Interesting Facts About Space

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Interesting Facts About Space

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Our galaxy is full of planets and moons with large amounts of history. Even though the information about the planets is extensive and interesting, not many people know much about them. The Obama Eagle Team, however, thinks that it’s time to change that. Two of us have put together an article talking about what inhabits our galaxy while giving some interesting facts along the way.

Let’s kick this off by talking about the Sun. The Sun will eventually be about the size of Earth. Once the Sun has completed its red giant phase, it will collapse in on itself. Its huge mass will be retained, but its volume will have grown to a size similar to that of Earth. When that happens, it will be known as a white dwarf. Then soon afterward,  the Sun will completely consume the Earth. After this, our Sun will continue to burn for about 130 million years after it burns through all of its hydrogens, instead of burning helium. During this time it will expand to such a size that it will then engulf Mercury, Venus.

Next, here’s a few unknown facts about Mercury. A year in Mercury is 88 days, yet a Mercury day is 176 Earth days, which is a bit backward if you think about it.  Mercury is nearly tidally locked to the Sun. Which means that over time the rotation of the planet has slowed to almost matching its orbit around the Sun. Mercury has more craters and impact marks than any other planet. The surface is similar to our Moon’s. Unlike most planets, Mercury isn’t geologically active and therefore cannot “self-heal” from impacts with asteroids and comets. Most of the Mercurian craters are named after famous writers and artists. If a crater is larger than 250 km in diameter, it is known as a Basin. The largest Basin on Mercury, the Caloris Basin, is around 1,550 km in diameter and was discovered by the Mariner 10.

Now we’ll talk about one of our favorite planets, Venus. Venus is occasionally referred to as the “morning star” and “evening star”. This dates back to ancient civilizations who believed that Venus was, in fact, two distinct stars appearing in the sky. When the orbit of Venus covers Earth’s orbit, it changes from being visible at sunrise to being visible at sunset.

Let’s get into Mars. One of the tallest documented mountain known in the solar system is on Mars. Olympus Mons is a 21 km high and has 600 km diameter shield. Scientists have found a lot of recent evidence of volcanic lava, which suggests Olympus Mons may still be active. It is the second highest mountain in the entire solar system, topped only by the Rheasilvia central peak on the asteroid Vesta, which is 22 km high.

Next is Jupiter, one of our most interesting planets. One mostly unknown fact about Jupiter is that it has a faint ring system around it. Its ring is mostly comprised of dust particles from some of Jupiter’s moons during impacts from comets and asteroids. The ring system begins about 92,000 km above Jupiter’s clouds and reaches more than 225,000 km from the planet. The rings are somewhere between 2,000-12,500 km thick.

Now some information about our very own “Ringed Planet”, Saturn It takes Saturn 29.4 Earth years to orbit the Sun. This slow movement against a backdrop of stars led to the planet being nicknamed “Lubadsagush” – or “oldest of the old” – by the ancient Assyrians. As mentioned earlier, one commonly known nickname for Saturn is “The Ringed Planet”, a nickname arising from the large, beautiful and very extensive ring system that encircles the planet. These rings are mostly made from chunks of ice and space dust.

Here’s some intel on a planet with an infinite amount of puns, Uranus. Scientists have theorized that a collision may have caused the unusual tilt of Uranus. The theory is that an Earth-sized planet may have collided with Uranus which forced its axis to drastically shift. Uranus also has 13 presently known rings. All except for two Uranian are extremely narrow. It is believed that the rings are probably quite young. The matter within the rings is thought to be parts of a moon or moons that were shattered by impacts with an object such as a comet or asteroid

Let’s get into Neptune. Neptune has 14 known moons. The largest of these moons is Titan – an extremely cool frozen world which spits out particles of nitrogen ice and dust from below its surface. It is believed that Titan was caught by the intense gravitational pull of Neptune and is regarded as one of the coldest worlds in our solar system. And like the other outer planets, Neptune possesses a ring system, though its rings are very faint. It is theorized that they are most likely made up of ice particles and grains of dust with a carbon-based substance coating them.

This little guy isn’t regarded as a planet, but we decided to throw Pluto in the mix anyway, The orbit of Pluto is eccentric and extremely inclined. This means that the orbit takes it anywhere from 4.4 to 7.4 km from the Sun and that periodically Pluto is actually closer to the Sun than the other eight planets. Also, Pluto has an atmosphere sometimes. When Pluto is closer to the Sun on its orbit path, the surface ice thaws and forms a thin atmosphere of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide. As it travels away from the Sun this then freezes back into its solid state.

And now we’ll bring it home with some facts about Earth. The Earth was once believed to be the center of our entire universe. For 2000 years ancient astronomers believed that the Earth was static and had other celestial bodies and planets around it. They believed this because of the apparent movement on the Sun and planets in relation to their viewpoint. Earth is the only planet not named after a mythological god or goddess. The other seven planets in the solar system were named after Roman gods or goddesses. The five planets visible to the naked eye- Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn- were named during ancient times. After the other two were discovered, scientists decided to simply continue this trend to name Uranus and Neptune . The word “Earth” comes from the Old English word “ertha” meaning ground or land.

 

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Amanda Rose Jones, Editor

I've always enjoyed writing, it's been something I've taken part in since I was a young girl. When I came to Obama and saw Journalism as an elective course...

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