First, to get a little back story on the rather sensitive nature of this week’s astronomy lesson, click here for a link to our Hawaiian homeschool 6 years ago.
Abraham Lincoln once said that just because you call a sheep’s tail a leg that doesn’t mean the sheep has 5 legs. Even though many astronomers say Pluto doesn’t fit their newly revised definition of a planet doesn’t mean it isn’t one. I think Pluto should still be considered the 9th planet because it does fit the requirements of a planet. It orbits the sun, has 5 moons, and is round. Actually it is sometimes the 8th planet, not the 9th, because its orbit brings it closer to the sun than Neptune at some points. Even members of Nasa’s New Horizons team which flew by Pluto in 2015 think it should reclassified. They discovered mountains on Pluto as high as 11,00 feet and other features indicating geological change and complexity. Our classification systems have proven to be faulty in the past and maybe Pluto is an example of that (by Titus, age 15).
Neptune is the furthest planet from the sun, besides Pluto. It takes 164 earth years for it to orbit the sun. It is spinning the same direction as the earth except for it’s all wobbly as it goes. It is bright blue because it is made of methane. Neptune also has 2 rings made of dust particles. They are 33,000 and 39,000 miles away from Neptune. Neptune used to have a Great Dark Spot on it which was a storm as big as the whole earth but now its gone (by Nathan, age 11).
Neptune has 13 known moons, the largest of these is Triton. It is the coldest object that any spacecraft has ever visited. The average temperature on Triton is 400 degrees F below zero. It is also moving closer and closer to Neptune every day. These two facts make most astronomers think that Triton was not originally Neptune’s moon, but was probably pulled in by Neptune’s gravity. Another interesting thing about Triton is that it is full of geysers, which probably spew a mixture of chemicals instead of hot water (by Joel, age 13).
I’m adding this link to a flashback from our Hawaiian homeschool 6 years ago. In it, Titus (age 9 at the time) mentions that it rains diamonds on Neptune. When I reread this I was incredulous myself, wondering if I had let some misinformation slip into the blog. It turns out that after that particular post, more studies emerged to support this theory. You can read about it yourself in this Washington Post article .
Last weak we received in the mail from a friend of ours a piece of space blanket that is going to be wrapped around the exterior of a satellite/probe/spacecraft that is going to orbit the planet Mars (its name I can not reveal). The space blanket consists of sixteen different layers. The copper one is what touches space, the middle fourteen are a special fire-proof materiel called Nomax and the bottom layer is what touches the actual spacecraft. The engineer who designed the blanket based it off of the materiel that covered the Apollo lunar landers that landed on the moon (by, Joel age 13).
I drew a picture of the satellite that is going to Mars. And I drew Mars. It is red. (by Gideon, age 5)
We did an experiment with the space blanket. We held it in our hand and put an ice cube on it. You could not feel the cold come through the layers. Also it didn’t get any condensation on it. We also tried to burn one of the inner layers and it wouldn’t burn (by Nate, age 11).
Our theme for Winter Camps at Hartland this year was Satellite. My favorite speaker was my Dad. He talked about Jonah running from God. All the speakers taught us cool things about God and space and how we should orbit God because He made us. Jonah wasn’t orbiting God. My favorite band was the Bryan Easter Band because they have the best drummer and I play the drums (by Sam, age 9).