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  • HighVoltage’s project
    The Voyager update project
    Description has not yet been created.
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.


    -Research if other planets and bodies already show unique characteristics (markings)
    -How can we mark our space?
    -Is our space already marked?

    (Sources: Wikipedia and " Astronomy, 4th Edition" from Chaisson and McMillan)

    Earth is a planet.

    A planet, as defined by the International Astronomical Union (IAU), is a celestial body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighboring region of planetesimals.

    Those are some pretty specific characteristics, but what then makes planets unique?

    Besides the obvious answer of the physical make-up of the planet there are actually many characteristics that can differentiate planets from one and other.

    Orbit:
    From elliptical to more circular, planet’s orbits can vary.

    Axial tilt:
    The actual tilt of the planet can vary greatly—just look at Uranus, it’s on its side.

    Rotation:
    Planets rotate around their axial. Some move very rapidly (gas giants
    rotate in a few Earth hours), while others…don’t (Venus takes 243 Earth days).

    Some other obvious characteristics include a planet’s mass, whether they have atmospheres, magnetospheres, and orbital satellites like moons or rings.

    But what about stars…like our sun.

    Astronomers can determine the mass, age, chemical composition and many other properties of a star by observing its spectrum, luminosity and motion through space.
    Other characteristics of a star are determined by its evolutionary history, including the diameter, rotation, movement and temperature.

    Notice the word spectrum.

    This is what I was hoping to delve into with my research.

    Astronomical spectroscopy is the technique of spectroscopy used in astronomy. The object of study is the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, which radiates from stars and other celestial objects. Spectroscopy can be used to derive many properties of distant stars and galaxies, such as their chemical composition and also their motion, via the Doppler shift.

    And just to review:

    Electromagnetic (EM) radiation: is a self-propagating wave in space with electric and magnetic components. These components oscillate at right angles to each other and to the direction of propagation, and are in phase with each other. Electromagnetic radiation is classified into types according to the frequency of the wave: these types include, in order of increasing frequency, radio waves, microwaves, terahertz radiation, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.

    Basically, through the use of astronomical spectroscopy—or observing the electromagnetic radiation—astronomers can determine what stars, planets, and other celestial bodies are made of.

    An interesting note on planets and asteroids—

    Planets and asteroids shine only by reflecting the Sun's light. The reflected light contains absorption bands due to minerals in the rocks present for rocky bodies, or due to the elements and molecules present in the atmospheres of the Gas giants. Asteroids can be classified into three main types, according to their spectra: the C-types are made of carbonaceous material, S-types consist mainly of silicates, and M-types are 'metallic'. C- and S-type asteroids are the most common.

    So coming back to the question first posed:

    “Are there any unique natural markings to our planet or others?”

    In truth, it was a bit of a stupid question…yeah, there are.

    Of the four “terrestrial planets” in our solar system (which means the planets made up mostly of silicate rocks: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars), Earth has the highest density, the highest surface gravity and the strongest magnetic field.

    If astronomers from a distant world were looking at Earth and using spectroscopy to see what Earth was made of, they’d see that it is composed mostly of iron (32.1%), oxygen (30.1%), silicon (15.1%), magnesium (13.9%), sulfur (2.9%), nickel (1.8%), calcium (1.5%), and aluminium (1.4%); with the remaining 1.2% consisting of trace amounts of other elements.

    So what out of all this is the most important?

    Spectroscopy is pretty important, but it’s actually the fact that Earth has the strongest magnetic field that jumps out at me…oh, and a little thing called life.

    Mon, Feb 4, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: Lighthouse
    Sent to project: The Voyager update project
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