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Planets & Solar System The Complete Manual Planets & Solar System The Complete Manual

Planets & Solar System The Complete Manual

Planets and Solar System The Complete Manual 2016

Discover Earth’s place in the Solar System and how it compares to its neighbouring planets in this pocket-sized guide. Learn all you need to know about each planet from Mercury to Neptune, and even gain an understanding of Pluto and why it’s not strictly a planet with the latest news from the New Horizon. Which planet has the most dangerous atmosphere, or the most moons, or the most potential for life? You’ll find the answers to these questions and many more within these pages. Featuring: Birth of the Solar System - Learn about the theories behind origins of our planetary system. The Sun - Understand why this star makes life possible on Earth. The Earth & Moon - Take a closer look at our home planet and its only satellite, the Moon. Planets of the Solar system - Tour our nearest neighbours in the Solar System, planet-by-planet.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
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IN THIS ISSUE

1 min.
welcome to planets & solar system the complete manual

Throughout history, humankind has looked up at the stars and wondered what they were. Playing a central role in mythology, philosophy and superstition, it wasn’t until the rise of astronomy that we began to understand these celestial bodies. After Galileo Galilei’s incredible discovery, we now know the role of the Sun as the centre of a system of planets, dubbed the Solar System. As new technology advances we discover more and more about our fellow planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the dwarf planet Pluto. Read on to discover just how much we’ve learned about our neighbours so far, and how much more knowledge is still to come.…

10 min.
birth of the solar system

Around 4.5 billion years ago, our Sun and all the other objects that orbit around it were born from an enormous cloud of interstellar gas and dust, similar to the glowing emission nebulae we see scattered across today’s night sky. Astronomers have understood this basic picture of the birth of the Solar System for a long time, but the details of just how the process happened have only become clear much more recently – and now new theories, discoveries and computer models are showing that the story is still far from complete. Today, it seems that not only did the planets form in a far more sudden and dynamic way than previously suspected, but also that the young Solar System was rather different from that we know now. The so-called ‘nebular…

6 min.
the birth of the planets

1 Shapeless cloud 4.5 billion years ago, the Solar System's raw materials lay in a cloud of gas and dust. Dominant components were hydrogen and helium, but also carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and dust grains 2 Collapse begins The trigger for an emission nebula produces condensation in regions of the cloud with high densities. Each gives rise to a group of stars – once the first begin to shine, their radiation helps energise the nebula, dictating where the younger generations of stars form 3 Individual systems As material falls inward, collisions between gas clouds and particles cancel out movements in opposing directions, while the conservation of angular momentum causes the cloud’s central regions to spin faster 4 Flattening disc The result is a spinning disc, its orientation derived from the slow rotation of the original globule. Dust and…

2 min.
inside the sun

The Sun was formed from a massive gravitational collapse when space dust and gas from a nebula collided, and became an orb 100 times as big and over 300,000 times as heavy as Earth. Made up of 70 per cent hydrogen and about 28 per cent helium (plus other gases), the Sun is the centre of our solar system and the largest celestial body anywhere near us. “The surface of the Sun is a dense layer of plasma at a temperature of 5,800 degrees kelvin, continually moving due to the action of convective motions driven by heating from below,” David Alexander, professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University, says “These convective motions show up as a distribution of granulation cells about 1,000 kilometers across, which appear across the surface.” At its…

5 min.
mercury

“ Mercury has a diameter of 4,880km (3,032 mi); the Sun’s is 1,392,000km (865,000 mi)” Every planet is unique, but Mercury is a planet of paradoxes and extremes, and that’s just based on what we know so far. It’s the innermost planet, the smallest planet and has the most eccentric orbit. We’ve known about its existence since the third millennium BC, when the Sumerians wrote about it. But they thought that it was two separate planets – a morning star and an evening star – because that’s just about the only time you can see it due to its closeness to the Sun. The Greeks knew it was just one planet, and even that it orbited the Sun (long before acknowledging that the Earth did, too). Galileo could see Mercury with…

2 min.
mercury inside and out

The structure of Mercury Mercury contains about 30 per cent silicate materials and 70 per cent metals. Although it’s so small, this make-up also means that it’s incredibly dense at 5.427 grams per cubic centimetre, only a little bit less than the Earth’s mean density. The Earth’s density is due to gravitational compression, but Mercury has such a weak gravitational field in comparison to the Earth’s. That’s why scientists have decided that its density must be due to a large, iron-rich core. Mercury has a higher concentration of iron in its core than any other major planet in the Solar System. Some believe that this huge core is due to what was going on with the Sun while Mercury was forming. If Mercury formed before the energy output from the Sun…