in Neptune's northern hemisphere. This indicates that Neptune's atmosphere changes rapidly, perhaps due to slight changes in the temperature differences between the tops and bottoms of the clouds. Neptune also has rings. Earth-based observations showed only faint arcs instead of complete rings, but Voyager 2's images showed them to be complete rings with bright clumps. One of the rings appears to have a curious twisted structure. Like Uranus and Jupiter, Neptune's rings are very dark but their composition is unknown. Neptune can be seen with binoculars (if you know exactly where to look) but a large telescope is needed to see anything other than a tiny disk. Neptune's Satellites Neptune has 13 Satellite Distance (km) Radius (km) Discoverer Date known moons; 7 small Proteus 118 000 200 Voyager 2 1989 named ones and Triton Triton 355 000 1350 Lassel 1846 plus four discovered in Nereid 5 513 000 170 Kuiper 1949 2002 and one discovered in 2003 which have yet to be named.

Pluto orbits beyond the orbit of Neptune (usually). It is much smaller than any of the official planets and now classified as a "dwarf planet". Pluto is smaller than seven of the solar system's moons (the Moon, Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan and Triton). In Roman mythology, Pluto (Greek: Hades) is the god of the underworld. The planet received this name perhaps because it's so far from the Sun that it is in perpetual darkness. Pluto was discovered in 1930 by a fortunate accident. Calculations which later turned out to be in error had predicted a

planet beyond Neptune, based on the motions of Uranus and Neptune. Not knowing of the error, Clyde W. Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Arizona did a very careful sky survey which turned up Pluto anyway. Pluto has not yet been visited by a spacecraft. Even the Hubble Space Telescope can resolve only the largest features on its surface (left and above). A spacecraft called New Horizons was launched in January 2006. If all goes well it should reach Pluto in 2015. Pluto's orbit is highly eccentric. At times it is closer to the Sun than Neptune (as it was from January 1979 thru February 11 1999). Pluto rotates in the opposite direction from most of the other planets. Plutos orbital period is exactly 1.5 times longer than Neptunes. its orbital inclination is also much higher than the other planets. Thus though it appears that Plutos orbit crosses Neptunes, it really doesnt and they will never collide. The surface temperature on Pluto varies between about -235 and -210 C (38 to 63 K). Pluto's composition is unknown, but its density (about 2 gm/cm3) indicates that it is probably a mixture of 70% rock and 30% water ice much like Triton. The bright areas of the surface seem to be covered with ices of nitrogen with smaller amounts of (solid) methane, ethane and carbon monoxide. The composition of the darker areas of Pluto's surface is unknown. Little is known about Pluto's atmosphere, but it probably consists primarily of nitrogen with some carbon monoxide and methane. It is extremely tenuous, the surface pressure being only a few microbars. Pluto's atmosphere may exist as a gas only when Pluto is near its perihelion; for the majority of Pluto's long year, the atmospheric gases are frozen into ice. rovisionally designated S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2, they are now known as Nix and Hydra. They are estimated to be between 60 and 200 kilometers in diameter. Fortunately, Pluto has a satellite, Charon. By good fortune, Charon was discovered (in 1978) just before its orbital plane moved edge-on toward the inner solar system. Pluto can be seen with an amateur telescope but it is not easy. But now, pluto is not a planet.

SMALL BODIES IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM Asteroid Asteroids are rocky and metallic objects that orbit the Sun but are too small to be considered planets. They are known as minor planets. They are known as minor planets. Asteroids rang in size from Ceres, which has a diameter of about 1000 km, down to the size of pebbles. Sixteen asteroids have a diameter of 240 km of greater. They have been found inside Earths orbit to beyond Saturns orbit. Most, however, are contained within an asteroid belt that exists between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Some have orbits that cross Earths path and some have even hit Earth in times past. Asteroids are material left over from the formation of the Solar System. One theory suggests that they are remains of a planet that was destroyed in a massive collision long ago. More likely, asteroids are material that never coalesced into a planet. In fact, if the estimated total mass of all asteroids were gathered into a single object, the object would be less than 1500 km across-less than half the diameter of our moon. Much of our understanding about asteroids comes from examining pieces of space debris that fall to the surface of Earth. Asteroids that are on a collision course with Earth are called meteoroids. When a

meteoroid strikes our atmosphere at high velocity, friction causes this chunk of space matter to incinerate in a streak of light known as a meteor. If the meteoroid does not burn up completely, whats left strikes Earths surface and is called a meteorite. Of all the meteorites examined, 92.8 percent are composed of silicate (stone), and 5.7 % are composed of iron and nickel; the rest are mixture of the three materials. Stony meteorites are the hardest to identify since they look very much like terrestrial rocks. Because asteroids are materials from the very early Solar System, scientists are interested in their composition. Spacecraft that have flown through the asteroid belt have found that asteroids are separated by very large distances. Before 1991 the only information obtained on asteroids was though Earth based observations. Then in October 1991 asteroid Gaspra was visited by the Galileo spacecraft and became the first asteroid to have high-resolution. Again in August 1993 Galileo made a close encounter with the asteroid Ida. This was the second asteroid to be visited by spacecraft. Comets Comets sometimes called bintangberekor in Indonesia are not stars. Comets are still members of our Solar System. They come from a great spherical cloud of cometarymaterial surrounding the Solar System called the Oort cloud.This sphere is 50 000 A.U. in radius, so it is enormous, but the total mass of cometary material in this cloud is probably less than that of Earth. Occasionally a comet in this cloud is disturbed gravitationally, by a passing star for example, and started on a long elliptical or parabolic orbit toward the sun. Comet structures are diverse and very dynamic, but they all develop a surrounding cloud of diffuse material, called a coma, that usually grows in size and brightness as the comet approach the sun. Usually a small, bright nucleus (less than 10 km in diameter) is visible in the middle of the coma. The coma and the nucleus together constitute the head of the comet. When far from the sun, the nucleus is very cold and its material is frozen solid within the nucleus. In this state comets are sometimes referred to as a dirty iceberg or dirty snowball, since over half of their material is ice. When comets approach the sun they develop enormous tails of luminous material that extend for millions of kilometers from the head, away from the sun. The tails of bright comets can be 150 million kilometers (1 A.U.) in length, making them the largest objects in the Solar System. However, the tail is composed of gas and dust emitted from the nucleus and is very diffuse. Many comets have two tails, a gas tail (also called the ion tail) composed of ions blown out of dust particles liberated from the nucleus as the ices are vaporized. The dust particles are left behind in the comets orbit, and blown slightly away from the sun by the pressure of the light from the sun. Thus, they tend to curve relative to the straight ion tail. The ion tail often shows structure associated with variations in the ejection rate from the nucleus over time. The adjacent images of Comet West (1976) illustrates distinct ion and dust tails. As seen in this example, the ion tail and the dust tail usually have different appearances. The ion tail is typically bluer in color, narrow, and straight; the dust tail is more diffuse, often looks curved, and is whiter in color. These differences in appearance are directly correlated with the different sources and compositions of the two tails.

After 500 or so passes near the sun off most of a comets ice and gas is lost leaving a rocky object very much like an asteroid in appearance. A comet whose orbit takes it near the sun also likely to either impact one of the planets or the sun or to be ejected out of the Solar System by a close encounter (especially with Jupiter). As of 1995, 878 comets have been cataloged and their orbits at least roughly calculated. Of these 184 are periodic comets (orbital periods less than 200 years); some of the remainder is no doubt periodic as well, but their orbits have not been determined with sufficient accuracy to tell for sure. Meteor shower sometimes occurs when Earth passes through the orbit of a comet. Some occur with great regularity: the Perseid meteor shower occurs every year between August and 13 when Earth passes through the orbit of Comet Swift-Tuttle. Comet Halley is the source of the Orionoid shower in October. Many comets are first discovered by amateur astronomers. Since comets are brightest when near the sun, they are usually visible only at sunrise or sunset. Meteors Interplanetary space is littered with rocks tens of meters in diameter or less. When these meteoroids strike Earths atmosphere at high relative speeds they leave visible trails created when the intense heat caused by friction vaporizes them. These are called meteors and they are frequently referred to as falling stars or shooting stars. Most meteors are tiny specks of dust and rapidly burn up in the atmosphere. Some are larger and produce spectacular fireballs that are very bright, and may explode. Meteors enter our atmosphere on a regular basis. On a normal night we can typically see a few sporadic meteors per hour. However, at certain times the rate of observable meteors is much higher. These periods are called meteor showers. Further, during meteor showers, the majority of the meteors appear to come from a particular point in the sky, called the radiant of the shower, it is clear that the meteor appears to come from a radiant of showers. The meteor shower is commonly named after the constellation in which this radiant is found, and occurs annually during a well-defined time period. For example, the Perseid meteor shower occurs every year from about July 25th through August 18th, with a peak on August 12, and has its radiant in the constellation Perseus. In this shower, the typical maximum number of meteors that can be seen per hour at its peak is about 70, which is 10 times the rate of sporadic meteors. Meteor showers result when Earth passes through the orbit of periodic comets. This comets orbit is fulfilling by the debrisbecause dust and rocky material that is liberated from the comet head ad the ices vaporize if Earth crosses this cometary orbit, the dust and rocky material leads to an increased number of meteors. THE SUN The sun is by far the largest object in the Solar System. It contains more than 99.8% of the total mass of the Solar System. It is often said that the sun is an ordinary star. Thats true in the sense that there are many others similar to it. But there are many others similar to it. But there are many smaller stars than larger ones; the sun is in top 10% by mass. The median size of stars in our galaxy is probably less than half the mass of the sun. The sun is, at present, about 75%of hydrogen and 25% of helium by mass (92.1% hydrogen and 7.8% helium by number of atoms); everything else amounts to only 0.1 %. This change slowly over time as the sun converts hydrogen to helium in its core.

The outer layers of the sun exhibit differential rotation: at the equator the surface rotates once every 26 days; near the poles its as much as 36 days. This odd behavior is due to the fact that the sun is not a solid body like Earth. Similar effects are seen in the gas planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune). The differential rotation extends considerably down into the interior of the sun but the core of the sun rotates as a solid body. SOLAR DATA : 26 day (at equator) 30 : 2 X 10 kg 1300 000 time more than Earth : 14 X 1026cubic meters 1300 000 time more Earth : 27 400 cm/s2 : 5 700 C : 696 000 km

Rotation period Mass Volume Surface gravity Temperature at surface Diameter

Conditions at the suns core (approximately the inner 25 % of its radius) are extreme. The temperature is 16 million Celsius degrees, and the pressure is 2.6 billion kg/cm2. at the center of the core the suns density is more than 150 times that of water. It is here that the intense nuclear reactions take place. Such a reaction causes four hydrogen nuclei to fuse together to form one helium nucleus. The nuclear reaction produces a lot of energy. This energy is carried to the surface of the sun, through a process known as convection, where it is released as light and heat. Energy generated in the suns core takes a million years to reach its surface. Every second 700 million tons of hydrogen are converted into helium ashes. The surface of the sun, called the photosphere, is at a temperature of about 5 500C. Sunspots are cool regions only 3500 C (they look dark only by comparison with the surrounding regions). Sunspots can be very large, as much as 50 000 km in diameter. Sunspots are caused by complicated and not very well understood interactions with the suns magnetic field. A sunspots lifetime can be as short as an hour or two or as long as several months. The number of sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the sun increases and decreases in a regular pattern, known as the solar cycle, with a maximum number of sunspots occurring every 11 years. A small region known as the chromospheres lies above the photosphere. The highly rarefied region above the chromospheres, called the corona, extends millions of kilometers into space but is visible only during eclipses. Temperatures in the corona are over 1,000,000 K. it is in this region that prominences appear. Prominences are immense clouds of glowing gas that erupt from the upper chromospheres. In addition to heat and light, the sun also emits a low density stream of charged particles (mostly electrons and protons) known as the solar wind which propagates throughout the Solar System at about 450 km/sec. The solar wind has large effects on the tails of comets and even has measurable effects on the trajectories of spacecraft. The sun is very active star. No matter when or where we look, the sun is always doing something interesting. One of the most dramatic properties of the suns activity is the existence of a solar cycle, which is best seen in the pattern of sunspots.

A more dramatic form of solar activity can be found in solar flares and coronal mass ejections. These are short-lived disruptions of the solar atmosphere, which create fantastic displays the images of the sun. Coronal mass ejections and flares are the solar causes of geomagnetic storms on Earth, which disrupt telecommunications, satellites and power grids. The sun is about 4.5 billion years old. Since its birth it has used up about half of the hydrogen in its core. It will continue to radiate peacefully for another 5 billion years or so. But eventually it will run out of hydrogen fuel. It will then be forced into radical changes, which, though commonplace by stellar standards, will result in the total destruction of Earth.

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