The Solar System. Olivia Paquette

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1 The Solar System Olivia Paquette

2 Table of Contents The Sun 1 Mercury 2,3 Venus 4,5 Earth 6,7 Mars 8,9 Jupiter 10,11 Saturn 12 Uranus 13 Neptune Pluto Glossary. 16

3 The Sun Although it may seem like the sun rotates around the Earth, it is in fact the center of our solar system. This means that all of the 8 planets in our solar system rotate around the sun. The sun is the largest mass in the solar system, taking up 98% of the mass and able to hold 1.3 million earths. It is the place where solar energy is created, and it is 15 million degrees celsius in the core. Composed of about 93% hydrogen, the sun is a blazing ball of gas. It is not a planet, but a star.

4 Mercury Quick Facts Diameter : 4,878 km Distance from Sun: 57,910,000 km Day: Earth days Year: Earth days The Smallest Planet after Pluto Mercury is the innermost planet in our solar system, as well as the smallest planet. Its mass and volume are a mere 5% of what Earth s are. The planet is, however, very large in comparison to a human or a spaceship. The mass is kilograms. That adds up to the mass of about 60 quintillion elephants. Although this planet is small next to Earth or Jupiter, it is still very big.

5 Craters Mercury is a heavily cratered planet, having thousands of them. They give Mercury the appearance of the moon on planet Earth. The Path of a Planet It takes mercury 88 days to rotate around the sun in its orbital path. When you picture this process, your mind tends to see a sun centered with 8 rings spaced perfectly to keep the planets aligned. This is not how it works. The various sizes, shapes, and distances of the planets from the sun changes the effect of gravity on the planets, causing them to follow paths of their own, called elliptical orbits. Ellipses is the term that scientists gave to an oval, and each planet has Major Axis Minor Axis an ellipses with its own roundness, or eccentricity. An ellipse has two foci. For the orbit of planets one of the foci is the sun.the picture on the right models the basics of an ellipse.

6 Venus Quick Facts Diameter : 12,103.6 km Distance from Sun: 108,200,000 km Day: 243 Earth days Year: 225 Earth days A Unique Atmosphere Venus has a very dense atmosphere, composed of 97% carbon dioxide. This creates a very large surface pressure, about 90 times that of the pressure on earth. The thick blanket of atmosphere causes the planet to heat to 467 degrees celsius. Venus is encapsulated in clouds containing sulfuric acid. The clouds precipitate and acid rain known as vigra, which evaporates before it can reach the surface of the planet. The upper part of the atmosphere has strong winds that move the clouds at 300 km/h.

7 Planets and the Gods While each planet has a name that we use to identify it, the Greeks and the Romans identified various planets by naming them after mythological gods. Planet Origin God Meaning Messenger of Mercury Roman Hermes the gods. Venus Roman Aphrodite Goddess of love and beauty. Earth Greek Gaea Mars Greek Mars Jupiter Greek Zeus Saturn Greek Cronus Uranus Greek Uranus Naptune Greek Poseidon Pluto Greek Hades Mother of all land formations and married to Uranus God of war and architecture King of the gods, brother of Neptune and Pluto God of agriculture Lord of the skies God of the ocean God of the underworld

8 Quick Facts Diameter : 12,756.3 km Distance from Sun: 149,600,000 km Day: 24 Earth hours Year: Earth days The distance from the Earth to the sun is known as 1 astronomical unit (AU). Earth

9 Major Moons Planets are not required to have a moon to be considered a planet. Earth is one of multiple planets that does have a moon. While Earth only has one moon, there are some with so many that the names of the moons have become number and letter combinations. Some of the moons are so large that they would be considered dwarf planets if they were in orbit with the sun. Planet # of Moons Major Moons Mercury 0 Venus 0 Earth 1 Luna Mars 2 Deimos, Phobos Jupiter 63 Europa, Io Saturn 59 Titan, Rhea Uranus 27 Titania, Oberon Neptune 13 Triton Pluto 3 Charon

10 Mars Quick Facts Diameter : 6,779 km Distance from Sun: 229,000,000 km Day: 24 hours 1 minute Year: 687 Earth days

11 A Unique Surface Mars is a planet with a very unique surface. It has a signature red color, which makes it stand out in any picture or drawing of the solar system. The red color is created by rust in the soil of the planet. Mars has dried out river channels, similar to those channels on Earth. Many experts believe that there is still water on Mars. It is also home to the largest canyon and the highest volcano in the solar system. Valles Marineris is a canyon 1,300 miles long and 5 miles deep. It would cover from New York City to Califormia. Olympus Mons is a whomping 14 miles high, and the base of this giant volcano is the size of Missouri. There are also giant ice caps on Mars that are made of frozen carbon dioxide, commonly known as dry ice.

12 Jupiter Quick Facts Diameter : 143,000 km Distance from Sun: 777,000,000 km Day: 10 Earth hours Year: 12 Earth years

13 A Planet With a Lot of Character Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, its mass being equal to that of 310 Earths. Jupiter has a very interesting structure and history. It is home to the four Galilean satellites, Io, Europa, Ganymeds, and Callisto. These are four of Jupiter s moons and were discovered by Galileo Galilei in Jupiter has a striped atmosphere and swirling red clouds on it that are a storm. Jupiter does not have a solid surface and is not a rocky planet. It is composed of dense hydrogen, helium, water, nitrogen, and a combination of various other gases. Jupiter also has a planetary ring system made of dust particles, which makes it very difficult to see the ring, unlike Saturns very prominent rings. As you can see, this planet has a lot of interesting aspects.

14 Saturn s Rings Although Saturn is not the only planet that has rings around it, this is the planet identified by its rings. These can stretch 273,000 km across, but each of them can only be 9 to 90 meters thick. The rings, unlike those of Jupiter, are made of ice and rock particles as large as a minivan. They were first discovered by Galileo Galilei in the year Quick Facts Diameter : 120,500 km Distance from Sun: 1.43 billion km Day: 11 Earth hours Year: 29.4 Earth years Saturn

15 Uranus Quick Facts Diameter: 51,000 km Distance from Sun: 2.9 billion km Day: 17 Earth hours Year: 84 Earth days

16 Quick Facts Diameter : 50,000 km Distance from Sun: 4.5 billion km Day: 16 Earth hours Year: 165 Earth years Neptune

17 The Planet That Was Pluto was the smallest of the nine planets in our solar system. Recently, in 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet. It was a planet for 76 years, but once atronomers discovered its moon, Charon, they were able to determine the actual mass of Pluto and realized that it was a lot smaller than any of the other planets. There are now 8 planets. Pluto Quick Facts Diameter : 2,390 km Distance from Sun: 5.6 billion km Day: 6 Earth days Year: 248 Earth days

18 Glossary Atmosphere Crater Dwarf Planet Ellipses Galileo Galilei Moon Orbit : An envelope of gases that surround a planet. : A large, bowl-shaped cavity on the surface of a planet. One is typically caused by an explosion or impact from a meteor. : A rounded body that rotates around the sun, but is not large enough to pick up other objects in its orbit. : A regular oval shape. : Physicist, astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher who lived during the 1500s and 1600s : A natural satellite of any planet. : The curved path of a celestial object around a star, planet, or moon.

19 About The Author Olivia Paquette is an eleventh grade student at the Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science at WPI in Massachusetts. She enjoys being in school, playing soccer, snowboarding, and watching the stars. She loves to learn new things and hopes that all the children who read this book learn something new.

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