Posts Tagged ‘astronomy’

Everybody’s favourite planet (apart from probably Mercury) – Earth!

March 23, 2011

Earth… perhaps the most unknown planet in our solar system. So what is there to know about this obscure planet?

What makes Earth special is that it is in something called the ‘Goldilocks zone’. This means that it is just the right distance from the sun to be neither too hot nor too cold, allowing it to support liquid water. This is essential for life, and is partially why Earth is the only planet we know of to date to support life.

The element most present in the Earth’s composition, by mass is in fact Iron, making up 34.6% of Earth, followed by Oxygen and then Silicon.

Earth is the only planet in our solar system not named after Greek or Roman mythology- instead Earth’s name has its roots in Old English and Germanic dialects.

Most of the mass of the earth is in the viscous liquid mantle, followed by the semi-fluid outer core and solid iron inner core. The crust only makes up a very small portion of the Earth as a whole.

Earth differs from other terrestrial planets in the solar system in the way its crust floats as plates on top of the mantle.

The Earth’s crust is mainly made up of quartz.

The Earth’s core can reach temperatures of 7500K in the centre, exceeding those on the surface of the sun.

The Earth is denser than any other major body in the solar system.

In fairly short periods of time (only about 500000000 years or so) the Earth’s surface will actually be completely destroyed and recreated, so no traces of the early earth are left on the surface today. 

Without life on Earth Oxygen probably wouldn’t exist, due to its reactivity. As it is it makes up about 21% of the Earth’s atmosphere, Nitrogen being the most abundant gas at 77%

And, just for you Ieuan-

            Socialists live on Earth.

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Feeling Hot?

March 21, 2011

I like Venus, But I feel it gets a bad rep, it’s always left out in exploration voyages and in sci-fi it’s never populated by people, even when Mars and Mercury are.

There is a reason for this; Venus is the hottest planet in the whole solar system (around 460 degrees Celsius), despite being further away from the Sun and having a remarkably similar composition to Earth.

This is because it has a load of super reflective gas clouds on its surface made form none other than our good friend H2SO4 (sulphuric acid).

You can see the cloud formations on Venus' surface.

 

Fun facts:
It has the densest atmosphere of any planet in the solar system, composed mainly of Carbon Dioxide.

It’s also roughly the same size as Earth.

It’s named after the Roman Goddess of love and beauty.

Scientists think it used to have Earth-like seas before it got too hot.