2 Our Solar System!!! Solar System scaled to accurate size, not distance from the Sun.
3 The Order of the Solar System Although not to scale, this diagram shows where all the objects in our Solar System are located in relation to the Sun. Neptune Uranus Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud of Comets Eris Milky Way Saturn Pluto Jupiter Sun Venus Earth Mars Asteroid Belt Comet Mercury Moon Ceres
4 The Sun The One Star in Our Solar System
5 Solar Flares and Sunspots Solar flares (bottom right) are large explosions in the sun s atmosphere. Sunspots are temporary areas of reduced temperature on the surface of the sun. Because they re cooler than the rest of the surface, they appear darker. Sunspots are caused by magnetism.
6 The Inner Rocky Planets Mercury Venus Earth Mars
7 The Outer Gas Giants Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune
8 Mercury Closest Planet to the Sun Smallest planet in Solar System. Very thin atmosphere. Heavily cratered. No moon.
9 Venus Hottest Planet in Solar System Very thick atmosphere. No Moon.
10 The Magellan Probe (left) used radar to make images of Venus surface. There are many craters, active volcanoes and solidified lava fields. The Magellan Probe was launched from the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 1989 and operated until 1994 when it was deliberately sent into Venus atmosphere and disintegrated.
11 Earth The Living Planet!!!
12 Earth s Companion - The Moon Heavily cratered. Very dry. Small ice deposits at poles. No atmosphere. The only other world people have visited.
13 Buzz Aldrin on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969!
14 Earthrise from Apollo 8, taken in December 1968
15 Mars The Red Planet A very cold, dry desert. Thin atmosphere. Scientists have explored a great deal of this planet with robots.
16 Mars Rovers and Landers Past and Present Sojourner ( ) Twin rovers Spirit (landed 2004 Mission Completed 2011) and Opportunity (2004-Present) Phoenix Lander (2008) Mars Science Laboratory - AKA Curiosity (Launch in 2011)
17 The Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mapped the surface of the red planet. Mars Global Surveyor ( ) Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (2005 Present)
18 Features of Mars Olympus Mons The largest volcano in our solar system. Now believed to be extinct, it is nearly three times taller than Mt. Everest and covers an area roughly the size of Arizona. Victoria Crater Impact crater nearly half a mile wide. Visited by mars rover Opportunity in Valles Marineris The largest canyon in the solar system, to walk from one side to another would be like walking from Los Angeles to New York.
19 Phobos and Deimos - Moons of Mars or Captured Asteroids? These tiny moons are most likely asteroids, captured by Mars gravity. Phobos, the larger of the two, is only around 7 miles wide, while Deimos is barely 4. Phobos (left) is destined to impact on the surface of Mars while Deimos will eventually escape the planet s gravity and fly away.
20 The Asteroid Belt Asteroids are small rocky objects of various shapes and sizes that orbit the sun. Most of them are found in an area between Mars and Jupiter called the Main Asteroid Belt.
21 Ceres Asteroid or Dwarf Planet? Below: Dwarf planet Ceres (bottom left), the largest object in the asteroid belt, compared to the Earth, and Moon.
22 Some Famous Asteroids Ida 19.5 miles long. Has a small satellite. Mathilde Gaspra Eros - 10 miles long Dactyl ft. wide. Itokawa Steins Vesta at roughly 330 miles across, the largest asteroid in the asteroid belt. Lutetia
23 Jupiter The Largest Planet in the Solar System So big that all the other planets and moons can fit inside. Has 63 known moons. One of four planets that has a ring. Famous for it s great red spot a large storm that has been active for at least 400 years.
24 Storms of the Solar System Venus Double Vortex Hurricanes and Typhoons on Earth Jupiter s Great Red Spot Hexagon of Saturn Methane Rain Cloud on Saturn s Moon Titan Neptune s Blue Spot
25 Moons of Jupiter Io Moon with active volcanoes Europa Icy moon with an ocean?
26 Liquid water could exist under the icy crust of Jupiter s moon Europa. If water is there, could life be there also? Possible layer of liquid water.
27 Moons of Jupiter Ganymede The Solar System s largest moon Callisto Heavily cratered moon
28 Ganymede (bottom left) is the solar system s largest moon. It is larger than the planet Mercury and all five dwarf planets. Here it is compared to the Earth and our Moon.
29 Saturn The Ring Planet Has as many as 69 moons. The rings are made of small bits of ice.
30 Titan - Saturn s Largest Moon Moon with Atmosphere Thick cloud cover obscures our view of Titan s surface. The Cassini-Huygens probe (below) found that the atmosphere is mostly nitrogen gas. Though Earth s atmosphere is mostly nitrogen also, there is no oxygen in Titan s atmosphere.
31 Like Earth, but Very Different Cassini-Huygens was able to map out the surface of Titan through the haze. Some features on Titan appear similar to Earth, but in fact are very different. The surface (bottom left) resembles a rocky desert, but the average temperature is a bitterly cold -290 F. It has volcanoes like Sotra Facula (right), but they may erupt water instead of lava. Titan has large lakes, but instead of water, they are filled with liquid methane, a gas on earth. Ligeia Mare (bottom middle) is about the size of Lake Superior (bottom right). On Titan it rains liquid methane as well.
32 Enceladus Moon with Geysers The presence of salt water geysers on Saturn s moon Enceladus leads many scientists to believe there may be an underground ocean inside this tiny world. If so, it may be a place where life can exist.
33 Uranus The Tilted Planet Has 27 moons and 13 rings. First planet confirmed with the use of a telescope. Scientists aren t exactly sure why Uranus is tilted on its side. It may have been the result of a collision with an Earth-sized object.
34 Miranda The broken moon. Miranda s cracked appearance was once thought to have been caused by a collision. The moon was shattered, then gravity reassembled it. Now scientists believe that the patchwork surface was actually the result of volcanic activity caused by Uranus gravitational pull on Miranda. Below: Miranda s Verona Rupes At over three miles high, it is the Solar System s tallest cliff.
35 Neptune The Blue Planet Windiest planet in the Solar System, can sustain winds of over 1300 mph. Famous blue spot is a storm. Has 13 moons and thin, broken rings.
36 Triton - Moon with Nitrogen Volcanoes Scientists believe Neptune s largest moon, Triton, was a Kuiper belt object, like Pluto, that was captured by Neptune s gravity. Triton actually orbits Neptune backwards as it slows down. The pressure Neptune s gravity exerts on Triton is tearing the moon apart from the inside. Nitrogen gas from the interior is forced through the surface, ejecting black plumes of dust. Waterammonia volcanoes are also present. Eventually, Neptune s gravity will break Triton apart from within.
37 Beyond Neptune The Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud lie past the orbit of Neptune. Dwarf Planets like Pluto and Eris are located in the Kuiper Belt, along with perhaps billions of comets and other icy bodies. Past the Kuiper belt lies the Oort Cloud, where possibly billions more comets and icy bodies exist.
38 Pluto The First Dwarf Planet Has two moons Hydra and Nix Launched in 2006, New Horizons is scheduled to arrive at Pluto in It should provide the first detailed images of Pluto. The dwarf planet is so distant that the blurry image at right, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, is the most detailed view we have so far.
39 Charon Moon of Pluto or Dwarf Planet? Hubble Space Telescope image of Charon Above: Artist s conception of Pluto and its moons. Because of Charon s large size (about half the size of Pluto) it doesn t actually orbit its companion. Rather, they circle each other. This has led many to call them a binary or dual dwarf planet.
40 The Five Dwarf Planets
41 Comets Dirty Snowballs Mostly found in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud. The Stardust mission collected dust from Comet Wild 2 (above) and brought it back to Earth for study. The Deep Impact probe colliding with Comet Tempel 1.
42 Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was captured and broken into over 20 pieces (below) by Jupiter s immense gravity. The fragments collided with the planet from July 16-22, Scientists believe that Jupiter s gravity protects the inner planets from impacts. Rogue comets and asteroids often hit Jupiter instead. The dark impact site below is the size of planet Earth. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Impacting with Jupiter!
43 Comet Tail Comets usually have two tails. The red tail is mostly dust while the blue tail is made of gas.
44 Sedna Oort Cloud Object? Artist impression of Sedna, a Dwarf Planet Candidate. It may be part of the Oort Cloud, the farthest known bodies in our solar system.
45 Beyond the Oort Cloud Over 500 planets have been discovered orbiting stars other than our Sun. These are called extrasolar planets. At left: Artist s conception of 51 Pegasi b, the first extra-solar planet discovered orbiting a sunlike star. Nicknamed Bellerophon, it is called a Hot Jupiter because it is a gas giant orbiting very close to its parent star.
46 Goldilocks Planet? The red dwarf star Gliese 581 may have as many as three planets orbiting in its habitable or Goldilocks zone, where it s not too hot or too cold for liquid water to exist, but just right. If liquid water is present on one or more of these planets, might life be there as well? Artist impression of Gliese 581 g, a possible earth-like planet. Red dwarf star Gliese 581 is in the background. Artist Credit Lynette Cook
47 Our Galaxy, the Milky Way! There may be more than 200 billion stars in our Milky Way. The Sun is just one of them. How many earthlike planets could there be in our galaxy alone?
48 Beyond the Milky Way! This ultra deep field photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope (right) does not show billions of stars, but rather billions of galaxies!
49 Recommended Websites Ames Research Center Astronomy Magazine European Space Agency Goddard Space Flight Center Johnson Space Center Keck Observatory Kennedy Space Center NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA Photojournal Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Photos courtesy of NASA/JPL unless otherwise noted.
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