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OUR SOLAR SYSTEM OUR POWERHOUSE- THE SUN The Sun Fast Facts: Distance from Earth:149.6 million km Diameter:1,390,000 km Temperatures: Core:16 million.

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Presentation on theme: "OUR SOLAR SYSTEM OUR POWERHOUSE- THE SUN The Sun Fast Facts: Distance from Earth:149.6 million km Diameter:1,390,000 km Temperatures: Core:16 million."— Presentation transcript:




4 The Sun Fast Facts: Distance from Earth:149.6 million km Diameter:1,390,000 km Temperatures: Core:16 million degrees C Surface:6,100 degrees C Rotation:28.6 days Composition:71% hydrogen 26.5% helium 2.5% other elements Mass:332,900 x Earth’s

5 MISSIONS TO THE SUN: Ulysses is the first spacecraft to study the unexplored region of space above our Sun’s poles. It was launched in Oct 1990. The international Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) spacecraft has been keeping a steady watch on the Sun since April 1996. Keeping the Sun under almost constant observation, SOHO has been able to warn Earth about approaching coronal mass ejections that could potentially disrupt communications. INTERESTING TIDBITS: - The next star is almost 300,000 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun! -You would have to explode 100,000,000,000 tons of dynamite every second to match the energy produced by the Sun. - 99.8% of the mass of the solar system is in the Sun. SOHO

6 There are millions of similar stars in the Milky Way Galaxy (and billions of galaxies in the universe). Our Sun supports life on Earth. It powers photosynthesis in green plants and is ultimately the source of all food and fossil fuel. The connection and interaction between the Sun and the Earth drive the seasons, currents in the ocean, weather, and climate.


8 The Planet Mercury Fast Facts: Namesake:Messenger of the Roman Gods Diameter:4878 km (The Earth is 12,756 km) Distance from Sun:57.8 million km (36 million miles) Temperatures: Day:467 degrees C Night:-183 degrees C Rotation:59 Earth days Revolution:88 Earth days Biggest Temperature Difference in the Solar System!

9 MISSIONS TO MERCURY: MESSENGER is a scientific investigation of the planet Mercury. Understanding Mercury, and the forces that have shaped it, is fundamental to understanding the terrestrial planets and their evolution. MESSENGER's journey will include one Earth flyby, two Venus flybys and three Mercury flybys before it enters orbit in 2011. The flybys will help focus the science mission when MESSENGER enters orbit. The spacecraft is expected to orbit Mercury for one year. MESSENGER was launched on August 2, 2004. INTERESTING TIDBITS: MESSENGER is only the second spacecraft sent to Mercury. The last one - Mariner 10 - completed its mission in 1975. Mercury is the least explored of our solar system's inner planets. Mariner 10 Messenger

10 VENUS Earth’s Sister Planet

11 The Planet Venus Fast Facts: Namesake:Roman Goddess of Love Diameter:12,100 km (The Earth is 12,756 km) Distance from Sun:108.2 million km (67 million miles) Temperature:484 degrees C (900 degrees F) Rotation:243 days (Retrograde) Revolution:225 Earth days Atmosphere:Carbon Dioxide The OPPOSITE of the Earth’s rotation! The HOTTEST planet in the Solar System!

12 MISSIONS TO VENUS: Mariner 2, developed to fly by Venus, studied the planet's atmosphere and surface. It was launched in Aug 1962. Mariner 5 flew within 4,000 kilometers (approximately 2,500 miles) of Venus. It was launched in Jun 1967. Magellan orbited Venus and mapped 99 percent of its surface when it was launched in May 1989. INTERESTING TIDBITS: - Venus is only similar to the Earth in size, mass and composition. - It contains sulfuric acid clouds and it’s atmosphere contains Abut 96% carbon dioxide. - It’s atmosphere is so dense it’s surface pressure is 90 times that of Earth! -Because of the “Greenhouse Effect” Venus is the hottest planet in the solar system Magellan Mariner 2


14 The Planet Earth (The only planet known to contain life) Fast Facts: Diameter:12,756 km Distance from Sun:149.6 million km Rotation:23.93 hours Revolution:365.26 days Tilt:23.45 degrees INTERESTING TIDBITS: - All of the things we need to survive are provided under a thin layer of atmosphere that separates us from the uninhabitable void of space. - Oceans at least 4 km deep cover nearly 70 percent of Earth's surface.

15 MISSIONS TO EARTH: Sputnik was the opening shot in the space race between the United States and the former Soviet Union. The basketball-sized spacecraft was the world's first artificial satellite. It orbited the Earth sending back a beeping signal for 23 days. It was launched in Oct 1957. Explorer 1 was the first spacecraft successfully launched by the U.S. It orbited Earth every 115 minutes. It carried instruments to measure cosmic rays, micrometeorites, and its own temperature, transmitting this data until February 28, 1958. Explorer 1 found a radiation belt around Earth. The Galileo spacecraft found evidence of life on Earth. Not a surprising discovery, but the use of instruments to detect traces of life in a planet's atmosphere will be useful as future space probes continue to seek evidence of life beyond Earth.Galileo's cameras captured unique never-before-seen views of Antarctica and also the Earth and Moon together - a glimpse at what someone from another world might see as they approached our little piece of the solar system. Galileo was launched in Oct 1989. From the vantage point of space we are able to observe our planet globally, as we do other planets, to understand the delicate balance among its oceans, air, land, and life. Explorer 1 Sputnik


17 The Moon Fast Facts: Diameter:3,476 km Mass:1/81the Mass of Earth Rotation:27.3 days Revolution:27.3 days Average Distance from Earth:384,400 Km (238,850 mi) Temperature: Day:123 degrees Celsius Night:-233 degrees Celsius Gravity:1/6th of Earth’s INTERESTING TIDBITS: - Galileo made the first telescopic observations of the moon. - Temps range from -387 to 253 °F - About 842 pounds of Moon rocks and soil have been returned by Apollo astronauts. So, if you can jump 2 feet on the Earth you can jump 12 feet on the moon! How would the temperature, gravity and the absence of an atmosphere affect human colonization?

18 MISSIONS TO THE MOON: -Pioneer 4 was the first successful U.S. mission to the Moon and the first U.S. spacecraft to escape Earth's gravity. It was the first American spacecraft to achieve an orbit around our Sun. It was launched in Aug 1958. -The Apollo program was designed to land humans on The Moon and bring them safely back to Earth. Six of the missions achieved this goal and two circled the Moon and took photos of it’s surface. The program lasted from 1963-1972. - Other past programs: Ranger, Explorer, Surveyor, Clementine, Lunar Prospector. CURRENT PROGRAMS TO STUDY THE MOON: - Two Japanese and one European Space Agency probes. FUTURE MISSIONS: The proposed Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter would use powerful instruments and cameras to identify future landing sites for future robotic and human explorers. It would be launched in Sep 2008. Ranger 7 Apollo 12 Mission


20 The Planet Mars Fast Facts: Namesake:Roman God of War Diameter:6,786 km (The Earth is 12,756 km) Distance from Sun:253 million km (142 million miles) Temperature:-143 degrees C to 17 degrees C Rotation:24.6 hours Revolution:687 Earth days Atmosphere:Carbon Dioxide Moons (2):Phobos and Deimos Gravity:1/3 of Earth’s Man-made, Alien-made or naturally occurring? :-)

21 MISSIONS TO MARS: Four Mariner satellites took pictures and orbited Mars from 1964-1972. Vikings 1 and 2 landed on Mars in the fall of 1976. Spirit is the first of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers to reach Mars in January 2004. Its robotic twin- Opportunity - landed on the opposite side of the planet. Launched in Aug 2005, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will track changes in Mars' atmosphere,look for more evidence of ancient seas and hot springs and study surface minerals. Five other Mars missions are planned for the future to study it’s ice caps, soil and to bring back samples to Earth. INTERESTING TIDBITS: - Mars has the highest volcanic mountain in the solar system - 27 km high and 600 km accross - It also has a canyon that stretches the distance from New York to Los Angeles Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Spirit

22 ASTEROIDS Mathilde, Gaspra and Ida

23 ASTEROIDS - Asteroids are rocky fragments left over from the formation of the solar system - Most are fragments of ancient space rubble - They orbit the Sun in a belt between Mars and Jupiter - They range in size from Ceres, which at 940 km in diameter (about one-quarter the diameter of our Moon), to bodies that are less than 1 km across. There are more than 90,000 numbered asteroids and over a million total.

24 TERRESTRIAL PLANETS: - Solid surfaces - Similar densities JOVIAN PLANETS: - Gas giants - Have rings


26 The Planet Jupiter Fast Facts: Namesake:King of Roman Gods Diameter:143,200 km Distance from Sun:778.3 million km (484 million miles) Temperature:-148 degrees C Rotation:9 hrs 55 min Revolution:11.9 Earth years Atmosphere:Hydrogen and Helium Moons:63 Rings:4 Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto - moons of Jupiter This storm has been around for about 300 years! Over 12 Earth diameters! By far the most in the solar system!

27 MISSIONS TO JUPITER: -Pioneer 10 - the first spacecraft to travel through the asteroid belt and take images and other data about Jupiter.It launched in 1972 - Voyagers 1 and 2 - Both examined in detail the active moons of Jupiter. Both were launched in 1977. Voyager 1 is continuing its journey toward interstellar space, and is now farther from Earth than any other spacecraft. INTERESTING TIDBITS: - More than 1,000 Earths would fit inside Jupiter. - It’s moon Io, is the most volcanically active body in the solar system. - It consist of the same material as the Sun: hydrogen and helium - It’s interior pressure may reach 100 million times the surface pressure on Earth Voyager 1 Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact scars

28 NASA's proposed Prometheus One spacecraft could orbit three of Jupiter’s most intriguing moons - Callisto, Ganymede and Europa. All three planet-sized moons may have oceans beneath their icy surfaces. Prometheus One could study the moons' makeup, history and potential for sustaining life in unprecedented detail. The spacecraft also could pioneer the use of electric propulsion powered by a nuclear fission reactor. The propulsion system will provide enough power to enter and leave the orbits of the moons. The engine development is part of NASA's Prometheus initiative to pioneer new methods of space propulsion. NASA is hoping for a launch around the year 2015. PROMETHEUS ONE


30 The Planet Saturn “The Jewel of the Solar System” Fast Facts: Namesake:Roman God of Agriculture Diameter:120,536 km (Earth is 12,756 km) Distance from Sun:1.4 billion km (886 million miles) Temperature:-178 degrees C Rotation:10 hrs 40 min Revolution:29.5 Earth years Atmosphere:Hydrogen and Helium Number of Moons:46 Rings:Thousands Saturn and one of its moons Saturn’s rings were first discovered by Galileo in 1610.

31 MISSIONS TO SATURN: - Pioneer 11 - The first to visit Saturn and took close-up pictures. Launched in 1973, it made to Saturn in 1979. - Like Jupiter, Voyagers 1 and 2 also collected data on Saturn. INTERESTING TIDBITS: - Saturn’s moon Titan is larger than Mercury and Pluto. - Thousands of rings made of up billions of particles of ice and rock orbit Saturn. The particles range in size from a grain of sugar to the size of a house. - The wind speeds at Saturn's equator can reach 1,100 mph. Earth's most violent tornadoes hit 200 mph. Cassini Pioneer 11

32 Cassini is the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn. The NASA orbiter is studying the intriguing features of Saturn's system of rings and moons. It also delivered the European Space Agency's Huygens Probe into the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan. The spacecraft reached speeds of 70,700 mph on its way to the ringed planet after being launched in 1997. Just hours after it arrived at Saturn, the orbiter sent back surprising science data and images that shed new light on the structure of Saturn's beautiful rings. The orbiter's 4-year primary mission should reveal much about Saturn and its intriguing system of rings and moons. Cassini-Huygens One of the First images of Titan’s Surface


34 The Planet Uranus “The Sideways Planet” Fast Facts: Namesake:Roman God, Father of the Titans Diameter:51,120 km (The Earth is 12,756 km) Distance from Sun:2.9 billion km (1.8 billion miles) Temperature:-216 degrees C (-357 degrees F) Rotation:17 hrs 14 min Revolution:84 Earth years Atmosphere:Hydrogen and Helium Rings:11 Moons:27 Saturn’s “beat up” moon Miranda Uranus rotates “sideways”!

35 MISSIONS TO URANUS: - In 1986, Voyager 2 flew by Uranus at a distance of 50,600 miles. - No other missions have been to Uranus and none are planned. INTERESTING TIDBITS: -Uranus gets its blue-green color from methane gas above the deeper cloud layers. Methane makes up only 2% of the atmosphere. - It is the only planet that is tilted on its side. Voyager 2


37 The Planet Neptune Fast Facts: Namesake:Roman God of the Sea Diameter:49,500 km (The Earth is 12,756 km) Distance from Sun:4.5 billion km (2.8 billion miles) Temperature:-214 degrees C (-353 degrees F) Rotation:16 hours Revolution:165 Earth years Atmosphere:Hydrogen and Helium Number of Rings:4 Number of Moons:13

38 MISSIONS TO NEPTUNE: - In 1989, Voyager 2 skimmed the north pole of Neptune by a mere 4800 kilometers (3000 miles), and determined basic characteristics of Neptune and its largest moon Triton: color, cloud-top features, size, mass, composition, temperature, and rotation rate. - No other missions are planned. INTERESTING TIDBITS: -Neptune is actually the farthest planet from the Sun for a 20-year period out of every 248 Earth years. - Neptune may be the windiest planet in the solar system. Winds tear through the clouds at more than 1,200 mph (2,000 kph). Saturn’s moon, Triton


40 The Planet Pluto Fast Facts: Namesake:Roman God of the Underworld Diameter:2,400 km (The Earth is 12,756 km) Distance from Sun:5.9 billion km (3.7 billion miles) Temperature:-233 degrees C (-387 degrees F) Rotation:6.4 days Revolution:248 Earth years Moons:1

41 MISSIONS TO PLUTO: NEW HORIZONS - This spacecraft would use imaging instruments and conduct other experiments, to characterize the geology of Pluto and its moon Charon, and map their surface composition. New Horizons is programmed to be launched in January 2006 and will reach Pluto around 2016. INTERESTING TIDBITS: - Pluto, the smallest planet, is the only planet not yet visited by a spacecraft. - Pluto and Charon are so far away they are difficult to see - even with powerful telescopes. Even the best pictures are very fuzzy. We can only guess what Pluto's surface looks like. Pluto and Charon Taken by Hubble New Horizons

42 COMETS - Comets are big chunks of ice, rock and gas. They are dirty snowballs leftover from the beginning of our solar system. - Comets get their name from the Greek word "kometes" (long hair) - a reference to their tails. - Comets orbit the Sun like planets. Most comets orbit way out beyond the orbit of Pluto.

43 MISSIONS TO COMETS: - DEEP IMPACT: This spacecraft impacted with comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005. Debris from the impact is being studied. - STARDUST: On January 2, 2004, Stardust flew within 236 kilometers of Comet Wild 2 and captured thousands of particles for return on Earth in January 2006. - ROSETTA: Rosetta is on a 10-year mission to explore a distant comet. It will orbit the comet around 2014 and make observations for about two years as the comet approaches the Sun. Rosetta will also release a small lander packed with scientific instruments to make the first-ever landing on the surface of a comet. Deep Impact’s impact! Rosetta

44 OUR TENTH PLANET? This artist's concept shows the planet catalogued as 2003UB313 at the lonely outer fringes of our solar system. Our Sun can be seen in the distance. The new planet, which is yet to be formally named, is at least as big as Pluto and about three times farther away from the Sun than Pluto. It is very cold and dark. The planet was discovered by the Samuel Oschin Telescope at the Palomar Observatory near San Diego, Calif., on Jan. 8, 2005.

45 WHAT IS THE KUIPER BELT? The Kuiper Belt is made up of millions of icy and rocky objects that orbit our Sun beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto. It's hard to say exactly what's going on in the Kuiper Belt. Even the biggest of the Kuiper Belt Objects is smaller than the United States and it is billions of miles away where the Sun's light is weak. After it flies past Pluto and Charon, the New Horizons spacecraft will head into the Kuiper Belt. It will be the first spacecraft to explore this mysterious region. The artist's rendition shows the newly discovered planet-like object, dubbed 'Sedna,' in relation to other bodies in the Solar System, including Earth and its Moon; Pluto; and Quaoar, a planetoid beyond Pluto that was until now the largest known object beyond Pluto.

46 OTHER PLANETS IN OUR GALAXY In 1991, the nine worlds of our own solar system were the only known planets. In 1991 radio astronomers detected the first extrasolar planets orbiting a dying pulsar star. Since then more than 100 planets have been found orbiting other stars. “ Hubble Takes First Image of a Possible Planet around Another Star and Finds a Runaway World” NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has given astronomers their first direct look at what is possibly a planet outside our solar system — one apparently that has been ejected into deep space by its parent stars. The image was taken on August 4, 1997.

47 All information and images in this presentation was derived from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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