THE SOLAR EMPIRE

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         The Solar system is the place where we live. It contains the central star, which is called the Sun, nine planets with their own satellites, many comets, billions meteorites and thousands asteroids.       

         The closest planet to the Sun is Mercury. Mercury is hard to see from the Earth because it is so small and so close to the sun. At certain times of the year, it can be seen just after sun­set or before sunrise. The rest of the time it is lost in the sun’s glare. Mean distance from the Sun is 58,000,000 km. Mercu­ry’s diameter is 4880 km. The surface temperature of Mercury can rise up to 800 F during the day and can fall up to -360 F during the night. Because of such difference in day and night temperatures there is no atmosphere. It is the Bible Hell. The year on Mercury lasts 88 days.

           The second planet from the Sun is Venus. Venus, the brigh­test object in the sky except for the Sun and the Moon, is often visible for several hours just after sunset or before sunrise. The entire planet is covered by thick clouds. The planet is dead because of huge greenhouse effect. The temperature under clouds can rise up to 900 F. There is no day and night because of thick clouds, covering Venus’s sky. Venus’ diameter is 12 100 km. The year on Venus lasts 226 days. Both Venus and Mercury have no satellites.

          Our planet is the third planet from the Sun. Its diameter is 12,760 km. Mean distance from the Sun is 150 millions of kilometers. The only natural satellite, orbiting the Earth is the Moon.

          The Moon is the closest astronomical body to the Earth and we know more about it than about any other object in the hea­vens. Many surface features are visible to the unaided eye on the Moon, and a pair of binoculars reveals a great amount of detail. A small telescope shows vast seas of lava, large moun­tain ranges and hundreds of craters of all sizes. Mean distance from the Earth to the Moon is 384,400 km. The surface temper­ature of Moon can rise up to 248 F during the day and can fall up to -2 74 F during the night. The Moon’s diameter is 3476 km. Its mass is about 85 times smaller that the Earth mass.

         Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun. It is about twice smaller than the Earth. Its diameter is 6,800 km. The year on Mars lasts 686 days. Mars appears reddish in our sky, even to the naked eye. This is caused by the rich content of rust (iron oxide) in the top soil. Mars has two small moons: Phobos and Deimos. Mean distance from the Sun is 228,000,000 km. Its surface temperature varies from 72 F to -271 F.

           The fifth planet from the Sun is Jupiter. Jupiter is the Solar System’s largest planet. Its composition is more like a star than a planet. Jupiter’s diameter is 143,800 km. The Jupiter year

is 11 years, 321 days long. Mean distance from the Sun is 778,000,000 km. Jupiter belongs to outer giant planets of the Solar System. Jupiter has 39 moons.

           The sixth planet from the Sun is Saturn. Mean distance from the Sun is about one billion and a half kilometers. Its beau­ty in even small telescopes is breathtaking. This planet has rings. The rings consist of billions of particles, ranging from a few centimeters to a few meters in diameter. The sixth pla­net has about 30 moons.

         Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. The planet has a system of at least nine rings. Both Uranus and Saturn be­long to giant planets. Uranus year is 84, 01 years long, because the mean distance from the Sun is 2,870,000,000 km. Uranus has 21 satellites.

         Neptune is the eighth planet from the Sun. It is the last giant planet pf the Solar System. It is similar in size and com­position to Uranus. The year on Neptune lasts about 165 years, because the average distance from the Sun is 5 billions and a half kilometers. Neptune has 14 satellites.

Pluto is the farthest planet from the Sun. The mean dis­tance from the Sun is nearly 6 billion kilometers. Pluto is smal­ler than the Moon. It is the only planet that has not been visi­ted by a spacecraft. It has the only one known moon Charon.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS:

 

1.  How many planets are there in the Solar System?

2.  What is the closest planet to the Sun?

3.  How long does Mercury’s year last?

4.  What is the second planet from the Sun?

5.  How long does Venus’ year last?

6.  How many satellites have Venus and Mercury?

7.  What is the closest astronomical body to the Earth?

8.  What is the fourth planet from the Sun?

9.  Why does Mars appear reddish in our sky?

10. How long does Mars’ year last?

11. What are outer giant planets of the Solar System?

12. What is the farthest planet from the Sun?

13. What planets of the Solar System have rings?

14. What is the Solar System’s largest planet?

 

 

VOCABULARY:

 

to contain — содержать в себе, включать, иметь в своем составе        

satellite — астрон. сателлит, спутник

asteroid - астрон. астероид; малая планета

Mercury — астрон. планета Меркурий

hard — трудно        

sunset — заход солнца        

sunrise — восход солнца

glare — блеск, сияние         

to rise (past rose, p.p. risen) — подниматься (о темпера­туре)

to fall (past fell, p.p. fallen) — падать (o температуре)

to last — длиться     

Venus — астрон. планета Венера

bright — яркий          

the Moon — Луна

huge — большой, гигантский, громадный, огромный

greenhouse effect — парниковый эффект  

to orbit — вращаться вокруг          

heaven — небеса, небо        

unaided eye — невооруженный глаз        

binoculars — бинокль

to reveal — обнаруживать, показывать

vast — обширный, громадный; безбрежный

mean —  средний

surface — поверхность

to appear — зд. являться

reddish — красноватый

naked eye — невооруженный глаз

rust — ржавый

Phobos — Фобос

Deimos — Деймос     

Jupiter — астрон. Юпитер

outer giant planet — внешние планеты-гиганты

Saturn — астрон. планета Сатурн

particle — частица

Uranus — астрон. планета Уран

Neptune — астрон. планета Нептун

similar — подобный, похожий

Pluto — астрон. планета Плутон

Charon — Харон

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