The most amazing miracle of the solar system - is, of course, the Earth, the planet where life could have arisen. But apart from the Earth in our system, there are many other unusual objects and phenomena, nothing like that on our planet is not. Suggest you read about the seven wonders of the solar system.
1. Liquid geysers of Enceladus
In 2009, the "Cassini" spacecraft NASA made a flight around Saturn. During the flight by one of its outer moons - Enceladus - the device was able to take a picture of something unusual. The fact that the majority of the planetary satellites in the solar system in the geological sense dead - in other words, their interiors are not occur any processes. With regard to Enceladus, then on its surface were found giant cracks from which to open space at a speed of 2250 km / h geysers erupt water and ice up to hundreds of kilometers.
Liquid water rises to the surface almost immediately freezes, forming snow and ice particles - this phenomenon is called cryovolcanism. It should be noted that this phenomenon is observed only at the south pole of Saturn's moon, where there are narrow fissures in the planetary crust, called "tiger stripes." Causes of what is so different from other moons Enceladus and what processes occur in the subsoil thereof, are still unknown. However, researchers believe that Enceladus should be two sources of heat, causing cryovolcanism.
One source may be radioactive elements decay and heat the interior of the moon, thus helping water to remain in a liquid state. The second source can be tidal heating: Enceladus revolves around Saturn in an elliptical orbit, so it is closer to Saturn, it is removed from it. When the satellite is close to Saturn, the planet's gravitational pull is stronger tidal stretch Etselada, which leads to the friction material in the subsoil and the release of energy, and this, in turn, contributes to the melting of ice inside the satellite and support liquid water.
The most interesting thing in this issue is how much water is contained beneath the surface of Enceladus - there may well be a deep ocean. Perhaps the ocean does not occupy the entire space of the bowels of the moon, it can be only in those places where geysers erupt. A liquid ocean at a sufficient temperature may well have arisen living organisms.
Wall of Iapetus
Wall of Iapetus - a unique object, the likes of which the solar system is not. It is a mountain range with a total length 1,300 km, herpes Iapetus's equator and divides the satellite into two almost equal halves, making Iapetus is a bit like the shape walnut. The height of the ridge is 13 km, width - 20 km.
Of course, the reasons for the origin of the ridge known. There are many hypotheses: one of them is that Iapetus was before the so-called "double moon" - himself a satellite of Saturn, Iapetus could have its own satellite, orbiting in a circular orbit. Gradually, this object is attracted to Iapetus under the influence of its gravity, then the gravitational forces broke the object apart, turning it into a ring, which then fell onto the surface of Iapetus, forming the mountain range.
Another hypothesis explains the emergence Walls tectonic processes taking place once the satellite. For example, Iapetus originally could not have a spherical shape, but for some reason, the speed of its rotation slowed down, and as a result he became a sphere. The area of the satellite fell, and the remaining material was accumulated at the equator, forming mountains.
The third hypothesis is related to the "two-faced" Iapetus. The fact that the surface of Iapetus - is heterogeneous: the images captured by "Cassini", it is clear that almost Iapetus meridian "split" into two halves - the light and the dark. The boundaries of these regions are very sharp, they do not move smoothly from one to another. Probably earlier Iapetus was icy satellites, which explains part of its light side and a dark side - a cosmic dark dust settles on its leading hemisphere. Researchers believe that the appearance of the wall can be somehow connected with the non-uniform color of Iapetus.
Jupiter's moon Io - the most geologically active object of the solar system: on Io's surface is more than 400 active volcanoes are constantly spewing from the depths of the Moon lava flows. In some cases, ejaculated fiery fountains of sulfur and sulfur dioxide rise to a height of 500 km from the release point, and lava flows on Io's surface up to 500 km in length.
Due to the constant eruptions, Io is very beautiful - his face is painted in various shades of yellow, white, red, black and green. In addition, the magma can escape from the interior not only by volcanoes, but simply flow from the numerous cracks in the crust of the moon.
Probably, this is due to volcanic activity periodic heating of subsurface Io associated with exposure to the gravitational forces of Jupiter and two other large satellites of giant planets - Europa and Ganymede, as well as the fact that beneath the surface of Io's magma ocean is a giant of a few tens of kilometers deep.
Rings, named in alphabetical order (A to E), - one of the most beautiful phenomena in the solar system. Probe "Cassini" during its research mission was able to make shoot close up of Saturn's rings, which helped to know what it consists of rings and what is inside them. It is believed that in addition to the seven major, distinct rings, there are thousands of smaller rings consisting of ice and dust, the water in which about 26 million times more than the Earth.
Researchers still do not know how to form a ring of Saturn. Perhaps they are made of a material that once could not be formed on the moon because of the effect of gravitational fields of the giant planet. Or perhaps ring used to be the moon, too close to Saturn and disintegrated because of tidal gravitational forces of the planet. There is even a theory that the rings - the remnants of a comet, podletevshey to Saturn too close and break the influence of gravity.
In addition, photographs taken "Cassini" in the year 2009, showed that the rings previously considered solid and flat, contain the "ridges" in height from two to five meters away. Researchers believe that these irregularities have arisen due to the fact that right within the rings around Saturn rotates up of 62 small moons that are actually moving through the rings, generate particle displacement as moons orbit is not quite coincide with the orbit of the rings themselves. In the ring, and, for example, the farthest from Saturn, the moon Daphnis was the cause of the vertical peak whose height exceeds four kilometers.
Great Red Spot on Jupiter
Great Red Spot on Jupiter - a huge storm raging on the giant planet. This storm in size three times larger than the Earth. Causes, scientists do not know exactly - spot was always there, since the beginning of observations of the planet. Its astronomers observed more in the second half of XVII-th century, but perhaps it originated much earlier.
Ancient hurricane raging for centuries on Jupiter at a breakneck pace - a giant crater rises nearly eight kilometers above the planet's cloud cover. Speed winds in the Great Red Spot is 640 km / h. Most tropical storms in the southern hemisphere of the Earth to spin in a clockwise direction after rotation of the planet, Jupiter's Great Red Spot is also located in the southern hemisphere, twisted counterclockwise due to high pressure.
Recently telescope "Hubble" photographed on Jupiter are three smaller storms - scientists call them white spots because of their color. During the three years of observation spots merged to form one hurricane the size of Earth. Then about a week storm has dramatically changed its color - white turned bright red, so was called Little Red Spot. Causes of the phenomenon are still a mystery, but perhaps the Great Red Spot emerged centuries ago in a similar manner.
Astronomers suggest that before it was too white, but with increasing speed winds beginning to "suck" particles of matter from the surface of the planet and throw them into the atmosphere of Jupiter. One of the compounds in the red spot can be a kind of sulfur. The red color can also be explained by the presence of substances react with sunlight and gives a coloring hurricanes.
Over the past decade, with the Great Red Spot has seen some changes: It rapidly becomes rounder and cringes, so maybe someday it will completely disappear.
The asteroid belt
On the origin of the asteroid belt is almost unknown. Perhaps the fragments left after the formation of the solar system. For a long time researchers have thought that in place before the asteroid belt could be a planet, under the influence of some processes will cease to exist, and the belt - all that was left of it. Now scientists realize that the planet formed there could not - because of the gravitational pull of Jupiter and other planets in the matter has not been able to come to the planet.
The length of the asteroid belt - a few hundred kilometers in diameter some stones - no more than a few meters, while other major cities. In this zone there are probably millions of objects, however, if it were possible to combine them all into one, it would have been smaller than our Moon.
Ironically, if the spacecraft ever fly through the asteroid belt, the astronauts do not see them flying at a breakneck pace stones and distant points of light, since the average distance between most of the asteroids in the belt is much larger than their actual size. The average distance between two objects may exceed one and a half million miles.
Almost all the asteroids have an irregular shape, but among them there are almost perfectly round ball - Ceres, the largest asteroid in the solar system with a diameter of 950 km. The mass of Ceres is almost a quarter of the total mass of all asteroids in the belt. Because of its spherical shape Ceres is listed as a dwarf planet, which also includes, for example, Pluto.
Asteroids are a potential threat to life on our planet: if one ever hits the ground, it will cause massive damage, but only in the event that an asteroid would be big enough.
April 14, 2010-the year of the Midwestern United States swept the flaming asteroid 90 cm in diameter. Fortunately, the object is broken up into tiny pieces before they crashed into the Earth. But in the past due to asteroid impacts on Earth there is a huge craters that can still be seen in the United States, Australia, Canada. It is also believed that it was due to the fall of an asteroid killed the dinosaurs - then the object is 10 km in diameter fell on the planet at the site of modern Mexico.
Olympus volcano on Mars
The width of the base of Mount Olympus - 540 km, so even though the amazing height - 20 km - its very sloping hillsides. Olympus is located in the Tharsis - region of Mars, where there are other large volcanoes. If you climb to the summit of Mount Olympus, you can be in the upper layers of the Martian atmosphere.
Olympus gradually originated billions of years ago - one eruption led to another, and more and more congealed lava flows on top of each other. Olympus has become the largest of any mountain in the world for several reasons: because of the strong volcanic activity and the fact that the force of gravity on Mars is much weaker than on our planet, so growing up, the mountain is not "settled" under its own weight. In addition, on Mars, unlike Earth, no tectonic plates: the hot crater, from which lava erupted, all the while staying in one place, allowing the material to accumulate.
It is believed that now on Mars, no geological activity, but have recently been obtained detailed pictures of the lava flows of the Red Planet. Some streams more than 115-year-million years, but the other - just two million years, according to the geological time scale can be called by recent events, and this suggests that some volcanic activity on Mars is still there to this day. And on the slopes of Mount Olympus in the lava flows are very few craters - this means that these flows up to 20 million years.