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How to Think Like A Horse: The Essential Handbook for Understanding Why Horses Do What They Do

Horse Stable and Riding Arena Design

Horse Owner's Veterinary Handbook (Howell Reference Books)

Horsekeeping on a Small Acreage: Designing and Managing Your Equine Facilities

The Solar System

Our solar system is an amazing place. So many things are happening, and many objects are out in space. Besides the nine planets, and there are comets, asteroids, stars, and the sun. God has created many things for us to study.

Planets are categorized by two basic types ‑ the inner planets and the outer planets ‑ sometimes called the inferior and superior planets, respectively. The inferior planets are Mercury and Venus. The remaining planets make up the superior planets.

Mercury is the second smallest planet in the solar system. It also holds the position of being the closest planet to the sun. Mercury, being also the fastest planet, is able to orbit around the sun in a mere eighty‑eight days. It completes one rotation on its axis every fifty‑nine days. Mercury has a magnetic field but no atmosphere.

Venus is the brightest object in the night sky except for Earth's moon. It is sometimes called the morning star, and at other times, it is referred to as the evening star, depending on the time of day that it is seen. Venus was named after the Greek goddess of beauty. Venus, which is unusual because it rotates from east to west, is the only planet on which a day is longer than one Earth year. Venus' rotation is unusual because the other planets rotate from west to east, totally opposite from Venus'. At times, Venus and Earth are called the 'twin planets' because they are so close in size. Venus' air is poisonous. Venus is also the hottest planet in the solar system.

Mars is often called the 'red planet', because of its red appearance. Mars is red because of the rust. Mars has a lot of iron, so when it corrodes, it creates rust, turning the surface of Mars red. Mars has two moons, Phobos and Diemos. Mars is the Greek word for war. In the Greek language, Phobos means fear, and Diemos means terror. Mars' surface is totally barren of plant life and animals. It also has deep canyons and volcanoes; dust and sand storms are very frequent.

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, being so large that 1,300 Earths could fit inside. Jupiter has the fastest rotation of all planets. It orbits the sun at 28,000 miles per hour, but Earth travels at almost 67,000 miles per hour. Jupiter has a gigantic anticyclone the size of three Earths called the Great Red Spot. Jupiter has sixteen moons, and its magnetic field is fifteen times stronger than Earth's. Jupiter has three rings. Five spacecraft have visited Jupiter. Jupiter is heavier than all the other planets put together.

Saturn, although not a large as Jupiter, could contain 750 Earths. This planet is best known for its rings. These rings are made up of millions of billions of tiny and large rocks and dust and particles of space stuff all orbiting around the planet. There are thousands of these rings. Saturn is composed mostly of the two gasses hydrogen and helium. Saturn's winds blow at 1,100 miles per hour. Titan, one of Saturn's eighteen named moons, is so large that it has its own atmosphere. Titan is larger than Pluto and Mercury put together. Saturn is midway in the solar system between the sun and Pluto.

Uranus was named after a famous figure in Greek mythology. Uranus is the third largest planet in the solar system. Uranus is very unusual compared to all the other planets. Uranus rotates nearly parallel to its revolution path, and the other planets rotate nearly perpendicular to their revolution paths. Uranus is a bluish gray in color. Uranus has eleven rings and eighteen moons. The man who discovered Uranus wanted to call it 'George's Star'.

Neptune is, like Uranus, blue in color. Neptune has a spectacular revolution time. It takes 165 Earth years for Neptune to complete one orbit. From the time you were born to the time you died on Neptune, you would not have even reached age one. Neptune's days are shorter than Earth's; they are only sixteen hours long. Neptune has fewer rings than Uranus or Saturn, but it does have five of them. It also has eight moons. Triton is Neptune's largest moon, and it even has its own magnetic field and atmosphere. Neptune also boasts of the famed Great Dark Spot, a massive Earth‑sized storm that rages across its surface.

Pluto is the solar system's smallest planet. It is also the outermost planet most of the time, which makes it the farthest from the sun. Pluto has only one moon, called Charon. Pluto and Charon are so close in size that they are often classified as a double planet. Pluto has the longest revolution of any of the planets, because it is farthest from the sun. Pluto takes 248 Earth years to orbit the sun one time. Pluto was named after the Disney character.

Earth is the most important planet in the solar system. It is the only planet that is apt for life. Earth's atmosphere is composed of twenty‑one percent oxygen and seventy‑nine percent nitrogen and trace gasses. Seventy percent of the Earth's surface is covered with water. Earth is just at the right distance from the sun that everything can bare the heat. At times, it gets so unbearably hot that several people die. The oxygen that God put into our atmosphere protects the Earth from all the harmful ultraviolet rays that the sun gives out. The Bible says in Genesis 8:22, 'While the Earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.'

The word 'comet' means 'long-haired star'. They are called this because when the comet shoots across the sky, behind it trails a cloud of dust and gas. The heart of the comet is labeled the nucleus, and the cloud that forms around the nucleus is referred to as the coma. The tail is the cloud of gas and dust that streams out from behind the comet. A comet's tail may stretch out enough to be millions of miles long. The amount of time that it takes a comet to complete an orbit around the sun is called a period. One particular comet is very famous. It is called Halley's comet, after Edmund Halley, the man who discovered it. Halley's comet orbits every seventy‑six years or so.

The sun is the most important star in the sky. The visible part of the sun that you can see is called the photosphere. Photosphere means 'sphere of light'. Blotches on the sun's surface called sunspots are in the photosphere. The photosphere is a large mass of gasses. Spicules, long columns of flames, continually erupt from the sun's surface. The sun is ninety three million miles away from Earth. The chromosphere, which is made up of spicules, is visible only during a solar eclipse. It can be harmful to look at with the naked eye, however. The corona surrounds the chromosphere. Our sun, amazingly, is more than a million times the volume of Earth.

Earth's moon has millions of craters. Moon's highest peak is named Epsilon. Moon has many mountains, craters, and canyons. There is no atmosphere on the moon and one twelfth the gravity. It takes the moon one lunar month to complete one orbit. At different times during each month, the moon waxes and wanes, or in other words grows larger and smaller. The moon also has a lot of marias, or seas.

Stars are a marvelous creation. The appearance when some stars seem brighter than others is called apparent magnitude. The distance that the star is from the earth affects the star's brightness. The brightest star in the night sky is Sirius. Sirius is found in the Big Dog, Canis Major. Sirius means 'the dog star'. The absolute magnitude of a star depends on its surface temperature and its size. There are two types of stars. Dwarfs and giants are the two categories. There are white dwarfs, red dwarfs, super giants and just plain old giants. A double star is called a binary star, and a supernova is the explosion of a star.

Meteoroids are space debris. Meteoroids that enter into the Earth's atmosphere are then call meteors. A meteor that lands on the earth's surface is called a meteorite. Meteoroids, just like planets and stars and comets, also orbit the sun.

This is just one small example of God's creation. There are so many blessings that God has provided. Planets, comets, meteoroids, stars, the sun, all things God made for our benefit. God is good.
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