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         The Sun is always losing weight. In fact scientists have worked out that it loses around 4 million tons every second. This is the amount of Hydrogen gas that the Sun turns into energy every second.

         The second nearest star to us : Not counting our Sun the star nearest to us is Proxima - Centauri. Its light takes four years to reach us. Even if we could travel to this star, the journey would take a very long time. 45 million years by CAR, 900 million years on foot, 100,0000 years by Space Craft.

         Neptune was the first planet to be discovered by a Mathecial calculations instead of by eye. However, it has been registered as a star in 1795 by a french astronomer named Lalande.

         Neptune appeared the brightest when viewed through telescopes on earth during period of minimum sunspot activity. During high sunspot activity global hazes form around neptune, affecting its apparent brightness as seen from earth.

         Neptune is almost a twin of Uranus, but it is slightly smaller and does not have the strange tilt of Uranus.

         A human being living on Neptune would never live for one Neptune year. The Neptune year is the time it takes Neptune to travel once around the Sun - 165 Earth days.

         Aryabhatta and Insat 2-D were launched by India. They are one of the Satellites.

         Our earth has only one satellite which is a natural satellite of the earth is moon.

         One of the highest mountain ranges in the Solar System is found on Venus. It is called the "Maxwell","Montes" and its highest peak is more than (2 km) 1.2 miles higher than Mount Everest.

         When a star has used up all its fuel after many million of years, it dies. There is a huge explosion and it collapses on itself. All the material is crushed together in a small area, no more than 20 km (12.5 miles) across. It is so heavy a piece the size of the pin head would weight about a million tons.

         The dead stars, called pulsars, spin around very quickly and give off bursts of radio waves. The radio waves were picked up by telescopes on earth. About 300 had been discovered so far.

         Since Mercury is nearest to the sun it takes only about 88 days to complete one revolution.

         Pluto is the farthest so it takes only about 248 years to complete one revolution.

         One Earth takes about 365 days to complete one revolution.

         In size the earth's shape is almost identical to Venus.

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         It is said that if the Sun's head would be increased or decreased by as much as 10 percent. A large part of the earth would turn into a hot desert or an-ice bound desert.

         Except Venus & Uranus all other planets rotate in the same direction in which they revolve.

         The sun is about 150 million kilometres away from the earth.

         Light travels at a tremendous speed of 300,000 kilometres per second.

         The moon revolves around the earth in about 27 days and 8 hours. It revolves and rotates on the same speed.

         The nameof our galaxy is Milky way.

         There are perhaps millions of galaxies in the whole universe.

         Scientists believe that around 5,000,000,000 years ago the solar system was a spinning cloud of hot gas and dust. Most of the material in this cloud came together at the centre to form the sun. In several other places also, the material came together to form the planets.

         The Moon is moving slowly away from earth at the rate of 3 cm per year.

         The temp. when the big bang happened was about 1 billion billion billion 0C.

         Every star would explode if gravity did not hold it material together.

         Sirus, the brightest star in the sky, has a magnitude of minus 1.5.

         If the sun became a black-hole, it would be only a few kilometres across-but it could shallow the Earth.

         The sun's temp. at its core is believed to be about 14 million 0C. At the surface it is 6000 0C.

         It would take 81 moons to weight same as Earth.

         Luna 2 became the first space probe to hit the moon when it crash landed on the surface in 1959.

         The brightest moon crater that can be seen from earth is called Bailly. It is about 290 kms across.

         Earth is 2 times bigger than Mercury.

         There may be a huge black hole at the centre of our galaxy that is gradually sucking in, the surrounding light and gas.

         The earth's core is about 7000 km across and is probably made up of iron and nickel. The outer part is liquid and the inner part is solid.

         Clouds on venus spin round the palnet in only four earth days.

         Mercury has a volcano, called Olympus Mons, that stretches 25 km above the planets surface. It is the largest volcano in the solar system.

         The biggest known meteorite weighed 60 tonnes. It fell in prehistoric times in Namibia, Africa, where it is still lies.

         The most famous meteorite crater on earth is in Arizona, USA. It is more than a kilometre wide.

         Saturn's day is only 10 hours 14 min. long.

         The planet pluto is smaller than our moon.

         Most of the material in the universe is invisible. Some of it may exist as dark particles between galaxies.

         Some underwater volcanoes are higher than Mount Everest.

         The temperature in our Earth's core is 5000 Degree C.

         The diameter across the centre of our earth is 12,756 kms. Its weight is 5,974,000,000,000 billion tonnes. Its two-third surface is covered with water.

         Facts on the closest planet to Sun 'Mercury'

         A day that lasts for 24 hours, 37.5 minutes-almost the same as Earth's. Its year, however, is nearly twice as long as Earth's - 687 earth days.

         A thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide that does not block the sun's harmful radiation. It is cold, with temp. averaging 23 0C.

         Occasional large dustorms that are visible through a telescope from earth.

         Mars has two very small natural satellites or moons, called Phobos and Deimos. Phobos is 22 km across. Deimos is 14 km across.

         The five brightest stars and facts about them which can be seen by earth

         SIRIUS - magnitude minus 1.5 and it is 8.7 light years away from earth.

         CANOPUS - magnitude minus 0.7 and it is 230 light years away from earth.

         ALPHA CENTUARI - magnitude minus 0.3 and it is 4.3 light years away from earth.

         ARCTURUS - magnitude 0.06 and it is 38 light years away from earth.

         VEGA - magnitude 0.04 and 27 light years away from earth.

         "Andromeda spiral" is one of the neighbouring galaxies which is about 2 million light years away from earth and contains about 400 billion stars.

         Asteroids were discovered in 1801.

         The largest asteroid is Ceres, which is 940 km in diameter.

         Chiron orbits between Saturn and Uranus and is the furthest asteroid from earth.

         Saturn's ring can be seen even with a small telescope.

         Jupiter shines brightly about 9 months each year.

         Jupiters' gases change colour so often that the planet looks different each night when seen through a telescope.

         Until voyager 1 space probe passed it in 1979, astronomers did not know Jupiter had a ring around it.

         Winds on Saturn blow at about 1400 km/h. Tornadoes on earth blow at only 300-600 km/h.

         Jupiter's great red spot is a swirling tornado that has been raging for at least 100 years. It is about 40,000 km long and 11,000 km wide. That is more than 3 times the diameter of earth.

         Jupiters' main satellites

         CALLISTO, the outmost, is an icy, and cratered satellite much bigger than earth's moon.

         GANYMEDE is larger than the planet Mercury. It's surface is icy, with grooves and streabs.

         EUROPA is smaller than Earth's moon. it is smooth and icy with very few craters.

         LO, the innermost is slightly larger than the moon. It has a red, volcanic surface.

         Some of Saturn's satellites

         MIMAS is one of the innermost satellites. It has a crater on its surface over 100 km wide. That is nearly two-thirds of its diameter.

         TITAN, the largest satellite is bigger than mercury. It has a cloudy atmosphere of nitrogen gas and may have oceans made up of liquid methane.

         Unlike Earth, which has been continuously worn away, the surface of the Moon has not been attacked by wind and water. Rocks brought back to Earth by astronauts have probably been lying in the same position for 3,000,000,000 years without moving a fraction of an inch.

         About 500,000 Moon craters can be seen through the most powerful telescopes. The largest crater we can see is called Bailly and covers an area of about 67,300 sq km. Belgium could sit inside it if it were brought down to Earth.

         Because there is no atmosphere on the Moon, footprints left by Apollo astronauts and tracks made by the Moon buggies will probably be visible for at least 10,000,000 years.

         Our galaxy is so huge that a flash of light travelling at its natural speed of 1,080,000,000 km per hour would take 100,000 years to travel from one side of the galaxy to the other.

         The world galaxy comes from the Greek for milk, 'gala'. Ancient Greeks believed the Milky Way was formed from milk spilled from the breast of the goddess Hera while she fed Heracles (Hercules).

         There is enough water in the atmosphere to cover the entire surface of the Earth with 2-5 centimetres of water.

         The Moon has no atmosphere and no water, so nothing will grow. But when samples of Moon soil were brought back to Earth and watered, plants grew in Moon soil.

         Earth is a very special planet. It is the only planet in the Solar System known to support life. If it were closer to the Sun, it would be too hot to support lift. Farther away, it would be too cold.

         Earth is the most highly coloured object in the Solar System. From space it appears as a blue and white planet because of the blue of the oceans and the white of the clouds.

         Our Solar System was formed about 4.6 billion years ago. Nearby, 10 billion years after the universe began. New stars in solar system are still being formed.

         So far, six tiny planets have been found. The first two have been named Smiley and Kamla. Scientists once hoped that a large planet would be discovered, but now it seems unlikely.

         The Sun will last for many millions of years. In about 5 billion years time, the sun will have to burnt up all of its hydrogen fuel. It will become a hundred times as bright as it is now and swell up to swallow the nearest planets, including earth. After another 100 million years, the Sun will shrink to become a White Dwarf Star.

         The sun is so hot that spacecrafts can not fly very near it. In 1976, Helios 2 travelled to within 45,000,000 km of the sun. This is closer than the Sun's nearest planet, mercury.

         Mars is red because it is rusty ! The surface of the planet is covered in iron oxide, or rust, which forms when iron mixes with small amounts of oxygen & water.

         Saturn's atmosphere is made up of different gases. Some of these gases do not mix and when Saturn spin, high winds blow the gas around the planet into strips. Each strip is a different kind of gas.

         When people first looked through telescopes at the Moon, they thought that the dark areas on the moon were seas. They gave them names, such as the Sea of Tranquility. It was later discovered that these seas were really areas of dry, dark lava from volcanic eruptions.

 

 
     
 
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