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Making Sense of the Universe's Marvels

We can only imagine what our early ancestors thought as they gazed up at the night sky - were they curious about what the heavens had to hide?

By Unravelling the UniversePublished 13 days ago 4 min read
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Making Sense of the Universe's Marvels
Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

British spelling

My articles are not meant for people with advanced knowledge of astronomy; we are not all experts on the subject.

Here are two of them. I hope you find them easy to read, interesting and educational.

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The Difference Between Meteoroids, Meteors, and Meteorites.

The names of meteoroids, meteors and meteorites can be confusing. My short article will explain how they differ.

Long before the Solar System existed, there was an area in space with a massive concentration of interstellar gas and dust. We know it now as a molecular cloud; this large area had a higher density than the surrounding space.

Image credit. Aldebaran S on Unsplash

This massive cloud would eventually become the birthplace of our local star, the sun.

Extremely low temperatures caused the gas and dust to bond, and these clumps grew larger as time went on. Then gravity started to pull the denser areas inward; this growing object was the beginning of a protostar, the early stage in star formation.

Gravity continued to collapse the material into an object which was getting larger, hotter and denser, when a critical temperature of 15 million degrees Celsius was reached nuclear fusion took place in its core, and a main-sequence star was born, namely our Sun.

The sun holds more than 99% of the total mass in the solar system.

Image credit. NASA on Unsplash

The nuclear fusion process in the newborn sun caused stellar winds to stream outward, stopping more debris from falling in.

Circling the newborn sun was the leftover material in a disc-shaped cloud called a solar nebula. It was inside this solar nebula, where all the other celestial objects in the Solar System formed, like planets, dwarf planets, moons, etc.

The Sun is estimated to be 4.6 billion years old and for all of that vast time, smaller rocky, ice, and metallic bodies called asteroids have circled the Sun.

Asteroids can sometimes collide with each other, causing fragments to break away. It is mostly these smaller fragments that we call meteoroids. When icy comets come close to the sun, the heat can melt the ice, dislodging small rocks, which also become meteoroids.

Meteoroids can be as small as grains of sand and can reach 100 metres in diameter; bigger space debris are called asteroids.

Image credit. Austin Schmid on Unsplash

Sometimes the Earth passes through an area in space with a higher density of meteoroids; some can enter the Earth's atmosphere, and when they do, they are known as meteors.

The smaller of them will burn up completely due to friction with the atmosphere. If the meteors are large enough, parts of them will land in the ocean or on dry land.

Objects that do land in the oceans or on land become meteorites. Over 90% of meteorites are made of rock, the remainder consists wholly or partly of iron and nickel.

The largest meteorite ever found is the Hoba meteorite, located in Namibia. This large chunk of iron is estimated to weigh over 60 tons.

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Discover the Profound Contrasts Between Earth and Venus

Image credit. WikiImages from Pixabay

Heaven and Hell come to mind when I think of Earth and Venus.

Although these two planets are similar in size, the conditions on their surfaces are so different.

Our magical planet maintains an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius, while Venus boasts an average temperature of 460 degrees Celsius - truly akin to Hell

Venus.

The temperature on the surface of Venus can be extreme - hot enough to melt lead.

It has a thick, heavy atmosphere stretching 80 kilometres up from its surface, and is composed mostly of carbon dioxide and sulphur clouds, which trap the sun's heat, causing a greenhouse effect.

Atmospheric pressure is over 90 times higher than on Earth. Venus was found to have a weak magnetic field, probably due to its slow rotation speed on its axis.

Scientists believe that Venus had a climate similar to that of the Earth with large amounts of water on its surface; that water could have lasted for 2 to 3 billion years; however, the large temperatures produced by the greenhouse effect have boiled off the water, leaving the harsh dry conditions that we see today.

Earth

Our beautiful world has an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius. 

Life thrives on our planet primarily due to its size and its distance from the sun. 

The area of space where the Earth orbits the sun is known as the Goldilocks zone or habitable zone.

This area in space ensures that it is neither too hot nor too cold; liquid water exists in the habitable zone, which is needed for all life on Earth.

Image credit. Tucker Monticelli on Unsplash

Like everything in the cosmos, Earth has a lifespan that will naturally end sometime in the distant future. 

In the meantime, I hope that mankind will start treating our only home with respect, for the sake of ourselves and the millions of other species that share our world

The end.

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You may find my easy-to-understand stories about the universe and life interesting and educational.

Subscribe to me for free, and you will see my latest stories. Enjoy.

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About the Creator

Unravelling the Universe

We can only imagine what our early ancestors thought as they gazed up at the night sky—were they curious about what the heavens had to hide? 

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