Facts about Planets

Facts about Planets :

Mars is called the Red Planet because its surface is reddish orange in color. The rocks and soil on Mars contain iron. Long ago there was water on Mars. The water rusted the iron and turned it red. Strong winds blow the red soil up into the sky. Mars is about half the size of the earth.

No astronaut has ever visited Mars or any other planet. But scientists do send robotic spacecraft without astronauts into orbit around Mars. Sometimes the scientists send robots to the surface of Mars. The robots take photos, collect samples of soil, rocks and gases and measure conditions on the planet. The north and south poles of the Mars are covered with ice.

Jupiter is so big…more than 1000 earths could fit inside it. Jupiter is more than eleven times the size of Earth. Jupiter is also the heaviest planet. Because of its great size, ancient astronomers named Jupiter after the king of the Roman gods. The second largest planet in the solar system is Saturn.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is the most violent storm in the Solar System. Astronomers are not sure what causes the Great Red Spot or where it gets its color. Over the years, the color of the Great Red Spot has ranged from brick red to almost white. In the last few years, the Great Red Spot has been shrinking. The Great Red Spot is at least 300 years old.

Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune also have rings. But Saturn's rings are brighter than those of the other planets. Saturn is surrounded by thousands of thin, flat rings. The rings are made up of billions of pieces of ice, rock and dust. Each piece is like a tiny mirror that shines because it bounces back the Sun's light. The first astronomer to see Saturn’s rings thought that the planet had handles. Only after few more years, they started treating those rings as rings.

Our view of Saturn keeps changing. For half of its travels around the Sun, the top of Saturn is pointing toward us. We see Saturn's rings from above. For the other half of its journey, the top of Saturn is pointing away from us. We see the rings from below. When Saturn is tilted sideways, the rings almost disappear. Its takes almost thirty earth years for Saturn to orbit the Sun Once. Because of this, our view of the rings around Saturn is always changing.

Few more Facts :

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