About Tatiana_Moreno

Periodista. Apasionada del medio ambiente y la ciencia Journalist. Enthusiastic about Science and Environmental Journalism. All views are my own Twitter: @tatiana_moreno

What is a shooting star?

Have you ever look to sky and see a streak of light? Well, in fact those are not stars, actually, they are meteoroids. The light you can see is the result of the meteoroid that burned up as enters the planet’s atmosphere, trying to make their way through to arrive to the Earth. 

bicycleastronomy.org

bicycleastronomy.org

A meteoroid is a small particle from a comet or asteroid.  Many meteors appearing seconds or minutes apart that seem to fall from the same point in the sky are called a meteor shower.

They have a wide range of sizes, from dust particles to around 10 metres in diameter (although larger objects are usually referred to as asteroids).

The fastest meteoroids travel through the solar system at a speed of around 42 kilometres per second (26 miles per second).

Around 15,000 tonnes of meteoroids, micrometeoroids and different forms of space dust enter Earth’s atmosphere each year!

If a meteor survives the plunge through the atmosphere and lands on the surface, it’s known as a meteorite.

The moon… what is it exactly?

The Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth.

It is the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System and it was born 4.5 billion years ago, not long after the Earth

The rotation of the Moon is synchronized with the Earth, which means that the Moon does its rotation following the Earth.

It is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun, although its surface is actually very dark.  We can see the Moon bright because it reflects the light from the Sun. The part of the moon facing the Sun is lit up while the side facing away from the sun is in darkness.

The Moon is about 384,400 kilometers from Earth. If you wanted to travel to the Moon by car it would take you about 130 days to arrive there!

As the Moon makes its way around the Earth, we see the bright parts of the Moon’s surface at different angles. These are called “phases” of the Moon. So, the changing shape of the bright part of the Moon that we see is called its phase.

The phases of the moon work in a cycle starting with the new moon. here are eight phases of the moon

The phases are named after how much of the moon we can see, and whether the amount visible is increasing, or decreasing each day. There are eight phases of the Moon in total. It takes our Moon about 29 days to complete its cycle through all eight phases. This is known as a Lunar month.

The Moon is the only celestial body other than Earth on which humans have set foot. The Soviet Union’s Luna programme was the first to reach the Moon in 1959; the United States’ NASA Apollo program arrived to Moon in 1968 with the spacecraft Apollo 8. After that, the Apollo mission has had other 6 landings on the Moon ground.

Did you know…? The Moon’s gravitational forces influence produces the ocean tides.

What is the Sun?

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The Sun and its different parts

The Sun and its different parts – http://www.8planets.co.uk

The Sun is a star and it is the centre of our Solar System.

The Sun is the largest body in the Solar System as it is 1,392,000 kilometres across. That means that the Sun is more than one million times larger than Earth.

This star has a very important role for our system. The Sun keeps all the planets together, including the Earth. Because it is bigger than all the other planets in our solar system, the Sun generates a huge gravitational pull. This pull keeps all the planets in their orbital paths. Without the pull, the planets would simply float off into space.

Our Sun is not unique in the universe. It is a common middle-sized yellow star. There are trillions of other stars in the universe just like it. And as our Sun, many of these stars have their own systems of planets, moons, asteroids, and comets.

The Sun is mainly made of chemical elements. Astronomers who have studied its composition have found 67 of them, but the most common ones are and helium. The Sun is also formed by other elements, called metals. The most abundant metals are oxygen, carbon, neon and iron

The photosphere is the name given to the surface of the sun. The surface temperature of the sun is 5500 degrees centigrade, which is relatively cool when we consider that the core of the sun heats up to 15,000,000 degrees centigrade, as it burns to create energy!

But remember; never look directly at the Sun with a telescope or binoculars. It is extremely dangerous and it can cause you eye problems.

Check out this video from the Space School about the Sun! http://youtu.be/SsoGeq4XcCk

Where are we in the Universe?

The Earth is located in the Solar System.

Diagram of the planets that form the Solar System

The Solar System is formed by the Sun, which is in the centre of it, and everything that travels around it.

An easy way to understand this idea is, to think of the Universe as it is a city; the Solar System would be your neighbour and the Earth, our home. Astronomers think the solar system is more than 4 billion years old.

Our solar neighbourhood is formed by eight planets, 140 moons, asteroids, comets, minor planets, and many other objects.

The four planets closest to the Sun—Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars—are called the terrestrial planets because they have solid rocky surfaces. The four large planets beyond Mars—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—are called gas giants.

The furthest planet is over 4 billion kilometres away from the earth. You can see all of the 8 planets in the sky at night using a telescope or binoculars.

For many thousands of years, humanity did not recognize the existence of the Solar System. People believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe and that the rest of the objects surrounded it. In the 16th, Nicolaus Copernicus was the first to develop a mathematical system that considered the Sun as the center. Later on, in the 17th century, Galileo GalileiJohannes Kepler and Isaac Newton, took his idea further and confirmed that the Earth moves around the Sun, and so do the other planets.