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A Collection of Celestial Facts: Moon & Saturn
Posted In: Space and Astrology  8/30/11
By: Yona Williams

The first thing that astronomers landed on when they went up into space was the Moon – the only one that humans have been able to truly explore. In addition to facts about the Moon, you encounter facts about what astronomers have seen while in space, moons associated with Saturn, and the literary references associated with the moons of Uranus.

The Moon

The surface temperature of the Moon ranges from –261 to 243 degrees Fahrenheit. The Moon rotates around the Sun in 27 days 7 hours 43 minutes and 11 ½ seconds. The sides of the Moon are referred to as the 'near side' and 'far side.' Since the far side of the Moon always faces away from our planet, we didn't know anything about it until a Soviet probe (Luna 3) sent back pictures of it.

Sightings from Space

When astronomers are in space, they have seen cities, roads, airports, and other large structures on Earth while traveling in a spacecraft. Forest fires have been sighted, as well as the Great Pyramids and the Great Wall of China.

Watery Planet

Seventy percent of the surface of Earth appears blue, which is an effect of it being a watery planet. It is the only planet known to support life.

Saturn

Saturn is the planet that possesses the distinct rings. Today, we have probes that were sent to investigate the moons of Lapetus and Titan. It takes Saturn 29 years and 168 days to orbit the Sun. Saturn has about 60 moons in total and out of all of them, Titan is the largest. Measuring 3,200 miles in diameter, the moon is actually larger then the planet Mercury.

Titan was discovered by a Dutch astronomer named Christiaan Huygens in 1655. The surface of Titan is still a mystery because it has a dense atmosphere that contains nitrogen, ethane and other gases that cover its surface. A space probe called Voyager I sent information regarding the surface of the moon – suggesting that the surface is home to ethane 'oceans' and 'continents' of ice or another solid matter.

Uranus

Uranus is a planet that has satellites that pay homage to literary references – displaying the names of William Shakespeare characters. Names from the Alexander Pope poem titled 'The Rape of the Lock' are also used. The rings of Uranus are different from Saturn because they are visible only when a powerful telescope is used. It takes the planet 84 years and 4 days to orbit the Sun. Uranus has 27 moons, including Oberon and Titania – the largest that were initially discovered by William Herschel in 1787.


 

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