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Archive for the ‘Universe Project’ Category

“Roids” and Comet Tails: Get to Know Them

In Universe Project on March 7, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Here is everything you would want to know about the “roids”. You might want to take notes. There will be a quiz.

ASTEROID BELT

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The asteroid belt is the region of the Solar System located roughly between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. It is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets.

More than half the mass of the main belt is contained in the four largest objects: Ceres, 4 Vesta, 2 Pallas, and 10 Hygiea. These have average diameters of more than 400 km (249 miles). The remaining bodies range down to the size of a dust particle.

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ASTEROIDS

Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets or planetoids, are small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun, especially in the inner Solar System; they are smaller than planets but larger than meteoroids.

The physical composition of asteroids is varied and in most cases poorly understood. Many, perhaps most, of the smaller asteroids are piles of rubble held together loosely by gravity.

Asteroids contain traces of amino-acids and other organic compounds, and some speculate that asteroid impacts may have seeded the early Earth with the chemicals necessary to initiate life, or may have even brought life itself to Earth.

On the flip-side, most scientists believe that an asteroid is what wiped out a lot of life on this plant – namely dinosaurs. In an article published on March 5, 2010, in the journal Science, 41 geologists, paleontologists and other researchers concluded that a giant asteroid (Chicxulub) slammed into Earth in Yucatan, Mexico, blasting a cloud around the world, that led to the end of the dinosaurs.

Below is a map that shows where the asteroid hit – leaving the Chicxulub Crater.

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METEOROIDS

A meteoroid is a sand- to boulder-sized particle of debris in the Solar System. The visible path of a meteoroid that enters Earth’s (or another body’s) atmosphere is called a meteor, or what some call a shooting star. If a meteor reaches the ground and survives impact, then it is called a meteorite.

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The composition of meteoroids can be determined as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere from their trajectories and the light spectra of the resulting meteor. Meteoroids have been found to have many different orbits. Meteoroids can be as fragile as snowball-like objects with density about a quarter that of ice to nickel-iron rich dense rocks.

Meteoroids travel around the sun in a variety of orbits and at various velocities. The fastest ones move at about 26 miles per second through space in the vicinity of Earth’s orbit.

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METEORITES

Doctors Office in Virginia Hit by Falling Meteorite

On January 18, 2010 a baseball-sized meteorite crashed into a Lorton, Va., family medical practice. Around 5:45 p.m., two doctors were in their offices when they heard what sounded like bookshelves crashing to the floor. One of the doctors found a trail of debris in the hallway. Inside the exam room were fallen insulation and three small pieces of rock.

What they found was a chrondrite meteorite. According to NASA it likely originated from a small asteroid measuring approximately one meter across before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, where it started to burn up and disintegrate.

Tons of space material from asteroids and comets rain down on Earth every day. According to NASA, most of it falls as dust, but space objects similar in size to the Virginia meteorite strike Earth once a month, typically landing in oceans or uninhabited areas.

Crashing into a building — and an occupied one at that — makes this meteorite landing unusual, but not a one-of-a-kind occurrence. For example, in 1954, a meteorite crashed through the roof of a Sylacauga, Ala., house, badly bruising the woman inside.

Media reports said the Virginia meteorite was the first to strike a building in the United States since September 2003, when a 44-pound rock smashed through the roof of a New Orleans home.

For now, the rock resides with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, where scientists have conducted experiments on it.

Meteorite That Hit Doctors Office


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COMETS: ION TAILS VS. DUST TAILS

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Comets are small asteroid-like bodies when they are far from the Sun, traveling in highly ellipical orbits about the Sun. When they sweep in close to the Sun, dramatic changes occur as they brighten and develop an extended tail. The nucleus is widely described as a “dirty snowball” composed of ice and some rocky debris.

There is considerable vaporization as they approach the Sun and they develop ion tails and dust tails. The ion tails are almost straight streamers from the nucleus while the usually brighter dust tails are broad and diffuse and curve slightly, lagging behind the radial direction.

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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.

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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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Solar System Jokes, Cartoons, Games and Other Weird Stuff

In Universe Project on March 7, 2010 at 4:12 pm

CLICK HERE AND I’LL DANCE FOR YOU!

(Just Click on the Green Bar – once the page opens).

Click on Me!


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PLAY AN OLD-SCHOOL VIDEO GAME: ATARI ASTEROID
(CLICK HERE)


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Peter:“Did you hear they found life on a (former) planet?”
Mrs. Gardner: “What are you talking about?”
Peter: “They found fleas on Pluto!”
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SPACE MONKEY’S ROCK!

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DON’T FORGET TO FEED THE PLANETS!


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MISS UNIVERSE PAGEANT WINNERS

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THE CALL OF NATURE…IN SPACE

Certain things are a lot harder to do in space – and one big item is the task of going to the bathroom. When astronauts “gotta go” – they must velcro themselves to the toilet, so they don’t float away. One other little thing that might make you think twice about going into space: The urine that is collected from all the astronauts goes into a $250 million recycling machine that converts it into drinking water for the entire crew. Drink up!


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PETER NEWSOM IS GOING TO MARS. I’M SERIOUS.

If there are Martians, they’ll soon have my name and know where to find me. The reason: my name will be on a microchip, on the Mars Science Laboratory rover, heading to Mars in 2011! Click Here and fill in your information and your name will be included, along with mine! See my certificate, below. You might have to click on it – to make it large enough to read.

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