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Home Extreme House Images of the Week: Superior Planets and Historic Gods

House Images of the Week: Superior Planets and Historic Gods


In 1781, astronomer William Herschel found a brand new planet. He wished to call it Georgian Sidus (George’s Star) after King George III, however all the different planets within the photo voltaic system have been named after Roman gods. Fellow astronomer Johanne Bode steered the identify Uranus (a Greek god) could be a greater match, although it took one other 50 years for the identify to catch on.


Nearly each main planet within the photo voltaic system is called after a Roman god or goddess. Among the planets are named due to their habits: Mercury, for instance, is called after the messenger of the gods as a result of it seems to maneuver by way of the sky so shortly. (It does so as a result of it orbits so near the solar.) And behemoth Jupiter is called after the king of the gods. Whereas the planets are named after Roman deities within the Western world, they’ve totally different names in different contexts. The traditional Greeks referred to as them by their Greek god names, unsurprisingly: Jupiter was Zeus, Mercury was Hermes, and Venus was Aphrodite. The traditional Babylonians additionally named the planets after their deities: Jupiter was Marduk, Mercury was Nebo, and Venus was the goddess Ishtar.

This week we’re occurring an epic journey to go to each planet and study their namesakes, so seize your trident and winged sandals and be part of us on a visit by way of the photo voltaic system.

Named for the speedy messenger of the gods by the Romans, due to the way it zips throughout the night time sky, the planet Mercury whirls across the solar each 88 days. It’s a scorching place, with a mean floor temperature of 332 levels Fahrenheit, however, weirdly, water ice lurks in its shadowed craters. That is the very first photograph taken of Mercury, captured by NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft in 1974. You may see how the floor is pocked with influence craters—the remnants of collisions that befell when the internal photo voltaic system was forming.{Photograph}: NASA/JPL/USGS
The traditional Romans named this planet Venus, after the goddess of affection and sweetness, as a result of it shined so brightly and superbly within the sky. What the traditional Romans couldn’t have identified was that Venus is shrouded in a thick environment of lethal gases, and that sulphuric acid rains onto a floor that could be a screaming-hot 863 levels Fahrenheit. Venus is the second-closest planet to the solar, and is usually referred to as Earth’s sister planet as a result of the 2 are related in measurement and composition.{Photograph}: NASA/JPL
Welcome house to the one planet not named after a Roman god. The phrase Earth is a mixture of English and German phrases that work out to imply “floor.” This photograph was taken by NASA’s GOES satellite tv for pc and highlights each North and South America.{Photograph}: NASA
Due to this planet’s reddish hue, the traditional Romans named it Mars, after the god of conflict. What they didn’t know was that Mars was not purple from blood, however due to the iron oxide (rust) within the soil. This international view from NASA’s Viking orbiter was taken in 1998. Can you see the polar ice cap?{Photograph}: NASA/JPL/USGS
Jupiter is called after the king of the gods. That’s as a result of Jupiter is *very large*—the biggest of all of the planets. You could possibly match 1,300 Earths within Jupiter. When historic civilizations noticed the motion of the planet, they might inform by how vibrant it was and the way slowly it moved that it was large, they usually have been proper. NASA’s Hubble House Telescope captured this picture of Jupiter, proven right here with a vibrant aurora at its northern pole.{Photograph}: GSFC
Saturn is called after the god of agriculture and wealth, so it’s becoming that it must be encircled by large blingy rings. NASA’s Cassini captured this picture in 2017, simply days earlier than the craft flew into the planet’s environment and burned up.{Photograph}: NASA/JPL-Caltech/House Science Institute
Named after the god of the sky, Uranus may be very far-off, and people have solely managed to go to it as soon as, in 1986, when NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft captured this picture. The sunshine blue environment consists largely of hydrogen and helium, and an honest quantity of sulphur. (Sure Uranus in all probability kind of smells like farts.){Photograph}: NASA/JPL-Caltech
When Urbain Leverrier found this large icy world in 1846, he and his colleagues might inform by way of the telescope that the planet had a bluish tint, just like the ocean, in order that they named the eighth planet Neptune, after the god of the ocean. Like Uranus, we now have solely visited Neptune as soon as, when the Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by in 1989.{Photograph}: NASA/JPL
Far, far-off, little Pluto is called after the god of the underworld as a result of it’s so chilly and darkish there. This dwarf planet and its system of moons are all named after the underworld, really. NASA visited Pluto for the primary and solely time in 2015 when the New Horizons spacecraft flew by on its manner out of the photo voltaic system and snapped this photograph of Pluto and its large nitrogen-ice coronary heart.{Photograph}: NASA/Johns Hopkins College Utilized Physics Laboratory/Southwest Analysis Institute

Beeline over right here to take a look at more room photographs.

Correction 8:46 pm ET 4/4/2019: A earlier model of this text incorrectly said the quantity of days it takes for Mercury to go across the Solar.


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