3 23.1 The Solar System The Planets: An Overview The terrestrial planets are planets that are small and rocky Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
4 23.1 The Solar System The Planets: An Overview The Jovian planets are the huge gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
5 Jovian planets
6 23.1 Pluto does not fit into either the Jovian or the terrestrial category.
7 Pluto used to be known as the furthest planet from the Sun. It has now been reclassified by the International Astronomical Union as a dwarf planet, because although it is spherical and orbits the sun, it shares its orbit with many smaller bodies.
8 Orbits of the Planets
12 23.1 The Solar System The Planets: An Overview Size is the most obvious difference between the terrestrial and Jovian planets. Density, chemical makeup, and rate of rotation are other ways in which the two groups of planets differ.
13 Planetary Data
14 23.1 The Solar System The Planets: An Overview The Interiors of the Planets The substances that The substances that make up the planets are divided into three groups: gases, rocks, and ices.
15 23.1 The Solar System The Planets: An Overview The Atmosphere of the Planets The Jovian planets have very thick atmospheres of hydrogen, helium, methane, and ammonia. By contrast, the terrestrial planets, including Earth, have meager atmospheres at best.
16 Scale of the Planets
19 23.1 The Solar System Formation of the Solar System Nebular Theory A nebula is a cloud of gas and/or dust in space. According to the nebular theory, the sun and planets formed from a rotating disk of dust and gases.
20 Formation of the Universe
23 23.1 The Solar System Formation of the Solar System Planetesimals Planetesimals are small, irregularly shaped bodies formed by colliding matter.
25 Planetary Composition, Distance from the Sun, and Melting Point
27 Mercury s Surface
28 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets Mercury: The Innermost Planet Mercury is the innermost and second smallest planet; it is hardly larger than Earth s moon. Surface Features Mercury has cratered highlands, much like the moon, and vast smooth terrains that resemble maria.
29 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets Surface Temperatures Mercury has the greatest temperature extremes of any planet.
31 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets Venus: The Veiled Planet Surface Temperatures The surface temperature of o Venus reaches 475 C, and its atmosphere is 97 percent carbon dioxide.
33 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets Venus: The Veiled Planet Venus is similar to Earth in size, density, mass, and location in the solar system. Thus, it has been referred to as Earth s twin.
34 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets Venus: The Veiled Planet Surface Features Venus is covered in thick clouds that visible light cannot penetrate. About 80 percent of Venus s surface consists of plains covered by volcanic flow.
37 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets Mars: The Red Planet The Martian Atmosphere The Martian atmosphere has only 1 percent of the density of Earth s. Although the atmosphere of Mars is very thin, extensive dust storms occur and may cause the color changes observed from Earth.
38 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets Mars: The Red Planet Surface Features Most Martian surface features are old by Earth standards. The highly cratered southern hemisphere is probably 3.5 billion to 4.5 billion years old.
41 Surface of Mars in polar region
42 Moons of Mars: Phobos and Deimos
43 23.2 The Terrestrial Planets Water on Mars Some areas of Mars exhibit drainage patterns similar to those created by streams on Earth. Images from the Mars Global Surveyor indicate that groundwater has recently migrated to the surface.
44 Although predominantly red due to the high quantities of iron oxide on the surface, ice-caps can be seen at both poles similar in nature to our Arctic and Antarctic. These are however composed mostly of dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide as opposed to water), although in the north it is known that the dry ice turns to a gas during the summer, leaving some water ice behind, but it is not known whether this happens in the south.
45 Water on Mars
46 23.3 The Outer Planets Jupiter: Giant Among Planets Jupiter has a mass that is 2 1/2 times greater than the mass of all the other planets and moons combined.
48 23.3 The Outer Planets Jupiter: Giant Among Planets Structure of Jupiter Jupiter s hydrogen-helium atmosphere also contains small amounts of methane, ammonia, water, and sulfur compounds.
49 Jupiter and the Great Red Spot
50 23.3 The Outer Planets Jupiter: Giant Among Planets Jupiter s Moons Jupiter s satellite system, including the 28 moons discovered so far, resembles a miniature solar system.
52 Jupiter s Largest Moons
53 23.3 The Outer Planets Jupiter: Giant Among Planets Jupiter s Rings Jupiter s ring system was one of the most unexpected discoveries made by Voyager 1.
54 Saturn Moons
57 23.3 The Outer Planets Saturn: The Elegant Planet The most prominent feature of Saturn is its system of rings.
60 23.3 The Outer Planets Features of Saturn Saturn s atmosphere is very active, with winds roaring at up to 1500 kilometers per hour. Large cyclonic storms similar to Jupiter s Great Red Spot, although smaller, occur in Saturn s atmosphere.
62 23.3 The Outer Planets Saturn: The Elegant Planet Saturn s Rings Until the discovery that Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune have ring systems, this phenomenon was thought to be unique to Saturn. Most rings fall into one of two categories based on particle density.
63 Saturn s Rings
64 23.3 The Outer Planets Saturn s Moons Saturn s satellite system consists of 31 moons. Titan is the largest moon, and it is bigger than Mercury.
66 23.3 The Outer Planets Uranus: The Sideways Planet Instead of being generally perpendicular to the plane of its orbit like the other planets, Uranus s axis of rotation lies nearly parallel with the plane of its orbit.
69 23.3 The Outer Planets Neptune: The Windy Planet Winds exceeding 1000 kilometers per hour encircle Neptune, making it one of the windiest places in the solar system.
70 Neptune Neptune's blue color is due to methane in the atmosphere, which absorbs red light.
72 23.3 The Outer Planets Pluto: Planet X Pluto s orbit is highly eccentric, causing it to occasionally travel inside the orbit of Neptune, where it resided from 1979 through February 1999.
73 Pluto and its moon Charon
74 Formerly planet X
75 Pluto's identity crisis The International Astronomical Union (IAU) announced Pluto should now be called a "plutoid," two years after the organization voted to demote Pluto to "dwarf planet" status.
76 The two known and named plutoids are Pluto and Eris. Plutoids are celestial bodies in orbit around the Sun at a distance greater than that of Neptune that have sufficient mass for their self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that they assume a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearspherical) shape, and that have not cleared the neighborhood around their orbit.
79 New Planets? The Future of our solar system!
80 Sedna In March 2004, researchers at the California Institute of technology (Caltech) discovered a body orbiting the sun that is three times further away from the Earth than Pluto. This puts it well beyond the bounds of the Kuiper Belt as far as we know, and yet it is approximately threequarters of the size of Pluto, larger than Quaoar.
82 Makemake Named the Newest Plutoid The red methane-covered dwarf planet, formerly known as 2005 FY9 or Easterbunny, is named after a Polynesian creator of humanity and god of fertility. The orbit is not particularly strange, but the object itself is big, probably about two-thirds the size of Pluto, said Michael E. Brown, who discovered and named Makemake (pronounced MAH-keh MAH-keh). Dr. Brown said the name came to him when he was looking for a mythological god and thought of Easter Island in the South Pacific. Makemake was the chief god among people who settled the island.
83 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Asteroids: Microplanets An asteroid is a small, rocky body whose diameter can range from a few hundred kilometers to less than a kilometer. Most asteroids lie between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. They have orbital periods of three to six years.
84 Irregular Orbits of Asteroids
85 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Comets Comets are small bodies made of rocky and metallic pieces held together by frozen gases. Comets generally revolve about the sun in elongated orbits.
87 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Coma A coma is the fuzzy, gaseous component of a comet s head. A small glowing nucleus with a diameter of only a few kilometers can sometimes be detected within a coma. As comets approach the sun, some, but not all, develop a tail that extends for millions of kilometers.
88 Comet s Tail Points Away from the Sun
90 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Halley s Comet 1986 The most famous shortperiod comet is Halley s comet. Its orbital period is 76 years.
92 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Comets Kuiper Belt Like the asteroids in the inner solar system, most Kuiper belt comets move in nearly circular orbits that lie roughly in the same plane as the planets.
95 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Comets Oort Cloud Comets with long orbital periods appear to be distributed in all directions from the sun, forming a spherical shell around the solar system called the Oort cloud.
97 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Meteoroids A meteoroid is a small, solid particle that travels through space.
98 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Meteoroids A meteor is the luminous phenomenon observed when a meteoroid enters Earth s atmosphere and burns up, popularly called a shooting star.
100 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Meteoroids A meteorite is any portion of a meteoroid that reaches Earth s surface.
102 Meteor lake Kaali, Estonia
104 Crater Lake Oregon
105 23.4 Minor Members of the Solar System Most meteoroids originate from any one of the following three sources: (1) interplanetary debris that was not gravitationally swept up by the planets during the formation of the solar system, (2) material from the asteroid belt, or (3) the solid remains of comets that once traveled near Earth s orbit.
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