Planetary Facts

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					Planetary Fact Sheet


Mercury

1. Mercury's diameter is 4878 km, and is about the same size as our moon's diameter of 3476 km.
2. Mercury's surface resembles our moon as that both are covered with craters.
3. Mercury's temperature varies from 800 degrees F. in the sun to -280 degrees F in the darkness.
4. We have only been able to view 40% of Mercury's surface, while there is still 60% that has not been seen.
5. Mercury has exceptionally low albedo because of the dark gray surface. Its albedo is .12% but it seems vary
bright to us because the suns reflection is so close to us.
6. The most impressive discovery of Mercury was a huge Crater named the Caloris Basin, measuring 810 mi.
The impact of the Meteorite when it hit the planet was enough to penetrate the crust and shake the entire planet.
7. Mercury has a high iron density like the Earth's. The iron core fills about 42% of the planets volume.
8. Mercury is one of the four inner planets of our Solar System.



Venus:

* Venus is earths twin
* Venus has a similar mass, diameter, along with density to Earth
* Venus is the Jewel of the Sky
* Atmospheric composition: 96% carbon Dioxide; 3+% nitrogen
* Traces of hydrogen sulphide, sulphur dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, argon, helium, neon hydrogen
chloride, hydrogen fluoride
* 20% lowlands
* 70% Uplands
* 10% highlands
* Venus Rotate (retrograde) backwards in comparison to the Earth
* Venus has a nearly 1000 Volcanoes, and a large amount of craters
* Chemicals on Venus suggest presence of life
* Venus is a relatively hospitable planet
* Venus is the sixth largest planet
* The temperature on Venus is roughly 800 degrees F
* Venus is 113.6 million km from Earth



Earth

        The only planet in our solar system that supports life.
        The only planet that has liquid water
        92,960,000 miles from the sun
        rotation is 23.93 hrs.
        1 satellite, the Moon
        Average temperature is 59 degrees F
        7,926 miles is the diameter of the Earth (equator)
        Densest major body of the solar system, 5.52 grams/cent^3
        Earth is the only planet with a name that didn’t come from Greek/Roman mythology. Earths name came
         from old English/Germanic
        20th century was the first time the Earth was mapped entirely
          7 major parts to the Earth: crust, upper mantle, transition region, lower mantle, d layer, outer core, inner
           core
          8 major tectonic plates and 20 smaller plates that are known. When these plates hit they cause
           earthquakes
          Earth surface is young in comparison to how old the earth is. surface is only 500,000,000 years old when
           the Earth is 4.5-4.6 billion years old
          Earth has electronically charged gasses trapped in its magnetosphere which forms the aurora borealis



Mars

Position in Solar System

*Fourth planet furthest away from the sun (Earth is third)
*A little more than half the size of Earth (Mars' radius: 3393 km; Earth's: 6368 km)

Characteristics

*Core is thought to be solid
*Surface has a moderate amount of craters, dormant volcanoes, and huge canyons, dried up riverbeds (water
once flowed there, and is now only frozen in the polar caps)
*Rust-colored hue, dusty from windstorms of iron oxide, and can be seen through Earth-based telescopes
*Has a solar day similar to Earth's, season’s last nearly twice as long because it takes about two years to orbit
the sun
*The atmosphere is composed mostly of CO2, N2; its gravitational force is only strong enough to hold its gases
but too weak to prevent most water vapor from evaporating into space
*Its surface is sterilized because chemical reactions in the regolith plus UV radiation from the Sun
*Most hospitable planet for life other than the earth
*Has two potato-like moons, both in synchronous rotation with Mars

       More Facts about Mars:

           The 4th Planet, aka the Red Planet
           The only planet whose features can be seen through Earth based telescopes
           Revolution around the Sun = 687 Earth Days
           Rotation similar to Earth = 24 hours 39 minutes
           The average temperature -60 degrees C
           Summer highs 20 degrees C
           Polar nights -120 degrees C
           Principle atmosphere carbon dioxide 95.23% nitrogen 2.7%, argon 1.6%, oxygen .13%, water 03%,
            neon .00025%
           Given its name by the Romans in honor of their God of war
           Martian Air 1/1000 as much water as Earth's air
           Mars global surveyor has observed features that suggest their may be current sources of liquid water at
            or near the surface, seeing evidence of a ground water supply similar to a aquifer on Earth
           NASA is in the process of evaluating two options for a 2003 mission to Mars
           Repeated outbursts of water and debris - similar to flash floods on Earth, created gullies - what's odd is
            the location where these gullies occur, in the coldest places on the planet
           Considered the best planet for Harboring ET
           Mars Global Surveyor discovered evidence of past movement of the Martian crust - further evidence
            of Earth like plate-tectonics
Jupiter

-It is the fifth planet from the sun.
-It is five times farther away from the sun than the earth is.
-1,400 earths can fit inside of Jupiter. It could hold all of the other planets put together.
-It has as many as 39 or more moons, however only sixteen of them have been named and agreed upon.
-It has a faint ring.
-Jupiter’s power of gravity is so strong it grabs on to objects that come too close.
-Atmospheric composition is 90% Hydrogen and 10% Helium.
- The Red Spot is a hurricane. It is twice the size of the earth and it has been raging for at least 300 moons.
Three earths could fit inside of the Red Spot.
-One of its moons, Europa, has the possibility of liquid water environment. It could be friendly to life.
-It is the Fifth planet from the sun.
-Above the core, lies the main bulk of the planet in the form of liquid metallic hydrogen. Because of this it is
about 20 times as strong as the magnetic field on earth.
-The core is made of a rock material and amounts to about 10-15 masses.
-In 1994 fragments of the comet P4/Shoemaker-Levy9 collided with Jupiter with dramatic effects. This was the
first collision of two solar system bodies to ever be observed.



Saturn

1) 95 times as much mass as the earth
2) the diameter is 120,536 km
3) it is the sixth planet from the sun
4) Saturn’s atmosphere has differential rotation ranging from 10 hrs 14 min
at the equator to 10hrs 40 min at high latitudes
5) Saturn has the lowest density of all the planets it's even less than water
6) it radiates more energy than it receives from the sun
7) the wind in Saturn's upper atmosphere reaches 500 meters per second
8) the highest hurricane winds on earth only reach 110 meters per second
9) Saturn has at least 30 moons, the largest is Titan
10) the atmosphere is made mostly of hydrogen and helium gas
11) Saturn’s polar regions have a phenomena similar to our aurora borealis
12) distance from the sun 1.427 billion km
13) it takes 29.2 years to orbit the sun
14) atmospheric temperature is -218.47 degrees F
15) its gravity is 8.93 meters per second squared
16) Saturn's two main rings are labeled A and B, we do not know the origin of the rings



Neptune

   1.   Neptune's winds are the fastest in the solar system, reaching 2000 km/hour
   2.   Neptune is the eighth planet of our solar system
   3.   It was discovered on September 23, 1846 by Johann Gotfried Galle
   4.   Neptune's average distance from the sun is 4,504,300,000 km
   5.   Neptune has eight moons
   6.   Of the eight moons, Atriton is the only icy moon
   7.   It takes 16 hours for it to be one day and it takes 165 earth years to complete one orbit around the sun
8. In the Roman Mythology, the planet's blue color reminds people of sea so it was named after a Roman
God of sea
 9. Neptune is considered to be the god of sea
10. Neptune is the only planet discovered by mathematics
11. Outermost planet of gas giants
12. If hollow, it would contain 60 Earths
13. First 2/3 of Neptune composed of molten rock, water, liquid ammonia, and methane
14. Outer 1/3 of Neptune composed of a mixture of heated gases comprised of hydrogen, helium, water, and
methane
15. Methane gives it the blue cloud color
16. Neptune has large dark spots like Jupiter's hurricane like storms. The largest spot is the Great Dark
Spot, which was created by a wind force of 700 mph. It is about the size of Earth.
17. Most winds blow westward, opposite the rotation of the planet
18. Near the Great Dark Spot winds get up to about 1200 mph
19. Neptune has a set of 4 rings. They are narrow and very faint. The rings are made of dust particles.
20. Magnetic field is tilted at 47 degrees from Neptune's rotation axis.
Hydrogen: 85%
Helium: 13%
Methane: 2%



Uranus

       The first planet discovered in modern times. William Herschel found it accidentally while he was
        searching the sky with a telescope in 1781. It had actually been seen many times before but
        dismissed as a star.
       The greenish color of Uranus' atmosphere is due to methane and high-altitude photochemical smog.
        Voyager 2 acquired this view of the seventh planet while departing the Uranian system in late
        January 1986. This image looks at the planet approximately along its rotational pole.

Planet Profile for Uranus

        1.    Mass (kg)............................................8.68 x 10^25
        2.    Diameter (km)........................................51118
        3.    Mean density (kg/m^3) ...............................1290
        4.    Escape velocity (m/sec)..............................21300
        5.    Average distance from Sun (AU).......................19.18
        6.    Rotation period (length of day in Earth hours).......17.9
        7.    Revolution period (length of year in Earth years)....84
        8.    Obliquity (tilt of axis in degrees)..................97.9
        9.    Orbit inclination (degrees)..........................0.77
        10. Orbit eccentricity (deviation from circular).........0.047
        11. Mean temperature (K).................................59
        12. Visual geometric albedo – (The ratio of the amount of solar radiation reflected from an object to
           the total amount incident upon it.) (reflectivity)...............0.56
        13. Atmospheric components...............................83% hydrogen,15% helium, 2% methane (at
           depth)
        14. Rings................................................Uranus has a system of narrow, faint rings. Ring particles
           are dark, and could consist of rocky or carbonaceous material.

   The rings of Uranus are actually very dark; their Albedo is only a few percent. The short stubby streaks
    are stars slightly smeared during the long exposure.
       . There are 5 large moons and 10 small ones.
       Voyager 2 confirmed the suspicion that Uranus had a magnetic field. The field is about 50 times
        stronger than that of the Earth and is tilted about 60 degrees with respect to the rotation axis.
       Earth-based observations show that Uranus rotates once every 17 hours 14 minutes on an axis of rotation
        that lies very nearly in the plane of the planet’s orbit.
       Uranus is the third largest planet in our solar system and is the 7th planet from the sun. The Voyager 2,
        that was launch in August 1977, was the first space probe that was sent to the planet, Uranus.



Pluto

           The diameter of Pluto is 2380km.
           248.6 earth years += 1 Pluto year
           It rotates in 6.39 earth days
           Its’ satellite Charon is 1190km.
           They are at a 20th the distance of the earth and the moon.
           Because they are so close… Pluto was discovered in 1930, Charon wasn't detected until 1978. Pluto
            typically is called the double planet because Charon is half the diameter of Pluto (our Moon is one-
            quarter the diameter of Earth).
           One side of Pluto never sees its’ moon because it has a synchronized rotation.
           In the year 2015, the atmosphere of the furthest planet in our solar system will collapse unto its
            surface giving this mission the opportunity to study the planet's activity before it freezes.
           The Hubble observations show that Charon is bluer than Pluto. This means that both worlds have
            different surface composition and structure. A bright highlight on Pluto suggests it has a smoothly
            reflecting surface layer.
           Pluto and Charon are made of equal parts of rock and ice

				
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