Start Getting Noticed

The Sun, the Moon and Keeping the Planets in Order

In Universe Project on March 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm

The Sun and the Moon are two of my favorite things in the sky. The Sun lights soccer fields, all over the Earth – and at night, I always imagine the Moon as a big glowing, well-worn soccer ball.

Here are a few things you might not know about the Sun and the Moon…

SUN

The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System. It has a diameter of about 865,000 miles (about 109 Earths). Its composition (by mass) is about three-quarters hydrogen and one-quarter helium; less than 2% consists of other elements, including iron, oxygen, carbon, neon, and others.

The Sun’s color is white, although from the surface of the Earth it may appear yellow. The Sun is now presumed to be brighter than about 85% of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Light travels from the Sun to Earth in about 8 minutes and 19 seconds. The energy of this sunlight supports almost all life on Earth by photosynthesis, and drives Earth’s climate and weather.

THE EARTH’S MOON

The Moon is Earth’s only natural satellite and the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System. The average center-to-center distance from the Earth to the Moon is 238,857 miles. The Moon makes a complete orbit around the Earth every 27.3 days, and the periodic variations in the geometry of the Earth–Moon–Sun system are responsible for the phases of the Moon, which repeat every 29.5 days.

The Moon’s diameter is 2,159 miles, a little more than a quarter of Earth’s.

The Moon is the only celestial body on which human beings have made a manned landing. The United States’ NASA Apollo program achieved the only manned missions to date, beginning with the first manned lunar mission by Apollo 8 in 1968. On November 13, 2009, NASA announced the discovery of proof that water exists on the Moon, based on data obtained from its lunar impact mission.

THE ORDER OF THE PLANETS

Ever have a problem remembering the order of the planets? If so, just memorize the sentence, below, and you’ll never have another problem! And if your mother needs a good Nachos recipe… (Click Here).

My
Very
Educated
Mother
Just
Served
Us
Nachos

The photo, below, shows how the planets are ordered in our solar system.

Click on this image to make it larger

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COOL 3-MINUTE VIDEO ON THE SIZE OF PLANETS AND STARS

To see the full screen version of this video, which is strongly suggested, scroll up to the top of this page and click on the title of this post “The Sun, the Moon and Keeping the Planets in Order” and then scroll back down to the bottom of the page, before beginning the video.


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USE THE PLANET SIZE COMPARISON TOOL
(Click on the image, below, to get started)

Click on the image, above, to begin comparing the size of planets


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THE REAL COLORS OF THE PLANETS

Often in books, magazines or web sites (even this one), we see pictures of bright, colorful planets. These photos are either taken through special filters or touched up afterwords. This is done in order to bring out greater details of the planets.

The following is the real color of the planets:

Mercury
Grey

Venus
Yellowish Atomsphere (with Iron Grey Surface)

Earth
Blue, with patches of White, Green and Brown

Mars
Reddish

Jupiter
Bands of Orange and White

Saturn
Yellowish, with spots of other colors (even Red)

Uranus
Light Blue-Green

Neptune
Blue

If you want to learn more, read the article on this subject in Universe Today. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

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