Our solar system is a collection of some cosmic “neighbors” in space existing in a certain range. This extraordinary system of space bodies includes: a Sun, 8 planets with 140 moons, dwarf planets, comets, and asteroids. In the center of the Solar System, there is average in size and age, yellow star that people call it the Sun. Around it, for about five billion years, 8 planets and different celestial bodies have been circling in the eternal dance (Seasky.org. “The Solar System”). The size of the planets ranges from the small stone worlds to the giants consisting of ice and gas. Dozens of moons rotate around these planets of the size starting from rocky asteroids to planets with their own atmosphere (Seasky.org. “The Solar System”).
The Sun is the energy source of our planet Earth. The strong gravitational field of the Sun keeps the planets in their places. Weather and climate of the planets and biological life on Earth depend from solar energy. Without the Sun, life on Earth would be impossible (Encrenaz et al. 39).
The solar system is divided into two parts – the inner and outer area. The terrestrial planets are located in the inner region (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars). When leaving the red planet, Mars, with its moons, we find a strange cluster of small planet-like objects, called the asteroid belt of the solar system (Encrenaz et al. 40).
Gas giants – Jupiter and Saturn, and ice giants Uranus and Neptune are in the outer area. These two areas are separated from each other with the asteroid belt. The terrestrial planets are composed of silicate crust, mantle and metallic core. Planet of the outer region consist mainly of hydrogen and helium (McBride & Gilmour 54).
Further behind Neptune, there are two other regions – the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. The Kuiper Belt is composed of dwarf planets, and numerous small celestial bodies. At a considerable distance from the Kuiper belt, there is located the Oort cloud – the abode of icy comets. Scientists have little information about these regions, however, they are hoping that once the NASA satellite reaches Pluto, science will abundantly replenish with new information (Seed 230-231).
Comets are literally cosmic snowballs composed of frozen gases, dust and rocks of the size of a small city. When the comet's orbit brings it close to the Sun, it heats up and spews dust and gas causing it to become brighter than most planets (McBride & Gilmour 62).
Dwarf planets revolve around the sun, like other eight major planets. But unlike the planets, dwarf planets are not able to clear their orbital path. A dwarf planet is much smaller than the planet (smaller even than Earth's Moon). The best known of the dwarf planet is Pluto (McBride & Gilmour 64).
Our star and its planets are only a tiny part of the Milky Way galaxy. Outside the solar system, there is a huge space, which is a great collection of the stars, so big that it would take 100,000 years to cross it with the speed of light. All the stars in the night sky, including our Sun are just some of the “inhabitants” of this galaxy. In addition to our own galaxy, there are plenty of other galaxies.
At the moment, we know that the Solar System includes the Sun, 8 planets with their moons, dwarf planets, comets, asteroids, the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt. Eight planets, except Uranus, move around the Sun at the same plane, which is called the ecliptic plane (Encrenaz et al. 96).
For many centuries, people looked at the night sky and were pondering about the mysterious lights, trying to at least partially understand what was going on. Soon, people noticed that some lights were moving across the sky at a certain path. These lights were named planets that from Greek word which is translated as a “wanderer” (Seasky.org. “The Solar System”). At the time of occurrence in the scientific community of the concept of "planet", people believed that our planet was in the very center of the galaxy, so the planets were presented as divine messengers, wandering in the heaven. Many of the planets received the divine names – Mercury, Mars, Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter (Seasky.org. “The Solar System”).
After Intense Middle Ages were over, and the Renaissance came instead of dark ages, the scientific paradigm underwent significant changes. People started to slowly come to the realization that, after all, planets were moving around the Sun, but not the earth. A huge contribution to the astronomy of the period was made by such scientists as Galileo, Kepler, and Copernicus. After people invented the telescope, they realized that our solar system had a much more difficult structure than it was believed previously. Thus began a new era in space exploration (NASA. “Our Solar System: Overview).
Armed with telescopes, scientists continued to study the solar system. Eventually, after lengthy investigations they discovered Uranus, Neptune and the ninth planet of the solar system, Pluto. Later, thanks to more advanced technologies moons of Mars, Saturn, and Jupiter were discovered. At the beginning of the XX century, the mankind was able to see in detail the planets of the solar system. A significant event in the world of astronomy was sending telescopes into space. Through the program "Voyager", in the 70-s, scientists received extensive information about the planets of our solar system. In the late 20th century, the planet Pluto was ranked among the category of dwarf planets. Thus, our solar system was made up of eight planets instead of nine (NASA. “Our Solar System: Overview).
Now when I have provided the analysis of the topic in the text included above, I would like to discuss the way I wrote this paper, what approaches and techniques I used.
After I obtained enough material I decided to brainstorm with a friend of mine, Tareq, ideas and facts that should be mentioned in the paper. Having met him, we spent a couple of hours together talking on this topic. After studying the material, we agreed to write down all ideas and key concepts that each of us would like to include into the paper. In 10 minutes the list was ready and already in another 20 minutes, after a heated discussion, we had the outline of the future paper written on the blackboard.
Next stage was working with the materials. I knew that I did not have much time to read all those books completely, so I looked for the material based on the outline and read only about those things I intended to incorporate into the paper. Annotating was the main approach I used for analyzing the selected materials.
The most challenging part of the assignment was a time management part. This topic is extremely interesting for me, that I could read more and more on this topic. But understanding that I am limited in time, I needed to mind the time spent on writing the paper. Moreover, I had to leave some time for revision and editing. The thing that helped me a lot to write this paper was the fact that I was more or less acquainted with the topic, so that I did not have to study it from scratch which saved me much time. Next, Tareq was extremely useful in proofreading and revising the paper. He was my kind-of-peer-reviewing partner who not only checked the final version of the paper but assisted me from the very beginning. After I finished the last sentence, we took some rest, and then I read the paper a couple of times aloud so that Tareq could indicate some mistakes, which I corrected immediately.
Having evaluated the work done, I believe that I did my best to meet the requirements of the assignment and wrote a paper based on the guidelines.
Encrenaz, T, Bibring, J., Barucci, M, Roques, F., and Philippe Zarka. The Solar System. Berlin, Germany: Springer Science & Business Media, 2004. Print.
McBride, N., and Iain Gilmour. An Introduction to the Solar System. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.
NASA. “Our Solar System: Overview”. nasa.gov. 2016. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.
Seasky.org. “The Solar System”. seasky.org. N.d. Web. 30 Jan. 2016.
Seed, M. The Solar System. New York, NY: Thomson Brooks/Cole, 2005. Print.