Hi guys! This is my first article on this blog, and I have decided to write a post about the Solar System. I have loved astronomy since I was a child, because I think that space is both a mysterious and fascinating dimension, that mankind probably will never manage to know completely. Well, I hope then that you will like this post!
So, “WHERE ARE WE”?
As you undoubtedly know, our planet, the Earth, is one of the planets that belong to the Solar System; it was born about 4,6 billion years ago, when life didn’t exist yet. With time, all the planets formed, each with its natural satellites, and now we have two groups of them: four “terrestrial planets”, so-called for their similarities with the Earth (they are: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars), and four “gas giants”, which present many similarities with Jupiter (they are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune).
Do you feel small, guys? Well, know that the Earth is one of the less big planets in the System! Suffice it to say that Jupiter, that is the biggest, is more than three hundred times bigger than our “little home” !
In our solar system there are also some regions that contain other types of objects, like the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, and the Kuiper belt beyond the orbit of Neptune orbit; in the first belt asteroids are mostly composed like terrestrial planets, while in the second they are mostly composed of ice. The biggest object that belongs to the Kuiper belt is a dwarf planet called Eris, discovered in 2005. In the most remote areas of the Solar System a spherical area known as Oort cloud probably exists, from which comets start their periodical “journey” to the more inside regions of the our system.
Our Solar System lies in turn in the Milky Way, that is the galaxy in which we live. It has a diameter of about a hundred thousand light years: it is so big that light needs a hundred thousand years to cross it completely! I fear it is too much time for us, friends!.;-)
But let’s go back to our dear Solar System, now I don’t want to spoil other “cosmic surprises” !
At the center of the Solar System we have obviously the Sun.
If you get cold, I don’t suggest you to go on holiday there: on its surface there are almost six thousand degrees! So in my opinion it would be better to enjoy our little world! 🙂
But first of all, what is a star? It is substantially a celestial body that shines of its own light. There are many types of stars, classified according to their mass, brightness and temperature. Maybe you are wondering where the Sun ranks: well, our star is one of the smallest and “coldest” stars in the universe! It is the closest to the Earth, with a distance from it of about a hundred and fifty million kilometers. Now the Sun is in a phase of stability, but in a few billion years it will begin to die and become a danger for the nearest planets (like Mercury or Venus), which will probably be wiped out. Uncertain is instead the fate of the Earth: it is possible that it will be destroyed by the immense power of the Sun, but it is also possible that it will leave from it because of the mass loss of the star that will occur during this last phase. Anyway, in that moment the planet will become uninhabitable, infact the too high temperature of the “advanced Sun” would lead to the evaporation of the oceans. But don’t worry, guys! Man will be already safe in another part of the galaxy! :p
I’ll stop here for now, friends, but the exploration of the universe has just begun! 🙂
Remember: if each of us is only a microscopic atom of the universe, all the Solar System is not much more than this! The space is an incredibly huge entity, and man is still at the beginning of his travel into it!
I hope that you liked this post, my friends. See you soon, and…always look at the sky! 😀