Brian Cox’s Favourite Wonder from Wonders of the Solar System:
Against the stunning backdrop of the glaciers of Alaska, Brian reveals his fourth Wonder. Saturn’s moon Titan is shrouded by a murky, thick atmosphere. He reveals that below the clouds lies a magical world. Titan is the only place beyond Earth where we’ve found liquid pooling on the surface in vast lakes, as big as the Caspian Sea, but the lakes of Titan are filled with a mysterious liquid, and are quite unlike anything on Earth.
I can’t be the only one obsessed with Saturn and its moons, right?
Related links: the Huygens Probe and the Matanuska Glacier.
Saturn’s Mysterious Moons, as well as other phenomenal data about our gas giants and what’s in their orbits, all gathered from Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and Cassini. This video is eighteen-plus minutes of seriously fascinating information.
The two Voyagers sent back tens of thousands of images… of planetary realms more diverse than anyone had imagined. These long-distance marathon flyers - both now headed out towards interstellar space - made discoveries about the planetary chemistry that make these gas giants appear to us as gigantic works of abstract art.
The Voyagers disclosed new details about their magnetic fields, atmospheres, ring systems, and even the nature of their inner cores. Voyager turned up some surprising new mysteries too: a huge dark spot — a storm in fact - on Neptune. They found that Uranus is tipped 90 degrees to one side. That Saturn is less dense than water; if you had a bathtub big enough, Saturn would float!
And that you’d need the mass of three Saturns to make just one Jupiter! But what really knocked the scientists’ socks off were the moons that orbit these gas giants. All of them have been pummeled over the millennia by wayward asteroids and comets.
But a few appear to also be sculpted by forces below their icy surfaces…
Why isn’t Pluto a planet anymore? C.P. Grey gives a great animated explanation, with a bit of history and a lot of information about the scale and relationships of the types of planets (and other objects) in our solar system.
Though it’s labeled as a dwarf planet now, Pluto is still a planet in all of the kid’s old second-hand and retired library books, so this video was pretty important for us to understand. And even though it was jam packed with some fast moving info for a four year old, reviewing the video gave us a good chance to do lots of drawing and diagramming. Have crayons, markers and paper on hand for after!
via 22 words.
From the archives, more planets and more space!
Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked by a reader of TIME magazine, “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?” This is his answer.
We’re pretty addicted to these educational/inspirational videos about the universe, atoms, the elements, and the origins of life… This fan-made one features a portion of Dr. Tyson’s interview “10 questions for Neil deGrasse Tyson” for TIME Magazine in 2008, also a great video to watch.