Astronomy and Mars go hand in hand.
Astronomy and Mars
go hand in hand because we have known about the planet Mars since prehistoric times. Science fiction writers have written about it, astronomers have studied it, and hollywood has made movies about this red planet. for as long as we`ve known about it, we have fantasized about the possibility of life on Mars.
One of the first things people usually look at when they first get a telescope is our red neighbor in the sky. With a good telescope, you can actually witness the seasons change on the planet.
Even though the planet has seasons just like the Earth does, there are a lot of differences too. Let`s start with the temperature, the average temperature on the planet is -67 degrees. That`s just a bit chilly for me! The weather patterns there are also very different from the Earth. The Martian weather can get a bit testy at times. The planet is known to have massive dust storms that have the potential to cover the entire planet. Now that`s what I call a storm!
Did you know that Mars is named after the Roman god of war?
Many spacecraft have visited the red planet over the years and we`ve learned a lot from these missions. We`ve learned the planet has no vegetation and is very cold and windy. It doesn`t seem to be a very hospitable place at all!
One advantage of being so close to our red neighbor, is that the Hubble Telescope has taken some great pictures. These pictures have helped us to learn even more about the planet.
Here are more interesting facts to know about our heavenly neighbor:
- It`s the 4th planet from the Sun
- It`s approximately 4.6 billion years old
- It orbits at about 141 million miles from the Sun
- A day is a little over 24 hours
- A year is roughly equivalent to 2 Earth years
- The planet`s moons may be asteroids captured by its gravitational pull
- The planetary structure consists of a crust, mantle, and a core
- Evidence of erosion tells us that liquid was present sometime in the past
- It has a thin atmosphere made of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, argon, and oxygen
It`s easy to see why this planet has fascinated astronomers, writers, and hollywood for so long. Who knows what science will eventually discover about it!
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