Astronomy for GCSE





Astronomy... 14. The Planets

[26 December 2020] I've not yet started Chapter 14 about the planets, but for Christmas I received one of these "DIY Solar System Planetariums" aimed at children but surely fun for adults too! It needs assembling and painting.

In the included instructions is a page give some details about the solar system, so I thought I would add those here [there are also some mistakes! and I haven't checked all details for accuracy]:

  • The Sun is 93,000,000 miles from the Earth [or 1 AU], its diameter is 865,000 miles
  • Mercury is 36,000,000 miles from the Sun, its diameter is only 3,100 miles
  • Venus is 67,000,000 miles from the Sun, its diameter is 7,570 miles
  • Regarding the Earth it is stated the Sun is 36,000,000 miles away... [I think someone copied and pasted the detail for Mercury! but it already stated (correctly) that it is 93,000,000 miles away]. The Earth's diameter is 7,900 miles [this is something the Ancient Egyptians knew and programmed into their Great Pyramid]
  • Mars is 142,000,000 miles from the Sun, it has a diameter of 4,222 miles
  • Jupiter is 483,000,000 miles from the Sun, it has the largest diameter of the planets at 88,700 miles. It makes a complete revolution on its axis in half the time as Earth does [this seems epic given its size!].
  • Saturn is 889,000,000 miles from the Sun, its diameter is 75,700 miles, again rotating in half the time as Earth does
  • Uranus is 1,800,000,000 miles from the Sun [three times further than Jupiter is], its diameter is 32,000 miles
  • Neptune is 2,800,000,000 miles from the Sun, its diameter is 30,800 miles

The details about the number of moons each planet has is some what vague; for the outer planets it just says "more than..."; here are the details I found from NASA:

Mercury - 0
Venus - 0
Earth - 1
Mars - 2
Jupiter - 53 confirmed
Saturn - 53 confirmed
Uranus - 27
Neptune - 14

The Planetarium itself doesn't include moons; it would have been nice if it included the Earths since this is more important to us, maybe I'll consider adding my own when I come to assembling the model.

[To be continued...]

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