Have you ever wondered what the planets look like? Did you know that Mercury is the smallest planet? Or that Uranus rotates from east to west? Did you know that Venus rotates clockwise? Did you know that Neptune’s days are short? The answer to these questions is simple: a planet is a rounded, large astronomical body orbiting another star. Read on to find out more about these fascinating objects.
Mercury is the smallest planet
Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system, and yet it has the most mysterious features. It has no atmosphere, and the surface is covered with pockmarks from impacts. The Messenger probe, launched in 2004, flew by Mercury three times in 2008 and once in 2009. After settling into orbit in 2011, it mapped the planet’s surface. Scientists have yet to determine what caused the pockmarks, but it is possible that they may be caused by volcanic activity.
The smallest planet in our solar system is Mercury, which is only slightly larger than the moon. Mercury lacks a significant atmosphere to prevent impacts from hitting its surface. But this doesn’t mean it’s not damaged. It’s covered in craters, and an asteroid about 60 miles wide struck Mercury, causing an impact that would destroy Earth. Mercury has a crater as big as Texas, and scientists believe that another impact created the crater, creating the elongated spin that we see today.
Though the smallest planet in our solar system, Mercury is actually larger than Pluto, which is about half the size of Mercury. Researchers have now created a 12-inch globe featuring images from NASA’s Messenger spacecraft. With the new map of Mercury, scientists can better understand how the planet is changing. A 12-inch globe of Mercury with a caption, provided by contributors, will help astronomers learn more about Mercury and other planetary bodies.
Unlike Earth, Mercury has a magnetic field that is offset from the equator. Because the magnetic field of Mercury is so weak, it interacts with the solar wind and channels fast solar wind plasma down to its surface. Mercury’s eccentric egg-shaped orbit ranges from 29 million miles to 43 million miles from the Sun. It also tilts its axis by about two degrees from its orbital plane. Despite the eccentric orbit, Mercury’s temperature variations are insane.
Uranus rotates from east to west
While most planets rotate clockwise around the sun, Uranus’ equator is tilted nearly 90 degrees to its orbit, making it appear to spin on its side. This unusual orientation may have been caused by a collision with an Earth-sized body in the planet’s early history. In addition to rotating on its side, Uranus also has more than two dozen moons and a system of narrow rings.
The planet Uranus takes 84 years to complete an orbit around the sun and passes through each zodiac constellation seven times. The next time it makes an entire orbit, it will take a total of 84 years. Uranus was discovered in 1781 and took seven years to pass through each zodiac constellation. The discovery of its moon, Neptune, resulted from a study of the orbing of the planets.
In this way, the planets have similar orbital motions and spin on axes. In contrast, Venus and Uranus spin in an opposite direction as they orbit the Sun. Scientists believe that Uranus’ unusual orientation is the result of a collision with a planet-sized body or multiple smaller bodies. A collision could have pushed the moon to other planets. This unusual rotation is not attributed to any one cause but rather to the gravitational attraction of the moon.
One of the most fascinating features of Uranus is its many moons. In fact, there are 27 known satellites orbiting Uranus. Unlike Earth’s nine moons, Uranus has two types of outer rings. The innermost ring is reddish, while the outer one is blue, like Saturn’s E ring. These outer moons are called Titania, Miranda, Ariel, and Umbriel.
Venus rotates clockwise
The planet Venus rotates clockwise on its axis, opposite to the way all other planets orbit the Sun. The planetary disks that originally surrounded the Sun rotated counterclockwise, resulting in the formation of planets with the opposite spin. Venus is believed to have been turned upside down by collisions with other celestial bodies sometime during its formation. However, this may not be the case. Rather, it is possible that Venus began spinning in the opposite direction before colliding with a large object early on in its life.
The planet Venus is the closest planet to the sun and is the morning and evening star. The day on Venus is longer than a day on Earth. The day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days, and it seems to rotate in a clockwise direction. If you were standing on Venus, you’d see the sunrise in the west, but it would take you an eternity to witness it. Scientists are currently studying Venus’s relationship to the greenhouse effect.
Although Venus rotates clockwise compared to Uranus, there is no proof that the other planets rotate counterclockwise. This would indicate that Venus was struck by a celestial object of similar size in the early history of the solar system. The Moon, for example, may have formed by colliding with a large asteride. It is possible, however, that Venus was struck by a celestial object of similar size.
Just like the Moon, Venus shows phases. At its closest to the Sun, Venus appears as a small disc, and at its furthest from the Sun, it becomes larger. The planet is the brightest in the night sky, and it resembles a thin “crescent” in telescopic views. Throughout the day, it is the hottest planet in our solar system, yet its diurnal temperature spread is minimal.
Neptune has short days
There are 14 known moons of Neptune. Three of these moons were discovered in 2003, and one was discovered in 2013. The largest moon is Triton. It has a retrograde rotation, which means it spins the opposite direction from the planet’s orbit. Triton likely was once a part of the Kuiper Belt, but has since been gravitationally bound to Neptune. As of 2008, it has eight moons and is the second-largest planet in the solar system.
Voyager 2’s observations of Neptune’s atmosphere revealed two notable weather patterns. These storms resembled the Great Red Spot on Jupiter but last much shorter. After four years, the Dark Spots disappeared. A bright cloud called the Scooter is located above both. The bright cloud travels eastward at varying rates. Both storm systems appear to be connected by a magnetic field. However, the Sun doesn’t appear to be a direct cause of the planet’s short days.
Another reason for Neptune’s short days is that it is very close to Pluto, which is orbiting it on regular intervals. These collisions may cause Neptune to eject Centaur objects, which have elliptical orbits and are likely to disturb the planets. These objects are small, but may still strike the Earth. Some scientists believe that there are as many as 150 similar objects in the same location.
Due to its relatively small size, Neptune’s rotation period is only about 16 hours, while that of the other gas giants takes seventeen hours to complete one revolution. On the other hand, rocky planets like Mars and Jupiter take longer to complete one rotation. Mercury has a rotational time of 1,408 hours – the same as the Earth’s day. The gas giants’ atmosphere is composed of hydrogen and helium, while Mercury’s takes a little more than an Earth day.
Pluto has many mountains
The New Horizons spacecraft recently photographed a new range of mountainous regions on Pluto. The peaks of these mountain ranges are as tall as the Appalachian Mountains on Earth. These new mountain ranges join an existing range, similar to Earth’s Rockies. These mountains are composed of ice and frozen gases. Until recently, Pluto was thought to be frozen through, but the complex geology of the planet suggests that the icy world has had geological activity in recent times.
Although Pluto lacks the mass to support large mountainous areas, it’s still a fascinating place to visit. Its mountains are complex and impressive. They’re also among the first places humans have set foot on an alien planet. If you think about it, Pluto has the closest terrain to Earth – just a few miles from the sun. Scientists don’t know what causes Pluto to have so many mountains, but they believe it’s caused by a chemical reaction with methane.
The atmosphere of Pluto is very different than that of Earth. The atmosphere of Pluto is very cold and warm air tends to be close to the surface, while cooler air is higher up in the atmosphere. This process causes the surface temperature to increase and decrease over time. However, as Pluto cools, the surface temperature remains in local radiative balance. The mountain ranges on Pluto are very different. This means that the mountain ranges are distinctly different from the mountain ranges on Earth.
New Horizons’ images from Pluto have revealed the planet’s mountain ranges. These mountains are west of the big heart-shaped glacier on Pluto’s equator. These mountains are approximately 2.5 miles high. Visiting Pluto would likely show its mountains to be dark and gloomy. But despite being 40 times farther from Earth than the sun, Pluto still receives enough sunlight to be visible to humans. And because Pluto’s surface is so similar to Earth, a visitor would be able to observe the scenery.