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August 25, 2016 Ecotech Gallery No Comments

The Solar System

 

OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

The Solar System is made up of all the planets that orbit our Sun. In addition to planets, the Solar System also consists of moons, comets, asteroids, minor planets, and dust and gas.

Everything in the Solar System orbits or revolves around the Sun. The Sun contains around 98% of all the material in the Solar System. The larger an object is, the more gravity it has. Because the Sun is so large, its powerful gravity attracts all the other objects in the Solar System towards it. At the same time, these objects, which are moving very rapidly, try to fly away from the Sun, outward into the emptiness of outer space. The result of the planets trying to fly away, at the same time that the Sun is trying to pull them inward is that they become trapped half-way in between. Balanced between flying towards the Sun, and escaping into space, they spend eternity orbiting around their parent star.

There are eight planets in the Solar System. From closest to farthest from the Sun, they are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The first four planets are called terrestrial planets. They are mostly made of rock and metal, and they are mostly solid. The last four planets are called gas giants. This is because they are large planets that are mostly made of gas. Even though they are made of gas, they have much more mass than the terrestrial planets.

 

SOLAR WARMING AFFECTING THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Nothing is stable, including the solar system. New evidence suggests the solar system is moving into a new energy zone which is altering the magnetic fields of the planets.

There is reason to believe Earth is not the only planet in the solar system undergoing climate change, meaning CO2 emissions are not the primary force responsible for the rise in global temperatures. Growth of the dark spots in Pluto, reports of auroras on Saturn, polar shifts in Uranus and changes in light intensity of Neptune suggests something very strange is happening in the solar system.

Earth is heating up lately, but so are Mars, Pluto and other worlds in oursolar system, leading some scientists to speculate that a change in the sun’s activity is the common thread linking all these baking events.

Others argue that such claims are misleading and create the false impression that rapid global warming, as Earth is experiencing, is a natural phenomenon.

While evidence suggests fluctuations in solar activity can affect climate on Earth, and that it has done so in the past, the majority of climate scientists and astrophysicists agree that the sun is not to blame for the current and historically sudden uptick in global temperatures on Earth, which seems to be mostly a mess created by our own species.

 

PLANET EARTH

Earth is one special planet. It has liquid water, plate tectonics, and an atmosphere that shelters it from the worst of the sun’s rays. But many scientists agree our planet’s most special feature might just be us.

“It’s the only planet we know of that has life,” said Alan Boss, a planet formation theorist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Washington, D.C. Though other bodies in our solar system, such as Saturn’s moon Titan, seem like they could have once been hospitable to some form of life, and scientists still have hope of eventually digging up microbes beneath the surface of Mars, Earth is still the only world known to support life.

“So far, we haven’t found it anywhere else,” said Alex Wolszczan of Pennsylvania State University, who co-discovered the first planets beyond our solar system. He agreed that life was Earth’s single most impressive characteristic. None of this is a revelation, but understanding what’s special about Earth is crucial for finding other planets out there and predicting what they might be like. The fact that Earth hosts not just life, but intelligent life, makes it doubly unique. And the planet’s intelligent life (humanity) has even developed rockets that enable travel beyond the planet, said Gregory Laughlin, astrophysicist and planet hunter at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

“During the last half century, the planet Earth has fashioned together tiny pieces of the metal in its crust, and has flung these delicately constructed objects to all of the other planets in the solar system,” Laughlin said, adding that these achievements should be counted as an exemplary trait of our planet.

“From our anthropocentric viewpoint, we naturally separate ourselves from the planet that we live on, but if one adopts the point of view of an external observer, it is the ‘planet’ (taken as a whole) that has done these remarkable things,” he told SPACE.com.

 

SOURCES

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