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Ten things you may not know about the solar system | Space | EarthSky

EarthSky // Blogs // Space Larry Sessions Aug 14, 2012 Ten things you may not know about the solar system Image via New Scientist Here’s a collection of 10 unexpected and intriguing facts about our solar system – our sun and its family of planets – you probably did not know! googletag.cmd.pushfunction { googletag.displaydiv-gpt-ad-1336062812552-0; }; 10 things you may not knowMy friend and colleague Dr. Victor Andersen of the Community College of Aurora, CO gave a talk called “Ten Things You May Not Know About the Solar System,” a bit in the sense of David Letterman’s Top Ten List. I thought it was a great talk and so decided to give my own commentary on Victor’s list. While the list is Victor’s, any errors are purely my own.So here we go:10 The hottest planet isn’t closest to the sunMany people know that Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, well less than half of the Earth’s distance. It is no mystery, therefore, why people would assume that Mercury is the hottest planet. We know that Venus, the second planet away from the sun, is on the average 30 million miles farther from the sun than Mercury. The natural assumption is that being farther away, it must be cooler. But assumptions can be dangerous. For practical consideration, Mercury has no atmosphere, no warming blanket to help it maintain the sun’s heat. Venus, on the other hand, is shrouded by an unexpectedly thick atmosphere, about 100 times thicker than our own on Earth. This in itself would normally serve to prevent some of the sun’s energy from escaping back into space and thus raise the overall temperature of the planet. But in addition to the atmosphere’s thickness, it is composed almost entirely of carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas. The carbon dioxide freely lets solar energy in, but is far less transparent to the longer wavelength radiation emitted by the heated surface. Thus the temperature rises to a level far above what would be expected, making it the hottest planet. In fact the average temperature on Venus is about 875 degrees F, hot enough

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Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizesknowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[1] In an older and closely related meaning (found, for example, in Aristotle), “science” refers to the body of reliable knowledge itself, of the type that can be logically and rationally explained (see History and philosophy below).[2] Since classical antiquity science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy. In the early modern era the words “science” and “philosophy” were sometimes used interchangeably in the English language.[citation needed] By the 17th century,natural philosophy (which is today called “natural science“) was considered a separate branch of philosophy.[3]However, “science” continued to be used in a broad sense denoting reliable knowledge about a topic, in the same way it is still used in modern terms such as library science or political science.

In modern use, “science” more often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. It is “often treated as synonymous with ‘natural and physical science’, and thus restricted to those branches of study that relate to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws, sometimes with implied exclusion of pure mathematics. This is now the dominant sense in ordinary use.”[4] This narrower sense of “science” developed as scientists such as Johannes KeplerGalileo Galilei and Isaac Newton began formulating laws of nature such asNewton’s laws of motion. In this period it became more common to refer to natural philosophy as “natural science”. Over the course of the 19th century, the word “science” became increasingly associated with the scientific method, a disciplined way to study the natural world, including physicschemistrygeology and biology. It is in the 19th century also that the term scientist was created by the naturalist-theologian William Whewell to distinguish those who sought knowledge on nature from those who sought knowledge on other disciplines. The Oxford English Dictionary dates the origin of the word “scientist” to 1834. This sometimes left the study of human thought and society in a linguistic limbo, which was resolved by classifying these areas of academic study as social science. Similarly, several other major areas of disciplined study and knowledge exist today under the general rubric of “science”, such as formal science and applied science.  Via Wikipedia

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