# Contents. Section 1: The Sun s Energy. Section 2: The Solar System. Section 3: The Moon

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1 Contents Section 1: The Sun s Energy 1. Earth s Powerhouse Our Nuclear Furnace Quiz Section 2: The Solar System 4. Mercury, Venus, and Earth Mars and the Asteroid Belt The Gas Giants: Jupiter and Saturn Uranus, Neptune, and Comets Quiz Section 3: The Moon 10. The Surface of the Moon and Its Phases Rotation and Revolution Tides Eclipses Build a Model of the Solar System Self Check LightUnit Test

2 Uranus, Neptune, and Vocabulary Words aphelion (a fēl yən): the point farthest from the sun in the orbit of a planet perihelion (per ə hēl yən): the point nearest the sun in the orbit of a planet Pronounce these words to someone. Uranus Uranus was discovered by Sir William Herschel in 1781 as he was looking through his large reflecting telescope. He named this planet George s Star in honor of his king. In our imaginary trip we just zipped up here from one planet to another in a short time. In August of 1977 the space probe Voyager 2 left Cape Canaveral, Florida, and reached Uranus in January of It took 8 ½ years to reach the planet! That should give you some idea of the immense distances between planets. On Uranus, we re 2.87 billion kilometers (1.78 billion miles) from the Sun. Though Uranus is smaller than Jupiter and Saturn, it is still a giant. Its diameter is four times larger than Earth s. Our day up here will be about 17 hours and 14 minutes, but I m sure you won t want to stay a year. A year on Uranus is equal to 84 earth-years. If you lived up here, you d have only one birthday during your entire life. Uranus is tilted so far that it actually lies on its side as it rotates. This tilt causes its poles to receive dim sunlight for 42 years and then darkness for 42 years. Surface gravity on Uranus is 0.89 g and its mass is 14.5 times that of Earth. By 1948 astronomers had discovered five large moons orbiting Uranus. When Voyager 2 flew past the planet in 1986, it found ten more moons. They are small 10 to 12 miles in diameter, sooty black moons in a black sky. The moons of Uranus are outstanding because of their great variety of surfaces. There are craters, high rocky mountains, icy canyons, and long valleys. Further investigation of Uranus moons since the flyby of Voyager 2 has brought the number of moons to twenty-seven. Uranus appears blue-green through its cloud cover. Clouds circle Uranus with winds of up to 900 km (560 miles) per hour. These clouds indicate there is some kind of weather on Uranus, but only God knows what kind! Uranus Orbital Distance: 2.87 billion km Length of Day: 17 hr 14 min Length of Year: 84 years Diameter: 50,700 km Surface Gravity: 0.89 g Avg. Temperature: C Moons: 27 Uranus rotates on its side and has faint rings. Wikimedia Commons/NASA/JPL/STScl 25

3 Voyager 2 discovered Uranus has narrow rings. They are made up of small dark particles. Such marvelous exploration of a planet almost two billion miles away was possible because of God s perfect timing of the universe and His gift of knowledge to man. Neptune Neptune was discovered using mathematics and a telescope. An English astronomer, John Adams, and a French astronomer, Urbain Le Verrier, used mathematical calculations to predict where another planet should exist. In 1848 Galle, a German astronomer, used a telescope to locate this planet within one degree of where Le Verrier had predicted it would be! Neptune Orbital Distance: 4.5 billion km Length of Day: 16 hr 6 min Length of Year: 165 years Diameter: 49,200 km Surface Gravity: 1.14 g Avg. Temperature: 210 C Moons: 14 The Great Dark Spot can be seen in this picture of Neptune taken by Voyager 2. Wikimedia Commons/NASA/JPL Voyager 2 came near Neptune in August of It sent back thousands of pictures of the planet. Scientists were surprised to see rings around Neptune. The pictures also showed six previously unknown moons, and a large storm in Neptune s atmosphere called the Great Dark Spot. Neptune has the strongest winds in the solar system. Voyager 2 measured the winds in the Great Dark Spot at 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) per hour! Neptune makes one rotation in approximately 16 hours. It revolves around the sun once every 165 years. What a long year! You couldn t even live long enough to celebrate one birthday out here. We re a long way from the sun 4.5 billion kilometers (2.79 billion miles)! The temperature here is around 210 C ( 340 F). Burr! I m ready to leave this cold, lifeless place. How about you? This dwarf planet is farther away from the sun than any planet. It is an average distance of 5.90 billion kilometers (3.66 billion miles) from the sun. This is 39.5 times the distance from the sun to the earth! Its aphelion is 7.31 billion kilometers (4.53 billion miles) and its perihelion is 4.44 billion kilometers (2.75 billion miles). At its nearest point to the sun, actually comes inside Neptune s orbit. But most of the time s very elliptical path is beyond Neptune s orbit. The orbit of is different in another way. When compared to the orbits of the planets, the orbit of is tilted. Because it orbits so far from the sun, takes around 248 years to make one complete revolution. was discovered in 1930 by the young astronomer Clyde Tombaugh. As he looked through photographs of the night sky, he noticed that one of the bright dots on a series of photos seemed to move. After further measurements confirmed his finding, it was announced that Clyde had found the ninth planet! 26

4 Orbital Distance: 5.90 billion km Length of Day: 6.4 days Length of Year: 248 years Diameter: 2,370 km Surface Gravity: g Avg. Temperature: 229 C Moons: 5 Later investigations with more powerful telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope, showed that has a total of five moons. The largest, Charon (ker ən), is just over half the size of. For many years was considered a planet. However, in 2006, an international group of astronomers decided to downgrade from a planet to a dwarf planet. This decision was reached because was too small and did not meet all the conditions required to be a planet. s diameter is only two-thirds that of our Moon. In 2015 the New Horizons space probe flew by. It took pictures and measurements as it sped past the dwarf planet at 49,600 kilometers (30,800 miles) per hour. Scientists were finally able to clearly see the object that had once been only a blur in their best telescopes. They found that had a relatively smooth surface with few craters, and 11,000 foot-high mountains of ice. s average temperature is estimated to be 229 C ( 373 F). It s no place for us! Let s head back to Earth! Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter A picture of taken by New Horizons. Saturn s orbit is tilted compared to the planets. Neptune Uranus Wikimedia Commons/NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI Study Exercises Answer the questions. 1. Who discovered Uranus? 2. What is unusual about the tilt of Uranus? 3. How was discovered? 27

5 Circle the letters of the answers. 4. What were the two reasons was downgraded to a dwarf planet? a. It was too small. b. Its orbit was different than the rest of the planets. c. It did not meet the required conditions for planets. d. It was hard to study because it is so far from earth. Use the words and numbers to complete the statements. One answer will be used twice. Charon Galle Adams Le Verrier Voyager It took Voyager 2 over years to reach Uranus. 6. Uranus has moons. 7. Neptune s location was predicted by and using mathematical calculations. 8. The astronomer discovered Neptune very close to its predicted location. 9. The spacecraft visited Neptune in Neptune circles the sun once every years. 11. The orbit of is tilted. 12. s moon is just over half the size of. 13. The diameter of is about two-thirds the size of our Moon. Write true if the statement is true and false if it is false. Correct any false statements. 14. The unusual tilt of Uranus causes its poles to have 52 years of light. 15. Uranus has faint, narrow rings. 16. Uranus has the strongest winds in the solar system. 17. The Great Dark Spot is a storm on Neptune. 18. The New Horizons space probe flew past. 28

6 Looking Back Underline the correct choice. 19. It takes Jupiter 12, 24 years to orbit the sun. Lesson The Great Red Spot is a large storm, crater on Jupiter. 21. The largest planet in the solar system is Mars, Jupiter. 22. Jupiter s moon Ganymede, Ceres is larger than Mercury. 23. Saturn has large, beautiful moons, rings made of ice and rock. 24. Jupiter appears slightly flattened because of how fast it revolves, rotates. 25. Jupiter s surface gravity is 2.53 g, which means its gravity is greater, less than Earth s gravity. 26. Saturn and Jupiter are known as the gas giants, giant storms because they are large and covered in gas. Complete the activity. 27. Record the moon phase on page 39. Did You Know? s moon Charon has a canyon that is about as deep as Mount Everest is high. There are estimated to be at least ten more dwarf planets out beyond the orbit of. Neptune s moon Triton orbits clockwise around Neptune. This is the opposite direction of every other large moon in the solar system. 29

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