The Solar System
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The Solar System
OurÂ solar system consists of our star, the Sun, and everything bound to it by gravity -Â the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, dwarf planets such as Pluto, dozens of moons and millions of asteroids, meteoroids, comets and oort cloud.
TheÂ SunÂ is aÂ star. There are lots ofÂ stars, but theÂ Sun is the closest one to Earth. It is the center of our solar system- the SunÂ is a hot ball of glowing gases.
Sunspots form on the surface of the Sun due to strong magnetic field lines coming up from within the Sun through the solar surface and appear visibly as dark.
The surface of the Sun is never still – this burning ball of gas, a continual flow of super-hot plasma creates ropes of magnetic fields that can twist and tangle with one another.
Life cycle of our Sun
The Solar System was formed around 4.6 billion years ago from a large cloud of dust and gas, called aÂ nebula – this collapsed under its own gravity, transferring gravitational potential energyÂ toÂ kinetic energyÂ in its particles.
There are more planets than stars in our galaxy – the current count orbiting our star is eight;Â The inner, rocky planets areÂ Mercury,Â Venus,Â EarthÂ andÂ Mars / The outer planets are gas giants JupiterÂ andÂ SaturnÂ and ice giantsÂ UranusÂ andÂ Neptune.Â Beyond Neptune, a newer class of smaller worlds called dwarf planets reign, including lasting existing favorite Pluto.
Planets to the edge of the Oort Cloud
The Oort cloud is a theoretical cloud of predominantly icy solid objects that are believed to surround the Solar System at distances ranging from 2.000 to 200.000 AU as the comets orbits are elliptical and their aphelion point is usually at a relatively common distance of 20.000 AU, further suggesting the existence of the reservoir of comets.
Moons – also known as natural satellites – orbit planets and asteroids, there are more than 200 moons in our solar system – most orbit the giant planets with Saturn and Jupiter leading moon counts, but even smaller worlds like Pluto can have five moons in orbit. Also moonsÂ come in many shapes, sizes and types.
Rotation is the process or act of turning or circling around something -an exampleÂ ofÂ rotation is the earth’s orbit around the sun.
The period of 3651/4 solar days required for one revolution of the earth around the sun as one year.
Day and Night
We have day and night because the Earth rotates – it spins on its axis, so daytime is when you can see the sun from where you are, and its light and heat can reach you and nighttimeÂ is when the sun is on the other side of the Earth from you, and its light and heat don’t get to you.
An eclipse happens when a planet or a moon gets in the way of the Sun’s light – there are four types of eclipses; there are four different types ofÂ solarÂ eclipse, namely Partial eclipse, Annular eclipse, Total Eclipse and Hybrid Eclipse.
Next Eclipses to be seen
List of Solar and LunarÂ Eclipses worldwide and the UK for next eclipses to be seen – check where the eclipsesÂ areÂ visibleÂ and if you canÂ seeÂ them.
A solar calendarÂ is aÂ calendarÂ whose dates indicate the season or almost equivalently the apparent position of the Sun relative to the stars.
An atmosphere is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in place by the gravity of that body – an atmosphere is more likely to be retained if the gravity it is subject to is high and the temperature of the atmosphere is low.
Liquid water is found in bodies of water, such as an ocean, sea, lake, river, stream, canal, pond, or puddle – the majority of water on Earth is sea water. Water is also present in the atmosphere in solid, liquid, and vapor states. It also exists as groundwater in aquifers as the underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, rock fractures or unconsolidated materials.
TidesÂ are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun, and the rotation of the Earth.
A magnetosphere is a region of space surrounding an astronomical object in which charged particles are manipulated or affected by that object’s magnetic field – it is created by a star or planet with an active interior dynamo.
An aurora, sometimes referred to as polar lights, northern lights, or southern lights, is a natural light display in the Earth’s sky, predominantly seen in the high-latitude regions. Auroras are the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind.
A meteor shower is a celestial event in which a number of meteors are observed to radiate, or originate, from one point in the night sky – these meteors are caused by streams of cosmic debris called meteoroids entering Earth’s atmosphere at extremely high speeds on parallel trajectories.
A meteorite is a solid piece of debris from an object, such as a comet, asteroid, or meteoroid, that originated in outer space and survived its passage through the atmosphere to reach the surface of a planet or moon.
An impact crater is an approximately circular depression in the surface of a planet, moon, or other solid body in the Solar System or elsewhere that formed by the hypervelocity which is very high speed in a given direction approximately over 3,000 meters per second to impact.