Tag Archives: planets

What If Humans Tried To Land On Saturn



In 2017, NASA’s Cassini probe sent us our closest view of Saturn to date. If you wanted to take a closer look at the ringed planet, you would have to travel 1.2 billion kilometers… but the long journey would be the least of your worries. Once there, you’d realize there’s no solid surface to land on and descend through dangerous electrical currents, deadly winds, and unthinkable pressure. If you could somehow make it through all of that, then a blistering hot core made of iron and nickel awaits you at the planet’s center—along with a surprise, as scientists have yet to discover whether Saturn’s core is liquid or solid. So maybe it’s best we leave Saturn exploration to uncrewed probes after all.

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#Space #NASA #ScienceInsider

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What If Humans Tried To Land On Saturn

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What If We Moved the Solar System?



Moving is never easy. The packing and unpacking, having to start fresh and make new friends, all this can be challenging. Let’s face it, whether it’s a nasty landlord or an imminent threat to humanity, sometimes you just have to move! What if we had to build a stellar engine to move our entire solar system? How could we do it? Where would we go?

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What If We Settled on an Exoplanet?

What If We Settled on an Exoplanet?

Are you looking for a change of scenery? Are you tired of boring old Earth?
How would you like a new home away from home? Really far away from home. Like outside our Solar System far. What exoplanet would suit us best? Are there any pros? And more importantly, what are the cons?

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Discovered Two Super Earth Exoplanets Orbiting A Star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)

Discovered Two Super Earth Exoplanets Orbiting A Star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)

From what this new exoplanet is, to what it could mean for our understanding of the universe as a whole, and more! Join us as we reveal to you the discovered two super-Earth exoplanets orbiting a star! (Gliese 887b And Gliese 887c)
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Humanity has a goal to explore the stars, a goal that may find itself getting a boost in feasibility by the end of the decade. But we also know that to look outside our solar system is important because we can learn even more from the planets and stars that range across the solar system and see how it reflects what is near us. To that end, one of our greatest goals is to find and research as many exoplanets (a planet which orbits a star outside the solar system) as we can and see what they are like and what we can learn from them. Which is good, because we just found a major discovery which might just change things forever.
Because looking at the brightest red dwarf star in the sky may have presented the best chance astronomers have yet to analyze the atmospheres of alien worlds — and perhaps detect whether those worlds have life. This is according to a new study that was recently released.
Scientists focused on the red dwarf star GJ 887, also known as Gliese 887. (Red dwarfs are the most common kind of star in the galaxy, and weigh between 7.5% and 50% the mass of the sun.) At a distance of about 10.7 light-years from Earth, Gliese 887 is the twelfth-closest star. Furthermore, at visible wavelengths, Gliese 887 is the brightest red dwarf in the sky, and with nearly half the sun’s mass, Gliese 887 is the heaviest red dwarf star within about 20 light-years of Earth. That may sound like a lot of needless stats but when it comes to stars you need to know as much about them to fully understand their power, potential, and lifespan.
Previous work found that many red dwarfs host planetary systems, ones usually made up of multiple small worlds. Still, “we’ve been looking for exoplanets orbiting Gliese 887 for nearly 20 years, and while we saw hints of a planetary signal, it wasn’t strong enough to convince ourselves that it was a planet,” study lead author Sandra Jeffers, an astrophysicist at the University of Göttingen in Germany, told Space.com.
But that has now changed in a major way.
Pressing forward, the researchers examined Gliese 887 for 80 nights in 2018. They relied on the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) instrument at La Silla Observatory in Chile, combining this data with archival measurements of the star spanning nearly two decades.
Astronomers use two strategies to discover most exoplanets, or worlds beyond our solar system. One method relies on how distant worlds regularly block out a fraction of light from their stars as they pass in front of their stars from the observer’s perspective. However, this method will only spot planets that pass through the line of sight between Earth and their stars, meaning it will only detect a small fraction of exoplanets.
Instead, the scientists in this latest work looked for any wobbles from Gliese 887 due to gravitational tugs from orbiting planets. This was where their breakthrough came from. They found the red dwarf has at least two “super-Earth” exoplanets, dubbed Gliese 887 b and Gliese 887 c. The former is about 4.2 times Earth’s mass and orbits just 6.8% of an astronomical unit (AU) from its star (one astronomical unit is the average distance between Earth and the sun), whereas the latter is about 7.6 times Earth’s mass and orbits 12% of an AU from the red dwarf.
To be honest, finding even one exoplanet there after two decades of finding nothing would’ve been momentous in its own right, but finding two? That is something truly special. And yet, that wasn’t all.
The researchers also found evidence for a possible third planet farther out from Gliese 887. Although the red dwarf’s two confirmed planets are likely too hot for life as we know it on Earth, this potential third planet might lie within the star’s habitable zone, where surface temperatures are suitable to host liquid water. Which by our definitions is important to have life, which is one of the many reasons we search for exoplanets so we can see if there’s another planet of life out there.

#InsaneCuriosity #Exoplanets #Gliese887

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What Lies Beyond Our Solar System?

What Lies Beyond Our Solar System?

From the planets, to the stars, to the systems, to the great unknown of the universe, join us as we explore what lies beyond our solar system!
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8. The Scope Of Our Own Solar System
Before we look beyond it, let’s take stock of our own solar system and what it all is like. There are 8 definitive planets (and more than that if you count Dwarf Planets like Pluto), we have one star, The Sun, that we orbit around, and within the confines of our system are asteroid belts, various rocks of various sizes, tons of solar rays and radiation, and a whole lot more.
Just in our solar system there is a LOT of stuff to explore. Which is sometimes hard to find because the length of our solar system is about 287.46 billion kilometers long. And even in the year 2020 we’re STILL finding out things about our solar system that are shocking and surprising. But of course, the main goal of humanity as a whole is to do what many have thought is unthinkable. To go BEYOND our solar system and to not just see it, but explore it, and live upon it. To truly become a species that is intergalactic instead of just living in one very small part of the universe.
7. What Lies Immediately Beyond Our Solar System
So let’s posit for a moment that you are able to go and get out of the reach of our solar system. Behind the Kuiper Belt, beyond the Heliosphere, what are you going to find when you reach that edge beyond? What will you see? What will you experience?
The honest and very simple answer…is nothing. Because you’ll be in what is known as Intergalactic Space. Or, the space between galaxies and systems. But to be clear, just because you don’t see anything, doesn’t mean that nothing is there.
“If you took a cubic meter, there would be less than one atom in it,” Michael Shull, an astronomer at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Live Science. “But when you add it all up, it’s somewhere between 50 and 80% of all the ordinary matter out there.”
Scientists are honestly deeply interested in this matter, or “Intergalactic Medium” because of how they feel it forms and even replenishes certain systems via the gas that it provides. The reason for this is that the medium is mostly hot, ionized hydrogen (hydrogen that has lost its electron) with bits of heavier elements such as carbon, oxygen and silicon thrown in. While these elements typically don’t glow bright enough to be seen directly, scientists know they’re there because of the signature they leave on light that passes by.
“IGM is the gas that feeds star formation in galaxies,” Shull said. “If we didn’t still have gas falling in, being pulled in by gravity, star formation would slowly grind to a halt as the gas [in the galaxy] gets used up.”
But because of its small numbers, when you’re floating through space, you’re almost literally floating through empty space. Which is why many note that all the planets and stars and celestial objects only fill up about 5% of the known universe. Everything else is minor matter, Dark Energy and Dark Matter.
6. Systems Beyond Our Own
Ok, so let’s say that you are able to reach another system. What would it be like? Well, that would depend on what you land upon.
Because there are at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, a spiral galaxy about 100,000 light-years across. The stars are arranged in a pinwheel pattern with four major arms, and we live in one of them, about two-thirds of the way outward from the center. Most of the stars in our galaxy are thought to host their own families of planets. Thousands of these extrasolar planets (or exoplanets) have been discovered so far, with thousands more candidates detected and awaiting confirmation. Many of these newly discovered planetary systems are quite different from our own.
In fact, part of the fun of astronomy in the eyes of many is going and seeing if you can indeed find a new planet, or star that hadn’t been noticed before, and seeing what details you notice about it. In fact, various agencies from NASA to the ESA and more have made their own satellites and probes and such that they’ve launched into space or our atmosphere to try and get better looks at planets and stars and see what we can find.
Some of the highlights for sure are many planets that are “Earth-Like” in structure or form or shape. Numerous kinds of stars from dwarf stars to binary stars, to Pulsars, Supernovas and more. They’ve found black holes at the center of most galaxies, and that’s still only scratching the surface of things.
4. Exoplanets
#InsaneCuriosity #TheSolarSystem #TheEdgeOfTheUniverse

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Can SpaceX Get Starship To Mars By 2024?

Can SpaceX Get Starship To Mars By 2024?

From its likelihood, to whether SpaceX is the right person for the job, and more, join me as we explore whether SpaceX can get his starship to Mars by 2024!

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The mission to Mars is without a doubt the “mission of the decade”. This is what many groups, including NASA and other international agencies are attempting to create. One of those groups though is a privately funded one called SpaceX. And it’s a team that is truly trying to go and get to Mars within the next few years. But to understand if that’s even possible, you really need to know more about SpaceX itself.
“SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.”
While that may sound very basic, it’s actually quite a complex thing. You see, for all the advances that humanity has made in regards to going into space, the fact of the matter is that it costs a LOT to do that. So much so that the United States main space agency, NASA, was hit with major budget cuts because the attempts they were making to revolutionize space travel just wasn’t working.
Enter Elon Musk, one of the richest men in the world, and a man who truly believes in trying to make space travel not just the future, but the present. He founded SpaceX in 2002 to try and make space travel better, cheaper, more accessible, and beyond, and as the Space X website loves to boast, since 2002, they’ve had quite a few successes:
“SpaceX has gained worldwide attention for a series of historic milestones. It is the only private company capable of returning a spacecraft from low Earth orbit, which it first accomplished in 2010. The company made history again in 2012 when its Dragon spacecraft became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo to and from the International Space Station.
SpaceX successfully achieved the historic first reflight of an orbital class rocket in 2017, and the company now regularly launches flight-proven rockets. In 2018, SpaceX began launching Falcon Heavy, the world’s most powerful operational rocket by a factor of two.”
So as you can see, this is more than just a company, it’s a place with a mission, and that mission is to get humanity into space, onto Mars, and more. And it’s been working REALLY hard to try and get a manned flight into space, and it’s getting closer than you might expect!
Why is that? Because Elon Musk over the last several months and years has been building various spaceships like we noted before, and in recent months, he’s been testing the ones that he believes will send us to the planet Mars, including the line of ships he simply calls the Starship.
The Starship architecture consists of a big spaceship called Starship, which Musk has said will be capable of carrying up to 100 people, and a giant rocket named Super Heavy. Both of these vehicles will be reusable; indeed, rapid and frequent reuse is key to Musk’s overall vision, which involves cutting the cost of spaceflight enough to make Mars colonization and other bold exploration feats economically feasible.
You see, that’s the big problem with going to Mars and trying to set up a home there. It’s easy in concept, we just have to get there, set up a home, make sure it can withstand certain things and self-sustain eventually. But with how things actually work? We’re talking hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of hours trying to figure out all the potential problems that could happen on Mars before we even set foot on it! And of course, since things NEVER go the way we think they will, it’s going to inevitably turn into a thing where we’re trying to make things work on the fly, or have to counter some big issues that no one saw coming.
But if you think that this is stopping Elon Musk from dreaming big and trying to get us to Mars and beyond? You don’t know Elon Musk.
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Musk wrote that the eventual goal is to launch each Starship vehicle three times per day on average. Each Starship will be able to carry about 100 tons of payload to orbit, so, at that flight rate, every vehicle would loft about 100,000 tons annually, he explained.
Now, Musk may sound like he’s just spouting out a number here (and if we’re being honest…he kind of is) but in truth, he is trying to abide by the laws of space and reality. What do we mean by that? Simple, when it comes to the facts of space travel, having the right windows to travel in are essential. Not the least of which is trying to minimize travel time by making sure you are in the correct windows.
Confused? I’ll explain.

#InsaneCuriosity #SpaceX #Mars #ElonMusk

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Eris Facts And History: The Most Massive Dwarf Planet!

Eris Facts And History: The Most Massive Dwarf Planet!

From its distance from the sun, to how it helped change the definition of a planet, and more! Join me as I show you Eris: Facts and History!
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8. What Is Eris?
Depending on your familiarity with our solar system, you may or may not know about Eris, and for good reason based on its location and how it relates to other planets and celestial objects in the system.
In short, Eris is one of the largest known dwarf planets in our solar system. For those who don’t know, a Dwarf Planet is one that has the size and shape of a planet but fails to meet certain technical qualifications to be considered a full planet. Eris is about the same size as Pluto, but is three times farther from the Sun. Making it something on the very edges of our solar system. In fact, outside of some comets that have been discovered and a “unique object” from 2018, the two are the most distant known objects in our solar system.
Eris first appeared to be larger than Pluto. This triggered a debate in the scientific community that led to the International Astronomical Union’s decision in 2006 to clarify the definition of a planet. Pluto, Eris and other similar objects are now classified as dwarf planets.
Originally designated 2003 UB313 (and nicknamed for the television warrior Xena by its discovery team), Eris is named for the ancient Greek goddess of discord and strife. The name fits since it remains at the center of a scientific debate about the definition of a planet.
7. The Discovery Of Eris
Given all we just told you, the discovery of this dwarf planet is really significant.
Eris was discovered by the team of Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David Rabinowitz on January 5, 2005, from images taken in October of 2003. The discovery was announced in July 2005, the same day as Makemake and two days after Haumea (two other dwarf planets), due in part to events that would later lead to controversy about Haumea. The search team had been systematically scanning for large outer Solar System bodies for several years, and had been involved in the discovery of several other large TNOs, including 50000 Quaoar, 90482 Orcus, and 90377 Sedna.
The reason that Eris wasn’t discovered right away via the images in 2003 was very simple, Eris was moving so slowly that scientists weren’t able to detect it. The team at the Palomar Observatory had automatic image-searching software that excluded all objects moving at less than 1.5 arcseconds per hour to reduce the number of false positives returned.
When Sedna was discovered in 2003, it was moving at 1.75 arcsec/h, and in light of that the team reanalyzed their old data with a lower limit on the angular motion, sorting through the previously excluded images by eye. In January 2005, the re-analysis revealed Eris’s slow motion against the background stars. Thus leading to its true discovery.
After that, the team dedicated itself to learning more about the soon-to-be-named dwarf planet, mainly learning what kind of orbit it had, and eventually learning the discovery that it had a moon within its orbit.
6. The Xena Name
I’m sure some of you out there were a bit curious as to why a scientific team would nickname a planet “Xena” after the legendary TV show featuring Lucy Lawless. Granted, that’s not the name the Dwarf Planet has now, but the story behind this nickname is honestly rather unique to our solar system.
Due to uncertainty over whether the object would be classified as a planet or a minor planet, because different nomenclature procedures apply to these different classes of objects (which would lead to the demoting of Pluto not long after Eris’ discovery and classification), the decision on what to name the object had to wait until after the August 24, 2006 IAU ruling. As a result, for a time the object became known to the wider public as Xena.
But why that one? “Xena” was an informal name used internally by the discovery team. It was inspired by the title character of the television series Xena: Warrior Princess. The discovery team had reportedly saved the nickname “Xena” for the first body they discovered that was larger than Pluto. According to Mike Brown, who was part of the team that discovered the dwarf planet:
“We chose it since it started with an X (planet “X”), it sounds mythological (OK, so it’s TV mythology, but Pluto is named after a cartoon, right?), and (this part is actually true) we’ve been working to get more female deities out there (e.g. Sedna).

#InsaneCuriosity #Eris #TheSolarSystem

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Callisto: Jupiter's Cratered Moon!

Callisto: Jupiter’s Cratered Moon!

From its discovery, to its importance around Jupiter, and more! Join us as we explore Callisto, Jupiter’s Moon.
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9. Discovery and Naming Of Callisto
Callisto was discovered Jan. 7, 1610, by Italian scientist Galileo Galilei along with Jupiter’s three other largest moons: Ganymede, Europa and Io.
Artemis. Who was also the goddess of the moon for the record. The name was suggested by Simon Marius soon after Callisto’s discovery. Marius attributed the suggestion to Johannes Kepler.
However, the names of the Galilean satellites fell into disfavor for a considerable time, and were not revived in common use until the mid-20th century. In much of the earlier astronomical literature, Callisto is referred to by its Roman numeral designation, a system introduced by Galileo, as Jupiter IV or as “the fourth satellite of Jupiter”.
Now though it’s known as Callisto by most texts, including ones you’ll see in school in hear about when moons like these are discovered. The desire to keep things simple while also rooting much naming in mythology has been desired by astronomers in earlier decades.
8. Orbit and Rotation
Callisto is the outermost of the four Galilean moons of Jupiter. It orbits at a distance of approximately 1,170,000 miles (26.3 times the radius of Jupiter itself). This is significantly larger than the orbital radius of the next-closest Galilean satellite, Ganymede. As a result of this relatively distant orbit, Callisto does not participate in the mean-motion resonance—in which the three inner Galilean satellites are locked—and probably never has.
Like most other regular planetary moons, Callisto’s rotation is locked to be synchronous with its orbit. The length of Callisto’s day, simultaneously its orbital period, is about 16.7 Earth days. Its orbit is very slightly eccentric and inclined to the Jovian equator, with the eccentricity and inclination changing quasi-periodically due to solar and planetary gravitational perturbations on a timescale of centuries. These orbital variations cause the axial tilt (the angle between rotational and orbital axes) to vary between 0.4 and 1.6°.
The dynamical isolation of Callisto means that it has never been appreciably tidally heated, which has important consequences for its internal structure and evolution. Its distance from Jupiter also means that the charged-particle flux from Jupiter’s magnetosphere at its surface is relatively low—about 300 times lower than, for example, that at Europa. Hence, unlike the other Galilean moons, charged-particle irradiation has had a relatively minor effect on Callisto’s surface. The radiation level at Callisto’s surface is equivalent to a dose of aCallisto is named after one of Zeus’s many lovers in Greek mythology. Callisto was a nymph (or, according to some sources, the daughter of Lycaon) who was associated with the goddess of the hunt, bout 0.01 rem per day, which is over ten times higher than Earth’s average background radiation.
6. Surface Of The Moon
Callisto’s rocky, icy surface is the oldest and most heavily cratered in our solar system. The surface is about 4 billion years old and it’s been pummeled, likely by comets and asteroids. Because the impact craters are still visible, scientists think the moon has little geologic activity—there are no active volcanoes or tectonic shifting to erode the craters. Callisto looks like it’s sprinkled with bright white dots that scientists think are the peaks of the craters capped with water ice.
The moons of Jupiter have been something of a fascination for many astronomers and scientists. So when the Earth had the ability to look at the moons via satellites and probes they almost literally jumped at the chance. To the extent that Callisto has been visited many times of the last several decades.
The Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 Jupiter encounters in the early 1970s contributed little new information about Callisto in comparison with what was already known from Earth-based observations ironically enough.
The real breakthrough happened later with the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 flybys in 1979. They imaged more than half of the Callistoan surface with a resolution of 1–2 km, and precisely measured its temperature, mass and shape. A second round of exploration lasted from 1994 to 2003, when the Galileo spacecraft had eight close encounters with Callisto, the last flyby during the C30 orbit in 2001 came as close as 138 km to the surface.

#InsaneCuriosity

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The Sun Facts And History!

The Sun Facts And History!

From the kind of star it is, to its impact on our world, and more! Join me as we explore the Sun: Facts and History.
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8. Our Star
Without a doubt, if you were to list the “most important things in the solar system we live in”, the Earth may be No.1, but the sun is No.2. And for all the reasons that you might expect and know.
Its gravity holds the solar system together, keeping everything from the biggest planets to the smallest particles of debris in its orbit. Electric currents in the Sun generate a magnetic field that is carried out through the solar system by the solar wind—a stream of electrically charged gas blowing outward from the Sun in all directions.
The connection and interactions between the Sun and Earth drive the seasons, ocean currents, weather, climate, radiation belts and aurora.
In short, and in long, the sun is vital to just about everything we do on this planet, and we rely on the sun to do MANY things, even though we’re honestly not controlling anything that it does. Which is a bit of an odd thing for humanity as humans like to control EVERYTHING that has to do with us.
The sun is something we see almost every day (obviously unless cloud cover is blocking it or an eclipse is happening) and even when we don’t see it, we feel its presence. It’s more than just a ball of light in the sky, it’s an energy source, a lifeline in many respects, and as noted above, it helps shape our planet in various ways that would detrimental if it WASN’T doing it.
So if someone was to honestly ask you just how important the sun is, you should tell them all the ways we need the sun, our star, to shine on.
7. Distance From Earth and Its Size
With a radius of 432,168.6 miles (695,508 kilometers), our Sun is not an especially large star—many are several times bigger—but it is still far more massive than our home planet: 332,946 Earths match the mass of the Sun. The Sun’s volume would need 1.3 million Earths to fill it.
Which at first might seem like a bad thing. After all, would we WANT to have a giant ball of fire and radiation just lurking out there that can swallow us whole if it felt like it? Honestly, yes, yes we would, and for a very simple reason, its distance from the Earth.
The Sun is 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth. Which is a very LONG ways away, and in fact it’s such a distance that they came up with a term for it via “Astronomical Unit”. So when you hear that a planet or star is say 103 AUs away, that means it’s 103 times the distance between the Earth and the sun.
Going back to the distance itself, you might think that this is a “very long way away” from the entity that gives us light and essentially, life. But actually, it’s better that we’re NOT closer to the sun for a whole host of reasons.
Sunlight and its energy dissipates the farther you get away from it. Which is why there is such thing as a “Habitable Zone” in regards to stars where life can exist as well as water and other key things needed for life.
The closer you are to a star, the more impact you’re going to get from its heat and light. The farther you are from a star, the less likely you’re going to get heat and light in the amounts you need. Lest you think we’re exaggerating this, we have the perfect examples for this. It’s called Mercury, Venus and Mars.
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and it’s scorching hot as a result. It’s average temperature is 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, because it’s so close to the sun it’s tidally locked, meaning that it has one “side” always facing the sun, and the other side is always away from it.
In regards to Venus, it’s our “twin” but also a case of the suns energy turning it into something else entirely. A buildup of heat and excess carbon dioxide turned it into a “Runaway Greenhouse Planet” which makes it so hot that it can melt lead. And it’s also the hottest planet in the solar system because of the greenhouse effect which was caused by the suns’ radiation.
Heading to Mars, it’s so far away from the Sun that it can’t absorb the sunlight and energy like we do on Earth, so its average temperature is -81 degrees Fahrenheit. Not to mention it doesn’t have a typical atmosphere in any sense so various solar and cosmic rays bombard the planet. And it’s so far away from the sun that even if Earth settled on the planet, using solar panels to get energy for colonies wouldn’t be as viable as you think because the distance is so great.
So as you can see, it’s GOOD that we are 93 million miles away from the sun, it’s the literal perfect spot to be in to get the positive effects of the sun without many of the negatives.

#InsaneCuriosity #TheSun #TheSolarSystem

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Kuiper Belt: Facts And History!

Kuiper Belt: Facts And History!

From what the belt is, to how it’s helped change the classification of the solar system, and more! Join me as I reveal to you the facts and history of the Kuiper Belt!
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9. What Is The Kuiper Belt?
Despite it being a major part of our solar system, there are many who honestly don’t understand the grand scale and scope of the Kuiper Belt. So allow us to give you some perspective on the matter.
The Kuiper Belt is a circumstellar disc in the outer Solar System, extending from the orbit of Neptune (at 30 AU) to approximately 50 AU from the Sun. It is similar to the asteroid belt, but is far larger—20 times as wide and 20 to 200 times as massive.
Like the asteroid belt, it consists mainly of small bodies or remnants from when the Solar System formed. While many asteroids are composed primarily of rock and metal, most Kuiper belt objects are composed largely of frozen volatiles (termed “ices”), such as methane, ammonia and water.
The Kuiper belt is home to three officially recognized dwarf planets: Pluto, Haumea and Makemake. Some of the Solar System’s moons, such as Neptune’s Triton and Saturn’s Phoebe, may have originated in the region.
In many respects, the Kuiper Belt is the “end” of our solar system in terms of things like the physical objects that are there and reachable. The “edge” of the solar system is a slightly different matter as that would either be the Heliosphere (if you go by magnetic fields) or the Oort Cloud, which is where the suns’ gravity reaches the end of its influence.
But either way, the Kuiper Belt is a major part of our solar system in the literal and figurative sense. Which is rather interesting when you think about it because for a very long time we didn’t understand what was truly in that realm of space as a whole.
8. The Discovery Of The Kuiper Belt
To truly understand the Kuiper Belt, we have to dive into something you’re very familiar with, Pluto.
After the discovery of Pluto in 1930, many speculated that it might not be alone. The region now called the Kuiper belt was hypothesized in various forms for decades. It was only in 1992 that the first direct evidence for its existence was found. The number and variety of prior speculations on the nature of the Kuiper belt have led to continued uncertainty as to who deserves credit for first proposing it.
But let’s go back to the beginning and just break it down from there, shall we?
The first astronomer to suggest the existence of a trans-Neptunian population was Frederick C. Leonard. Soon after Pluto’s discovery by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, Leonard pondered whether it was “not likely that in Pluto there has come to light the first of a series of ultra-Neptunian bodies, the remaining members of which still await discovery but which are destined eventually to be detected”.
That same year, astronomer Armin O. Leuschner suggested that Pluto “may be one of many long-period planetary objects yet to be discovered.”
This is fascinating for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is that the discovery of Pluto should have been a finite discovery, or one that led to more study of the planet and what it could mean as a whole. Yet many scientists looked upon it and wondered if it was telling us everything we needed to know about the region.
In 1943, in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Kenneth Edgeworth hypothesized that, in the region beyond Neptune, the material within the primordial solar nebula was too widely spaced to condense into planets, and so rather condensed into a myriad of smaller bodies.
From this he concluded that “the outer region of the solar system, beyond the orbits of the planets, is occupied by a very large number of comparatively small bodies” and that, from time to time, one of their number “wanders from its own sphere and appears as an occasional visitor to the inner solar system”, becoming a comet.
That’s not a bad way to describe what the Kuiper Belt really is, and he was right that by modern classifications, the various items in the belt weren’t able to go and become fully-fledged planets. But more on that in a bit.
Before we continue to break down everything that’s going on with the Kuiper Belt, be sure to like or dislike the video, that way we can continue to improve our content for you, the viewer! Also be sure to subscribe so that you don’t miss ANY of our weekly videos!
7. Continued Theories
The more that astronomers wondered about the Kuiper Belt, the more that speculations rose and fell about what it is, what it could be, what it could’ve been, and more.

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