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Q: Solar System ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Solar System
Category: Science > Astronomy
Asked by: xnumeral-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 13 Jul 2005 07:34 PDT
Expires: 12 Aug 2005 07:34 PDT
Question ID: 543020
Please provide the following data about the solar system:

Size of the Sun and each planet (diameter and mass). (Up to Pluto).
Distance from the Sun (max and min in AU's).
Age of each planet.
Main features of each planet.
Date of discovery of the planet and discoverer, if possible.
Moons of the planets with size and distance.
Distance and main characteristics of the belts that belong to the
system (trans-plutonian belts).

Subject: Re: Solar System
Answered By: websearcher-ga on 13 Jul 2005 08:05 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello xnumeral:

Thqnks for the interesting question. Rather than regurgitate all the
facts you are asking for, I think the best process is to send you to
NASA's excellent solar system website:

Solar System Exploration

Information on the planets can be found at: 


A very nice table with much of the data you requested for each planet
can be found at:

Compare the Planets

More in-depth information on a specific planet (such as discoverer and
date, moon data, ring data, etc.) can be found by clikcing on the
planet's name in the list to the lefthand sode of the main Planet
page. For example, the page for Uranus, is at:

Uranus - Overview

Clicking the "Read More About Uranus" link at the bottom of the short
Overview page brings up even more information about interesting

Uranus - Long Overview

However, many of the "hard facts" you are looking for are best found
in the "Facts & Figures" pages (found by clicking the appropriate tab
at the top). For Uranus:

Uranus - Facts & Figures

Uranus's moons are listed at the bottom of this fact sheet. For
individual information about a moon, just click on its name in this

As for information on the "trans-plutonian belts", please click on the
"Kuiper Belt" link in the list of planets.

For information on the Sun itself, go to: 


The only fact you've asked for that isn't covered yet, I beleive, is
the *age* of the planets and the sun:

Quote: "The age of the planets, on the other hand, is something that
is estimated on the basis of theory. We have measured the age of rocks
from Earth, the Moon, and Mars, and the oldest rocks all show a
maximum estimated age of several billion years. Our theories lead us
to believe that all the planets formed at essentially the same time,
and that the age of the Earth and the other solar system planets is
about 4.5 to 4.6 billion years."

Age of the Sun
Quote: "03 February, 1998. Astronomers have been able to date the Sun
by applying the theory of stellar structure and evolution to data that
describe the interior of the Sun found through the study of solar
oscillations. The Sun is dated at 4.5 billion years old, satisfyingly
close to the 4.56 billion year age of the Solar System as found from
the study of meteorites."

Search Strategy (on Google):
* "solar system" facts 
* age "solar system" 
* "age of the planets" 
* "age of the sun" 

I hope this helps!


Request for Answer Clarification by xnumeral-ga on 15 Jul 2005 09:15 PDT
Dear Websearcher,

Thank you for your detailed and very informative answer.  After
reviewing the data related to the rotational period and the period it
takes for a planet or moon to do a turn around the Sun or other planet
(ie: 1 day, and 365 days for the Earth), I noticed that our Moon has
an odd behavior, both periods are exactly the same which causes us to
see only one side of it at any time.  Is this just a coincidence or is
there some physical explanation for this tpe of movement?


Clarification of Answer by websearcher-ga on 15 Jul 2005 09:38 PDT
Hi xnumeral:

The best explanation of this phenomenon, called "synchronous
rotation", that I found was at:

Could you explain what causes the Moon's synchronous rotation? 


Request for Answer Clarification by xnumeral-ga on 17 Jul 2005 21:19 PDT
Used to the Solar System maps and graphics that I have seen since my
youth, I was not aware, until I read the chaper 2 of Bill Bryson's "A
Short History of Nearly Everything," that it is practically impossible
to render a graphic on scale of our solar system.  So I decided to try
it by myself and, yes, got the big surprise that after plotting the
orbits of the 9 planets in a large cardboard, about 4.5 feet long, the
Sun had a diameter of just 0.25 mm!

In this respect found a very interesting page at:

Thank you very much for your information.  It was very interesting to
see all the facts that we know about our solar system.  I was also
surprised reading the facts about the structure and mechanism of our

Just one more question is remaining about the Moon and the Earth:  The
size and the distance of the Moon to the Earth, and the the size and
the distance of the Earth to the Sun, and the size of the Sun, are
such that if the Sun and the Earth are looked from the Earth, both
have exactly the same apparent size (which allows the full eclipses). 
Is this just a coincidence, or, as the synchronous rotation has also
an explanation?




Clarification of Answer by websearcher-ga on 18 Jul 2005 03:08 PDT
Hi xnumeral:

It's a coincidence!

Why is the Moon exactly the same apparent size from Earth as the Sun?
Surely this cannot be just coincidence; the odds against such a
perfect match are enormous.
Quote: "Believe it or not, it actually is just a coincidence ? and a
happy one at that. The Moon and Sun have virtually the same angular
size in our sky because the Sun is about 400 times wider than the
Moon, but it's also about 400 times farther away."

Annular Eclipses of the Sun
Quote: "What a Coincidence!
The equality in apparent size between the sun and moon is really a
rather miraculous coincidence. If the moon were only maybe 10% farther
away, it would appear 10% smaller in the sky, and would then be too
small in apparent size to cover the face of the sun. In that case
there would be no such thing as a total eclipse of the sun. We would
experience only partial eclipses."

xnumeral-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $3.00
Dear Websearcher,

Thanks for your answers, all were very precise and informative!

There are no comments at this time.

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