- SOLAR SYSTEM - Fun Facts | BoysJoys

Fun Facts - SOLAR SYSTEM 2

Moon facts

Earth's Moon is the most familiar and also the largest satellite in relation to its planet in the Solar System. It is the first body in the Solar System on which vehicles from Earth landed, and the only one to be explored by humans.

Diameter :3,475.6 km
Distance From Earth : 406,711 km (furthest, 1912) to 356,375 km (closet, 1984), 384,403 km (average) Mass : 734,556,000,000 tonnes; a person weighing 65 kg on Earth would weigh 10.79 kg on the Moon
Rotation : 27 days 7 hours 43 minutes 11.5 seconds
Surface Temperature : -163oC to +117o C
Largest Crater : South Pole Aitken (far side) 2,100 km diameter, 12 km deep (largest in the Solar System)

Our Moon's far side

The far side of our Moon always faces away from Earth, so it was unknown until October 1959, when the Soviet LUNA 3 probe sent pictures of it back to Earth.

Astroid Facts

Asteroids are often called minor planets. They are lumps of rock orbiting the Sun, mostly in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

Meteors and Meteorites :- While traveling through space, asteroids sometimes collide with each other and break up into smaller fragments. Comets shed dust as they roam the solar system. These 'break ups' result in numerous small particles and fragments, called meteoroids, which orbit the sun. Most meteoroids are small and rocky. When one approaches Earth, it burns up as it goes through Earth's atmosphere. Thus a meteor, or shooting star, is formed. Fireballs are larger meteoroids, roughly ranging in size anywhere from a basketball to a Volkswagen. They also make very impressive sky displays as they break into fragments and burn up in their passage through Earth's atmosphere. Some meteoroids survive passage through Earth's atmosphere and hit the ground. These are called meteorites.

  • Asteroids are small Solar System bodies that orbit the Sun. Made of rock and metal, they can also contain organic compounds (some scientists suggest that asteroids could have brought they necessary chemicals to start life on Earth).

  • Asteroids are similar to comets but do not have a visible coma (fuzzy outline and tail) like comets do.

  • Asteroids are also known as planetoids or minor planets.

  • Asteroids vary greatly in size, some feature diameters as small as ten metres while others stretch out over hundreds of kilometres. Note that objects under ten metres in diameter are generally regarded as meteoroids.

  • The first asteroid was discovered in 1801 by Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi. Named Ceres, it features a diameter of around 950 kilometres and is now regarded as a dwarf planet. Ceres was given dwarf planet status in 2006, along with Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea.

  • The asteroid belt lies roughly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in the Solar System. It is home to a large amount of irregular shaped asteroids that range in size from dust through to the dwarf planet Ceres.

  • The technology used for discovering asteroids has improved dramatically since original discoveries and astronomers now have access to a range of powerful telescopes to aid in their research and discoveries.

  • It is believed by many scientists and researchers that an asteroid impact was the cause behind the extinction of the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago.

  • The possibility of an asteroid colliding with Earth has received increased attention over recent years. The Shoemaker-Levy comet that collided with Jupiter in 1994 were given widespread media coverage and Hollywood also played its part with moves such as Deep Impact (1998) and Armageddon (1998). While these movies sometimes featured dubious science they certainly increased public awareness of the topic.

  • In 1705 Edmond Halley(1656-1742) predicted, using Newton's newly formulated laws of motion, that the comet seen in 1531, 1607, and 1682 would return in 1758 (which was after his death). The comet did indeed return as predicted and was later named in his honor.

    The average period of Halley's orbit is 76 years but you cannot calculate the dates of its reappearances by simply subtracting multiples of 76 years from 1986. The gravitational pull of the major planets alters the orbital period from revolution to revolution. Nongravitational effects (such as the reaction from gasses boiled off during its passage near the Sun) also play an important, but smaller, role in altering the orbit. Between the years 239 BC and 1986 AD the orbital period has varied from 76.0 years (in 1986) to 79.3 years (in 451 and 1066). The closest perihelion passage to the time of Jesus are 11 BC and 66 AD; neither event took place in Jesus' lifetime. Its most famous appearance was in 1066 when it was seen at the Battle of Hastings, an event commemorated in the Bayeux Tapestry.
    Comet Halley was visible in 1910 and again in 1986. Its next perihelion passage will be in early 2062.

  • There are now many groups and organizations that use automated systems to discover near Earth asteroids. While many are discovered, they rarely have the potential to cross paths with Earth.

  • There have been many ideas suggested as ways to avoid the unlikely but potentially devastating impact of an asteroid collision with Earth, these include using nuclear explosions to break the asteroid into smaller pieces or other weapons to deflect it off course.

  • A meteoroid is a small rock or particle of debris in our solar system. They range in size from dust to around 10 metres in diameter (larger objects are usually referred to as asteroids).

  • A meteoroid that burns up as it passes through the Earth’s atmosphere is known as a meteor. If you’ve ever looked up at the sky at night and seen a streak of light or ‘shooting star’ what you are actually seeing is a meteor.

  • A meteoroid that survives falling through the Earth’s atmosphere and colliding with the Earth’s surface is known as a meteorite.

  • The fastest meteoroids travel through the solar system at a speed of around 42 kilometres per second (26 miles per second).

  • The Earth’s atmosphere experiences millions of meteors every day.

  • Meteors are easier to see during the lower light conditions of night.

  • A small percentage of meteoroids fly on a path that goes into the Earth’s atmosphere and then back out again, they are known as Earth grazing fireballs.

  • When many meteors occur in a close time frame in the same part of the sky it is called a meteor shower.

  • Around 500 meteorites reach the Earth’s surface every year but of those only around 5 ever make it to scientists for study.

  • Meteorites that are observed as they fall through the Earth’s atmosphere and later recovered are called ‘falls’, all others are called ‘finds’. To this date there have been around 1000 collected ‘falls’ and 40000 ‘finds’.

Titan Moon

Titan is the largest os Saturn's 34 moons. It is 5,150 km in diameter - larger than the planet Mercury. Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan in 1655. We still have no idea what its surface looks like because Titan has a dense atmosphere containing nitrogen, ethane and other gases which shroud its surface - not unlike that of Earth four billion years ago.