Monthly Archives: November 2010

Planet information

Further written content providing an overview of the planets we have in our own solar system.



Mercury, the smallest of all planets is also the closest to the sun.  Similar in appearance to the Moon, it has a heavily cratered surface. However Mercury has no moons of its own and so small is it that some other planets moons actually exceed it in size! Named by the Romans after the messenger of the gods due to its speed, it moves at speeds of up to 50km a second and can orbit the sun in a mere 88 days!


Venus is the second planet closest to the sun. As the brightest of all planets it was named by the Romans after their goddess of love and beauty. Sometimes visible during the day it has the nicknames Morning Star and Evening star. The surface is covered with volcanic domes and a thick layer of carbon dioxide, making it the hottest planet in the solar system! Unlike other the planets in the solar system, Venus rotates from East to West instead of West to East.


Earth, our own planet is situated third from the Sun. It is the densest planet and the largest of the four terrestrial planets. Like the other planets named from classical mythology, earth is sometimes referred to as ‘Terra’, coming from the word ‘Tellus’ who was the goddess of the Earth. Unique in that it is the only planet with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere, the surface is covered by 70% water and has one moon. Our planet is the only planet so far known to harbor intelligent life.


Often described as the “Red Planet” due to the iron oxide dust surface, Mars has two moons and was named after the Roman god of war. Full of volcanoes, valleys and areas that appear to have once been flooded plains, although scientists have not yet found water as liquid. Water does exists on Mars however, in both frozen and vapor form. Frozen due to the extremely cold temperatures on the planet.


Jupiter, the largest of all planets, is larger than all the other planets combined! Named after the King of the gods in Roman mythology, it has 63 known moons. Comprised of gas, it is the gases that give Jupiter it’s beautiful swirling stripes effectively making it a giant storm! On earth, hurricanes disperse due to friction as they move across solid land but this isn’t possible on Jupiter as there is no solid landmass.


Named after the Roman god of agriculture, Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system and the furthest planet that can be seen with the naked eye. An impressive sight, Saturn has nine rings, which are comprised of a sheet of ice and rocky fragments. Sixty-two known moons currently orbit Saturn and it is the remnants of an old moon that the ring debris is thought to be.


Originally named in honor of King George III of England, the planet was eventually renamed Uranus, after the ancient Greek god of the Heavens. With the most featureless and smooth exterior of all the known planets, it appears as a soft blue- green ball and was the first planet discovered that had not been known during ancient times. Unlike most other moons, which are named after Greek mythological characters, the 27 known moons of Uranus are each named after characters from the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Although the planet is not the farthest from the Sun, it is still the coldest planet in the Solar System and one of the least dense.


Named after the god of the sea in Roman Mythology, Neptune has an extremely dynamic weather system and stronger winds than any other planet. It has 13 moons and much like Jupiter’s Red spot, the most prominent feature on Neptune is the Great Dark Spot – an earth sized hurricane! A set of four thin and faint rings circle Neptune, however these are circular unlike Uranus’s elliptical system. A thick methane atmosphere covers Neptune giving the illusion of its blue colouring.


The moon is one of earth’s satellites and the fifth largest satellite in the solar system. First visited in 1969 is the only extraterrestrial body to have ever been walked on by us humans and did you know, it is the gravitational forces of the moon that cause tides in the earths oceans?



Capturing the mood

Below is an image of the space ship Atlantis sitting on its launch pad at dusk. The shuttle must launch in dry conditions with no cloud cover or anvil shaped clouds (that could produce lightning) for 10 kilometers. This means that the shuttle can be seen for many miles around when it is launched from the Kennedy space station in Florida.

This is look we are aiming to get in our flash website, Clear skies with a beautiful red/orange glow in the background.


Sundry web content

Possible overview content written…

Explanation of the term astronomy

The term astronomy is derived from Ancient Greek terms for star arranging. Astro (star) and nomo (law) now refers to the branch of science that studies the universe and all celestial objects inside it. This includes planets, their satellites (moons) stars, asteroids, comets, nebulae and galaxies etc.

Asteroid Belt

An asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter forms a boundary between the inner and outer solar system. Many thousands of asteroids, from a few feet wide to several hundred miles wide exist in this region. It is widely believed that this belt is actually a failed planet, material that was unable to group together after being interrupted by the gravitational pull of Jupiter.

Solar System

The solar system is the name that has been given to the system that our own planet Earth is part of and contains 8 official planets in total, as well as a number of dwarf planets.

The inner solar system contains the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, which are named ‘terrestrial planets’ as they all possess similar rocky surfaces. The outer solar system contains the ‘jovian’ or ‘gas’ planets that are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Unlike the terrestrial planets these planets do not have a solid surface and are instead comprised mainly of gases, which surround a rocky core.
In August 2006, Pluto was de-classified as a planet and instead joined Ceres, Eris, Haumea and Makemake as a dwarf planet.


NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is part of the United States government and is the branch responsible for all US space exploration and aeronautic activity. Founded in 1958 to enhance our knowledge of the solar system, NASA goals are to “pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research”.

Space race

As mankind entered the age of space travel, competition between cold war enemies the United States and the Soviet Union began a space race as the two rival countries each competed to become the first nation to achieve physical space exploration. In 1959 a soviet probe named Luna became the first man-made structure to land on the surface of another celestial object!

Robotic Space Craft

Vital to space exploration, a robotic spacecraft is a spacecraft with no humans on board to lower the risk of dangerous space missions. Using on board technology the spacecraft is operated from the ground and used to send important data back to earth.

International Space Station

The International Space Station orbits at an altitude of 220 miles and is a station and laboratory. It was built as a place for astronauts to live while studying and observing outer space and orbits earth 16 times a day.


Saturn, Neptun, Jupiter & Mars

Fresh dose of planets. Enjoy!


Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was launched into orbit by the space shuttle discovery in 1990. It celebrated its 20 anniversary earlier this year and produced some of the most amazing images known to man. This telescope will feature in chapter 9 as it has allowed us to look deeper into space (and back in time) than anything ever produced.

The image above was taken by Hubble over ten consecutive days between December 18 and December 28, 1995. This photo amazed me when i saw it as i child in a news paper. What makes this image so special is that it was taken in a fairly innocuous piece of sky. If you were to look at a tennis ball 100 meters up in the air an imagine how small it was, this was the equivalent of the size of sky captured in this shot. With over 1500 galaxies visible in this one photo it gives you a tiny glimpse into just how many galaxies there are out there.With the average galaxy having 100-200 billion stars, the size of the universe becomes almost incomprehensible.

The famous launch of the Hubble Telescope by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990


Vector images

I am not sure if we mentioned before that we are going to use also vector images in our project. Generally part of our content is going to be made in Illustrator. We have created shuttle, Hubble telescope & Nasa building so far.



I am not sure if we use this illustration made in Photoshop in this chapter. Anyway I am posting it because it looks so realistic, I didn’t realize that I would be able to create something like this in Photoshop!