Your favorite blogger from Tiny Planets here to share some awesome pictures from this week. Many of you may know that the Transit of Venus took place earlier. What does this mean? Well, even I had to look that one up and ask my dear friends Bing and Bong. They showed me this awesome video by our friends at NASA:
The Transit of Venus occurs when the planet of Venus passes right between the Sun and planet Earth. When all you dears living on Earth looked up at the Sun, you would have seen a black ball passing directly across the face of the Sun. Actually, you would have needed some special glasses to do that because we all know how dangerous it is to look directly at the Sun — don’t do it!
Anyway, the reason this whole thing is so exciting is because occurs in pairs 8 years apart every 243 years. So basically we will never see something like this until 2255! I hope you didn’t miss it, but incase you did, here is a picture to show you what it looked like:
Look at how Venus passed by the sun in 2004 and then a few days ago in 2012.
Enjoy the world around you — especially these moments of a lifetime!
Aurora’s tour of the galaxy continues. This time she’s heading out in the far reaches of our solar system towards Pluto. Let’s tune into her report.
Have you wondered what happened to Pluto? Is it still here? What do you guys think? Yeah, it is still around. It just got recategorized when we found out there were way more objects out there bigger than Pluto. Continue reading →
Do you have a big sister? I do. Don’t tell her that I said so, but she’s a pretty good one. It’ll go to her head. Anyway, did you know that the Earth has a big sister too? Seems kind of strange, huh? I mean how can a planet have a sister? Good question. Let’s go do some investigating!
Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is named after the Roman goddess of beauty and love. (Those Greek and Roman gods sure get around, don’t you think?) Out of all of the planets in the Earth’s solar system, Venus is the one that is the most like it in size and gravity.
Like all big sisters, it likes to check up on the Earth (and play tricks too!) If you were to get up early in the morning you’d see a bright star in the sky. But don’t be fooled — that’s no star; it’s Venus! Venus is always the brighter than any star and is visible whenever the Sun is low on the horizon.
In ancient times astronomers referred to it as the “morning star” and the “evening star”. Every 584 days Venus catches up with Earth, and when it does so it changes from the “Evening star,” which you can see after sunset to the “Morning star,” which becomes visible before sunrise.
Venus sure likes to have fun with the residents of Earth. Not only has it pretended to be a star, she likes to trick earthlings into thinking of it as an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO). If Venus were a person, I’m sure she’d have a giggle fit.
Just like in any family, there are always some differences too. Major differences. For one, while it takes the Earth 365.25 days to get around the Sun, Venus has a shorter year of 224.7 days. Did you know that Venus rotates backwards? Yep, she’s the independent type, so instead of rotating from left to right (like all of the other planets in our solar system) she likes to go right to left. Don’t believe me? Then check out this video showing Venus’ rotation.
Venus is also famous for hiding behind a thick veil of clouds. Ever wonder what kind of secrets its hiding? Yeah, me too. So next week, we’re going to look beneath those clouds and see what’s going on. Are you with me? I hope so!
And before you return to your cadet duties, check out Venus’ unique rotation. Pretty cool, huh?
When Bong and I first started studying your solar system our attention was immediately drawn to the majestic planet of Jupiter. It is by far the biggest planet you have. It is the firth planet away from the sun and is a vast planet of swirling gases and storms of unimaginable fury. It is no wonder that it was named after the king of the Roman storm god’s Jupiter, Lord of the Sky, Master of Lightning and Thunder.
Jupiter is the closets gas giant, a planet made almost entirely of gases. It’s not much smaller than a type of star called brown dwarfs. Continue reading →
The planet Mercury was named after the Roman winged messenger of the gods who was very fast. This was considered a good name for this planet because its brief periods of visibilty at dawn and dusk made people think that its speed made it so hard to spot in the night sky.
Although the ancient astronomers of Earth didn’t have the technology to track Mercury the way that we do today, they were correct in theorizing that it is a very fast moving planet. In fact, it has the fastest orbital speed of all the planets, averaging 30 miles per second. It is the closest planet to the Sun and is blasted by solar heat and other radiation. I guess if you had to deal with all that heat you’d move swiftly too! Continue reading →