Our solar system has a marvelous assortment of planets, moons, asteroids and other objects that orbit the Sun with clockwork precision.

Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system and the closest to the Sun.  It only takes Mercury 88 days to orbit the Sun.  It is a cratered barren world, with temperatures up to 800ºF on its sunlit side.  Mercury has no moons or atmosphere and is believed to have a very weak magnetic field estimated to be about 1% of the Earth’s.

Even though Mercury is extremely bright, it is difficult to see from the Earth because it is so close to the Sun.  It is best viewed in the twilight times of early morning and evening.  In 1974, the Mariner 10 spacecraft was the first manmade craft to reach the tiny planet where it was able to map nearly 45% of the surface.  The Messenger spacecraft reached orbit around Mercury on March 17, 2011 and is in the process of mapping the rest of the planet.

Venus is the second planet from the Sun.  It takes Venus almost 225 days to orbit the Sun.  Some people consider Venus to be Earth’s twin or sister planet because it is nearly the same size and has a similar gravity.  The thick, clouded atmosphere, made up largely of carbon dioxide creates a surface temperature of 900ºF, even hotter than Mercury.  Next to our Moon, Venus is the brightest object in the night sky.

In 1990-91, Project Magellan was able to map the surface of Venus through its clouded atmosphere.  They discovered that there is a significant amount of volcanic activity on Venus.  Compared to Mercury and the Earth’s Moon, Venus has relatively few impact craters, indicating that the planet is much younger than secular astronomers claim.

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and The Earth was Created Just Right for Life.

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is about half the size of Earth.  It takes Mars 687 days to orbit the Sun.  It has a thin atmosphere and a gravity that is only about 62% that of Earth which means that a person weighing 100 pounds here on Earth would only way about 62 pounds on Mars.  The surface of Mars has a high concentration of iron oxide, giving it a reddish color which is why Mars is often referred to as the Red Planet.

Even though Mars is the second smallest planet in the solar system, it has the highest known mountain in the solar system named Olympus Mons, and the largest canyon in the solar system named Valles Marineris.   Mars has 2 very small irregular shaped moons, Phobos and Deimos

The temperature on Mars ranges from -125ºF to 68ºF.  Scientists believe they have found evidence ice at the polar regions of Mars as well as under the surface.  Interestingly, the same scientists who deny there was a worldwide flood on Earth, which is 2/3 covered by water, do believe and claim that there was a Genesis type flood on Mars, which has no liquid water on the surface.

Between Mars and Jupiter lies the Asteroid Belt.  The asteroid belt contains thousands of irregularly shaped objects that range in size from a grain of sand up to Ceres which has a diameter of 590 miles.  Many secular scientists believe that the asteroids are the remnant of a planet that was smashed by a collision with another large object that was passing through the solar system.  Other secular scientists believe the asteroid belt was formed by the same evolutionary method that formed the planets, where smaller particles collided and stuck together to form larger bodies.  Only in the case of the asteroid belt the collisions were too strong and broke apart into smaller pieces instead of sticking together to form larger and larger bodies.

Farther out are the gas giants; made of hydrogen and helium, they have no solid surface.

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest of all the planets in our solar system.  It is eleven times the diameter of the Earth and next to the Sun, Moon, and Venus, is the fourth brightest object in the night sky.  In 1610, Galileo turned his telescope to Jupiter and discovered the first and largest four moons orbiting the giant planet.  Now known as the Galilean moons they are Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.  Io surprised scientists when Voyager 1 took close photos of the third largest of Jupiter’s moons.  The photos showed hundreds of volcanic craters including some of which were still actively erupting and spewing plumes over 180 miles high.  All evolutionary theories about the origin of the solar system said that there should be no volcanic activity on moons like Io, but they should be dead, inactive bodies.  Since the time of Galileo, astronomers and spacecrafts have discovered over 60 moons orbiting Jupiter.

The Great Red Spot is an enormous hurricane over twice the size of Earth and has been seen through telescopes for over 300 years.  In the past century, the massive storm seems to have shrunk to half its size, leading many astronomers to believe that the storm is slowing weakening and may one day disappear from sight altogether.

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest of the gas giants.  Saturn’s diameter at the equator is just over 74,000 miles compared to the Earth’s diameter of only 7,926 miles.  Saturn in known for its thousands of thin rings made up of billions of moonlets orbiting its equator.  As large as Saturn is, it completes each daily rotation in only 10 hours and 39 minutes, causing the planet to bulge out at the equator and flatten at the poles.  Saturn has excessive winds that can reach speeds up to 1,100 miles per hour, over three times faster than the strongest tornado ever measured here on Earth.

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and the third largest in the solar system.  It was discovered by the biblical creationist astronomer Sir William Herschel on March 13, 1781.  Uranus’s diameter is four times greater than Earths’, measuring just under 32,000 miles at the equator.  Uranus has a very unique feature in that its axis is nearly perpendicular to the rest of the planets in the solar system, causing its south pole to point towards the Sun.

Neptune is the eighth and furthest planet from the Sun.  It is slightly smaller than Uranus with a diameter of only 30,760 miles.  Similarly to Saturn, Neptune rotates rapidly, completing each rotation in just over 16 hours.  Similar to Jupiter, Neptune’s atmosphere also has a large hurricane storm that is about the size of the Earth and known as the Great Dark Spot.  Neptune also has 4 very thin and faint rings. The methane in Neptune’s atmosphere is what gives it a blue color.

Pluto once classified as the ninth planet was reduced to the status of a dwarf planet in August of 2006.  Pluto has a diameter of only 1400 miles, making it smaller than our Moon which has a diameter of 2159 miles.

Also in our solar system are comets, small chunks of ice and dirt that orbit in elliptical paths around the Sun, losing material every time they pass near the sun.  Because they do lose material each time they pass near the Sun, comets can’t last millions of years.  Halley’s Comet is probably the most famous of all comets.  First recorded as early as 466BC, this comet appears every 75-76 years.  It was last seen in 1986 and is expected to return in 2061.  Young comets only make sense if the creation of the solar system is only thousands of years old and not millions.

When you look at our solar system and the beauty of the worlds, the precision of their paths, and their variety, it all points to the wisdom and glory of their Creator.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

Ten Girls Who Made a Difference

Ages: 8-12

Would you like to make a difference? These ten girls grew up to do just that. Susannah’s children changed their country; Monica’s son changed the church; Ann’s romance taught Burma about the love of Christ; Edith was used by God to change a continent; Katherine escaped from oppression and changed her world; Susie listened to a preacher and then published the gospel herself; Bethan met a doctor and then helped to heal people’s souls; Maria lost her parents but found China; Sabrina was imprisoned for her faith and then fought to set other Christians free; Ruth began her life in China but eventually God took her in a mission round the world.

Read this book and find out what God wants you to do.

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