Explore Our Solar System
Author: Zahid Ikram  

Imagine a time very V-E-R-Y long ago, almost 5 billion (5,000,000,000) years in the past.  Our Earth did not yet exist.  There were billions of stars in the sky in all directions, but our Sun was just beginning to take shape as a huge, glowing hot disk made of trillions of tons of hydrogen, helium and all 90 elements in nature.  Surrounding our infant Sun was a much larger cloud of these same gases, space dust, rocks and ice many billions of kilometers/miles across called a Nebula cloud.  Although all elements are present in a nebula, the bulk of it is hydrogen atoms, the most common element in the universe.

 

Quran: 25: 61-62

سُوۡرَةُ الفُرقان
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

ِ تَبَارَكَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ بُرُوجً۬ا وَجَعَلَ فِيہَا سِرَٲجً۬ا وَقَمَرً۬ا مُّنِيرً۬ا (٦١) وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ ٱلَّيۡلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ خِلۡفَةً۬ لِّمَنۡ أَرَادَ أَن يَذَّڪَّرَ أَوۡ أَرَادَ شُڪُورً۬ا (٦٢)


Blessed be He Who hath placed in the heaven mansions of the stars, and hath placed therein a great lamp and a moon giving light! (61) And He it is Who hath appointed night and day in succession, for him who desireth to remember, or desireth thankfulness. (62)

اور (خدا) بڑی برکت والا ہے جس نے آسمانوں میں برج بنائے اور ان میں (آفتاب کا نہایت روشن) چراغ اور چمکتا ہوا چاند بھی بنایا (۶۱) اور وہی تو ہے جس نے رات اور دن کو ایک دوسرے کے پیچھے آنے جانے والا بنایا۔ (یہ باتیں) اس شخص کے لئے جو غور کرنا چاہے یا شکرگزاری کا ارادہ کرے (سوچنے اور سمجھنے کی ہیں) (۶۲)

Quran: 21: 30

 

Astronomical observations indicate that the universe is 13.73 ± 0.12 billion years old and at least 93 billion light years (The distance that light travels in a vacuum in 1 year; 5.88 trillion miles or 9.46 trillion kilometers) across. (God knows best)

The theoretical event that started the universe is called the Big Bang (the cosmic explosion that is hypothesized to have marked the origin of the universe). At this point in time all matter and energy of the observable universe was concentrated in one point of infinite density and Heat.

 

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنبیَاء
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

 

أَوَلَمۡ يَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ ڪَانَتَا رَتۡقً۬ا فَفَتَقۡنَـٰهُمَا‌ۖ وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلۡمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ حَىٍّ‌ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ (٣٠)

 

Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe? (30)

 

کیا کافروں نے نہیں دیکھا کہ آسمان اور زمین دونوں ملے ہوئے تھے تو ہم نے جدا جدا کردیا۔ اور تمام جاندار چیزیں ہم نے پانی سے بنائیں۔ پھر یہ لوگ ایمان کیوں نہیں لاتے؟ (۳۰)

 

 

An artist’s painting of what our early Solar System may have looked like billions of years ago, at the birth of the Sun

Over time, the force of gravity shaped this young Sun into a huge, rotating hot sphere in the center of the nebula that eventually flared into the bright hot star we know today.  Gravity also organized the nebula around the Sun into smaller clumps of matter that became the planets, dwarf planets, moons, comets and asteroids that populate our night sky today.  We call this “Solar System.”  

The Solar system you may have learned about in earlier years has changed significantly in the last few years as new discoveries have been made. Today, our Sun is a mature star surrounded by 8 full-sized planets, 4 “dwarf” planets, (including 3 Plutoid planets), 170 moons and over a trillion asteroids (space rocks) and comets (space ice balls) Orbiting around the Sun. 

Until recently, a planet was defined simply as any space object big enough to be shaped as a sphere that orbits (circles) the Sun. 
A moon is a space object that orbits a planet (moons can be any shape).  However, in the last few years, space scientists found several new large spherical objects beyond the orbit of Pluto that technically qualified as planets as well.  They expect to find dozens more.  There was also the problem of Pluto.  Although named a “planet” in 1930, it is small and it orbits the Sun in an unusual orbit.  As a result, new definitions for “a planet” were proposed by Astronomers and in 2006, the definition of a planet changed.
 

Scientists have found evidence of over 290 planets (so far) orbiting other stars, and estimate that 50% of all stars may have their own solar systems.  Some may look a lot like ours.  However, although scientists have been searching for over 40 years, we have yet to discover any life outside of the planet Earth.  It may be that we have just not looked in the right places.  It may also be possible that we are alone in this vast universe, millions of species riding a lonely journey together on spaceship Earth.  If true, then Earth is indeed a special place and its life forms share a rare and special kinship.

Our Solar System is located in one spiral arm of a giant pinwheel of almost 500 billion individual stars we call the Milky Way Galaxy.  The Milky Way is in turn, only one of 500 billion or more estimated galaxies in our universe. 

 

Quran: 62:1 

سُوۡرَةُ الجُمُعَة
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

يُسَبِّحُ لِلَّهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ ٱلۡمَلِكِ ٱلۡقُدُّوسِ ٱلۡعَزِيزِ ٱلۡحَكِيمِ (١)

 

All that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth glorifieth Allah, the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One, the Mighty, the Wise. (1)


جو چیز آسمانوں میں ہے اور جو چیز زمین میں ہے سب خدا کی تسبیح کرتی ہے جو بادشاہ حقیقی پاک ذات زبردست حکمت والا ہے (۱)

 

Milky Way Galaxy, our solar system is in the red mark.

 

We are about 2/3rds out from the center of the Milky Way in one of the spiral arms.  Our entire Solar System is flying through space, orbiting the center of the galaxy at the incredible speed of over 900,000 km/hr (560,000 miles/hr).  So, even while you think you are standing still on Earth, you are moving at very high speeds.  It’s a good thing we have Earth’s gravity holding onto us.  In fact, all the stars you see in the sky are orbiting the Milky Way at similar speeds, like a high-speed merry-go-round in space.

 

Quran: 85:1

 

سُوۡرَةُ البُرُوج
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

وَٱلسَّمَآءِ ذَاتِ ٱلۡبُرُوجِ (١)

By the heaven, holding mansions of the stars, (1)

آسمان کی قسم جس میں برج ہیں (۱)

 

 

 

Quran: 15:16

 

سُوۡرَةُ الحِجر
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَلَقَدۡ جَعَلۡنَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ بُرُوجً۬ا وَزَيَّنَّـٰهَا لِلنَّـٰظِرِينَ (١٦)

And verily in the heaven we have set mansions of the stars, and We have beautified it for beholders. (16) ِ

 

اور ہم ہی نے آسمان میں برج بنائے اور دیکھنے والوں کے لیے اُس کو سجا دیا (۱۶)

 

 

The scale of our universe is almost beyond our capability to understand.  You will find it soon.

 

The size of our local Solar System is also very difficult to grasp.  Models and sketches show the Sun and planets to be close to each other so that you can see them all together.  They are NOT!  Imagine the Sun to be shrunk to the size of a big beach ball sitting on the goal line of a football field.  The Earth would be the size of a small marble, placed at the opposite goal posts 100 yards (90 meters) away.  Pluto would be a tiny pea located 3 miles (4.7 km) away at the other end of town.  Thus, distances between planets are a LOT bigger, and the planets are a LOT smaller than you can imagine. 

 

Quran: 16:12

 

سُوۡرَةُ النّحل
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَسَخَّرَ لَڪُمُ ٱلَّيۡلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ‌ۖ وَٱلنُّجُومُ مُسَخَّرَٲتُۢ بِأَمۡرِهِۦۤ‌ۗ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَعۡقِلُونَ (١٢) ِ

And He hath constrained the night and the day and the sun and the moon to be of service unto you, and the stars are made subservient by His command. Lo! herein indeed are portents for people who have sense. (12)

 

اور اسی نے تمہارے لیے رات اور دن اور سورج اور چاند کو کام میں لگایا۔ اور اسی کے حکم سے ستارے بھی کام میں لگے ہوئے ہیں۔ سمجھنے والوں کے لیے اس میں (قدرت خدا کی بہت سی) نشانیاں ہیں (۱۲)

 

Let’s Explore Our “new” Solar System

It is laid out in order in this scaled image.  That large yellow fireball on the left is the Sun.  Those four round objects next to it are the inner planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars), which we are visiting today.  The new “dwarf planet” is Ceres and the four giant planets are next (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune).  The tiny spheres on the right are the “dwarf Plutoid planets”, Pluto, followed by Makemake and Eris.  The moons, asteroids and comets have not been added to the graphic.

 

 

Quran: 7:54

 

 

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴعرَاف
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ فِى سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ۬ ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلۡعَرۡشِ يُغۡشِى ٱلَّيۡلَ ٱلنَّہَارَ يَطۡلُبُهُ ۥ حَثِيثً۬ا وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ وَٱلنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَٲتِۭ بِأَمۡرِهِۦۤ‌ۗ أَلَا لَهُ ٱلۡخَلۡقُ وَٱلۡأَمۡرُ‌ۗ تَبَارَكَ ٱللَّهُ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ (٥٤) ِ

Al-Araf 7:54
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment. Blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds! (54)

 

سورة الاٴعرَاف
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

 

کچھ شک نہیں کہ تمہارا پروردگار خدا ہی ہے جس نے آسمانوں اور زمین کو چھ دن میں پیدا کیا پھر عرش پر جا ٹھہرا۔ وہی رات کو دن کا لباس پہناتا ہے کہ وہ اس کے پیچھے دوڑتا چلا آتا ہے۔ اور اسی نے سورج اور چاند ستاروں کو پیدا کیا سب اس کے حکم کے مطابق کام میں لگے ہوئے ہیں۔ دیکھو سب مخلوق بھی اسی کی ہے اور حکم بھی (اسی کا ہے)۔ یہ خدا رب العالمین بڑی برکت والا ہے (۵۴)

 

 

Let’s compare the size of the earth with Moons & other Planets

 

 

 

 

Now compare it with Uranus & Neptune

 

Now Earth against Sun

 

 

Sun

Our giant Sun is very active and violent as we will see shortly, but it is actually quite an ordinary yellowish star that we call a main sequence yellow dwarf star.  If you look out into space, many of the other stars out there are a lot like our Sun

 

 

Compared to what we are familiar with, the sun is massively large.  It contains 99.9% of all the mass of the Solar System and its diameter is approximately 860,000 miles (1,390,000 km).  That is over 100 times bigger than the 8,000-mile diameter of Earth.  108 Earths could fit side by side across the Sun.

 

 

It was born almost 5 billion years ago as gravity pulled nebula space gases and dust together into a huge ball.  Most of that matter consisted of hydrogen atoms.  Through gravity, that sphere of gas was compressed so tightly and got so hot that the hydrogen atoms in the central core began to fuse together.  This nuclear hydrogen fusion is the same kind of explosion as a hydrogen bomb. 

Watch the Close up Video of Sun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsLzZYEB9hY

 

Quran: 10:5-6

سُوۡرَةُ یُونس
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

هُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ ٱلشَّمۡسَ ضِيَآءً۬ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ نُورً۬ا وَقَدَّرَهُ ۥ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعۡلَمُواْ عَدَدَ ٱلسِّنِينَ وَٱلۡحِسَابَ‌ۚ مَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ ذَٲلِكَ إِلَّا بِٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۚ يُفَصِّلُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ۬ يَعۡلَمُونَ (٥) إِنَّ فِى ٱخۡتِلَـٰفِ ٱلَّيۡلِ وَٱلنَّہَارِ وَمَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَتَّقُونَ (٦)

 

It is He who made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. Allah has not created this except in truth. He details the signs for a people who know. Lo! in the difference of day and night and all that Allah hath created in the heavens and the earth are portents, verily, for folk who ward off (evil). (6)

وہی تو ہے جس نے سورج کو روشن اور چاند کو منور بنایا اور چاند کی منزلیں مقرر کیں تاکہ تم برسوں کا شمار اور (کاموں کا) حساب معلوم کرو۔ یہ (سب کچھ) خدا نے تدبیر سے پیدا کیا ہے۔ سمجھنے والوں کے لیے وہ اپنی آیاتیں کھول کھول کر بیان فرماتا ہے (۵) رات اور دن کے (ایک دوسرے کے پیچھے) آنے جانے میں اور جو چیزیں خدا نے آسمان اور زمین میں پیدا کی ہیں (سب میں) ڈرنے والوں کے لیے نشانیاں ہیں (۶)

 

In fact, the Sun (and all stars that we can see) is exploding internally, with billions of H-bomb type explosions going off every second in its central core.  This results in enormous radiation energy and heat pouring out of the Sun at the speed of light, spreading through space in all directions.  

 

Notice some dark orange/brown spots on the Sun?  They are sunspots, giant storms of magnetic disturbance where flares and prominences (eruptions) tend to occur often.  They are something like whirlpools on Earth.  They are darker in color than the rest of the Sun because they are actually a bit cooler in temperature than their surroundings. 

 

The number of these storms depends upon the Sun’s magnetic field. They come and go in cycles every 11 years.  When sunspots are at their maximum number, there may be over a hundred individual storms raging on the Sun at one time.  Incredibly, even the small spots are larger than Earth.  The big ones could envelop 10 Earths.

Some of the radiation is deadly and can kill us instantly.  Fortunately, Earth’s atmosphere protects us from most of it.  Some radiation is good.  The Sun’s heat is a form of radiation that strikes all of the planets and moons of the Solar System and warms them by different amounts.  Life on Earth is possible because of it.

Quran: 21: 32

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنبیَاء
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
وَجَعَلۡنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ سَقۡفً۬ا مَّحۡفُوظً۬ا‌ۖ وَهُمۡ عَنۡ ءَايَـٰتِہَا مُعۡرِضُونَ (٣٢)

And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents. (32)

اور آسمان کو محفوظ چھت بنایا۔ اس پر بھی وہ ہماری نشانیوں سے منہ پھیر رہے ہیں (۳۲)

 

Even though it is exploding, the Sun does not blast out into space like a firecracker going off inside a ball of Jell-O. The reason is gravity. Although it is blowing outward, gravity is grabbing those exploding gases and is pulling most of them back in as soon as they try to leave… keeping the Sun at a controlled, sustained size. This tug-of-war goes on year after year, century after century. It has been going on for 5 billion years, and will continue for over 5 billion more years and will blast as a supernova.

 

Watch this Video what if Sun goes Supernova http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HQp7Z0xLmg

 

سُوۡرَةُ التّکویر
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

إِذَا ٱلشَّمۡسُ كُوِّرَتۡ (١) وَإِذَا ٱلنُّجُومُ ٱنكَدَرَتۡ (٢)

When the sun is overthrown, (1) And when the stars fall, (2)

جب سورج لپیٹ لیا جائے گا (۱) جب تارے بےنور ہو جائیں گے

 

  
 

Quran: 13-2

سُوۡرَةُ الرّعد
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى رَفَعَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ بِغَيۡرِ عَمَدٍ۬ تَرَوۡنَہَا‌ۖ ثُمَّ ٱسۡتَوَىٰ عَلَى ٱلۡعَرۡشِ‌ۖ وَسَخَّرَ ٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ‌ۖ كُلٌّ۬ يَجۡرِى لِأَجَلٍ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى‌ۚ يُدَبِّرُ ٱلۡأَمۡرَ يُفَصِّلُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لَعَلَّكُم بِلِقَآءِ رَبِّكُمۡ تُوقِنُونَ (٢) ِ

13:2 It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you [can] see; then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. He arranges [each] matter; He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain.

خدا وہی تو ہے جس نے ستونوں کے بغیر آسمان جیسا کہ تم دیکھتے ہو (اتنے) اونچے بنائے۔ پھر عرش پر جا ٹھہرا اور سورج اور چاند کو کام میں لگا دیا۔ ہر ایک ایک میعاد معین تک گردش کر رہا ہے۔ وہی (دنیا کے) کاموں کا انتظام کرتا ہے (اس طرح) وہ اپنی آیتیں کھول کھول کر بیان کرتا ہے کہ تم اپنے پروردگار کے روبرو جانے کا یقین کرو (۲)

 

As the Sun explodes internally, some of that energy causes its surface to erupt in periodic explosions of very hot gas.  The guiding force behind these eruptions is magnetism (the Sun is very magnetically charged).  These eruptions are called “Prominences”.  They form loops on the Sun due to both gravity and magnetism.

 

The sun’s lower atmosphere, called the Chromospheres WHEW! 

 

Sometimes, the eruption is so strong that the exploded material does not loop back to the Sun.  Instead, it rockets out into space at 1 to 2 million km/hr.  Eruptions that escape into space are called Solar Flares, or Coronal mass Ejections. 
Watch the Close up Video of Sun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsLzZYEB9hY

 

The explosions of hydrogen fusion occurring inside the Sun take place in its CORE.  Surrounding the core is a large area of hot hydrogen gas called the Radiation Zone.  Surrounding that zone is another layer called the Convection Zone.  The top of that zone is the surface of the Sun, and is called the Photosphere.

Diagram of the layers of the Sun.  Your teacher may provide you much more detail on these layers.  If you are internet connected and have the time, many different websites describe the Sun in more detail.

Surprisingly, however, the surface of the Sun is not that hot.  Because it is far from the 25 millionº central core and is exposed to the cold of space, the “surface” temperature of the Sun is only about 12,000 ° F (6600º C).  That is only about 20 times hotter than your kitchen oven on broil.

 

Speed of light (abbreviated “c”).  It is a whopping 300,000 km/s (186,000 miles/sec).  If you were a ray of sunlight, you would leave the Sun at this speed.  Nothing in the universe can travel faster than the speed of light. 

It is the ultimate speed limit.  The reasons are very complicated.  However, even at light speed, it will still take you about 8 minutes to reach Earth.  You have to think “Faster than Light (FTL)”.

 

If you were a ray of sunlight from our Sun, you would be headed directly ahead into that dark void of space filled with stars.  Isaac Newton’s 1st Law of Motion tells us that unless you collided with something in your path, you would continue the journey straight ahead at light speed, essentially forever.  ven at this incredible speed, you would have to travel for … over 4.3 years, 24 hours a day, without sleep, before you would come close to the very nearest star Proxima Centauri you can see in front of you.  The Sun itself would be just a tiny dim dot in space, lost behind you among all the other stars.  Imagine spending 70 years of your life just waiting to reach … the very next star in front of you.  Space is such a very BIG place. 

One (1) ly = 9.46 x 1012 km, or 5.87 x 1012 miles.  That is 9.46 trillion km (5.87 trillion miles).  Obviously, that is a stupendous number.  Written out, it is 9,460,000,000,000 km or 5,870,000,000,000 mi. 

Please remember from the prior journey in past that the fastest speed ever achieved by human beings was 11 km/sec, the speed attained by the Apollo spacecraft.

 

Well, how many days, weeks, months or years would it take Apollo (or you) to reach the nearest star to Earth (aside from our own sun)?  To calculate it, we first have to determine how far away the star is from us in kilometers.  That’s easy.  Proxima Centauri is about 4.23 LY away, and 1 LY = 9.46 x 1012 km.  So, the star is 4.23 x (9.46 x 1012) = 4.0 x 1013 km (40 trillion kilometers) (in miles, that’s 24.7 trillion miles (2.5 x 1013 miles)).  Now, just divide the distance to the star in km by 11 km/sec (the speed of Apollo), and you’ll find the time it would take to get there in seconds.  Convert that to years (I’ll leave that to you). 

 

You should have discovered that to reach the nearest star to us at the fastest speed ever achieved by people, would take you … over 115,000 years!  That is almost 6,000 generations … of your children, and grandchildren, and great grandchildren, and their children’s children’s children’s children … watching out your ship’s front window … living and dying … century after century, millennia after millennia.  115,000 years … just to reach the closest star to us.  That is 20 times longer than all of human recorded history, back to the days of our most ancient civilizations … 20 times longer!  If you left Earth at the time of the ancient Greeks 4,000 years ago, you would only be less than 4% of the way to the star by now.

سُوۡرَةُ المُلک
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

تَبَـٰرَكَ ٱلَّذِى بِيَدِهِ ٱلۡمُلۡكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ (١) ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ وَٱلۡحَيَوٰةَ لِيَبۡلُوَكُمۡ أَيُّكُمۡ أَحۡسَنُ عَمَلاً۬‌ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَزِيزُ ٱلۡغَفُورُ (٢) ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ سَبۡعَ سَمَـٰوَٲتٍ۬ طِبَاقً۬ا‌ۖ مَّا تَرَىٰ فِى خَلۡقِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ مِن تَفَـٰوُتٍ۬‌ۖ فَٱرۡجِعِ ٱلۡبَصَرَ هَلۡ تَرَىٰ مِن فُطُورٍ۬ (٣) ثُمَّ ٱرۡجِعِ ٱلۡبَصَرَ كَرَّتَيۡنِ يَنقَلِبۡ إِلَيۡكَ ٱلۡبَصَرُ خَاسِئً۬ا وَهُوَ حَسِيرٌ۬ (٤) وَلَقَدۡ زَيَّنَّا ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنۡيَا بِمَصَـٰبِيحَ وَجَعَلۡنَـٰهَا رُجُومً۬ا لِّلشَّيَـٰطِينِ‌ۖ وَأَعۡتَدۡنَا لَهُمۡ عَذَابَ ٱلسَّعِيرِ (٥) ِ

Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things. (1) Who hath created life and death that He may try you which of you is best in conduct; and He is the Mighty, the Forgiving, (2) Who hath created seven heavens in harmony. Thou canst see no fault in the Beneficent One's creation; then look again: Canst thou see any rifts? (3) Then look again and yet again, thy sight will return unto thee weakened and made dim. (4) And verily We have beautified the world's heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils, and for them We have prepared the doom of flame. (5)

وہ (خدا) جس کے ہاتھ میں بادشاہی ہے بڑی برکت والا ہے۔ اور وہ ہر چیز پر قادر ہے (۱) اسی نے موت اور زندگی کو پیدا کیا تاکہ تمہاری آزمائش کرے کہ تم میں کون اچھے عمل کرتا ہے۔ اور وہ زبردست (اور) بخشنے والا ہے (۲) اس نے سات آسمان اوپر تلے بنائے۔ (اے دیکھنے والے) کیا تو (خدا) رحمٰن کی آفرنیش میں کچھ نقص دیکھتا ہے؟ ذرا آنکھ اٹھا کر دیکھ بھلا تجھ کو (آسمان میں) کوئی شکاف نظر آتا ہے؟ (۳) پھر دو بارہ (سہ بارہ) نظر کر، تو نظر (ہر بار) تیرے پاس ناکام اور تھک کر لوٹ آئے گی (۴)اور ہم نے قریب کے آسمان کو (تاروں کے) چراغوں سے زینت دی۔ اور ان کو شیطان کے مارنے کا آلہ بنایا اور ان کے لئے دہکتی آگ کا عذاب تیار کر رکھا ہے (۵)

Read the Article: How Big is Our Universe?

 

Mercury

Mercury is 0.489 au from your position near the Sun.  An AU is an abbreviation for “Astronomical Unit”, which is a distance measurement Astronomers use to describe huge distances in space.  It is defined as the distance from the Earth to the Sun.  That distance (1 au) = 150,000,000 km, or about 93,000,000 miles.    Since Mercury is 0.489 au from our position, it is 150,000,000 x 0.489 = 73,350,000 km, or about 45.6 million miles away.

 

 

Mercury is a very old world that formed 4.6 billion years ago, along with the rest of our Solar System.  As you can see, it looks a lot like our Moon.  To the best of our knowledge, it is a dead, small and rocky world.  It is the closest planet to the Sun.

 

Mercury is called a terrestrial planet because it is made primarily of rock.  Scientists believe it formed from the original nebula that the rest of the Solar System formed from.  Its closeness to the Sun, however, forced any lighter elements and gases that might have been near it to be driven away by the Sun’s fierce radiation, pushed away by the “solar wind”.   Mercury is also a small planet and its gravity is relatively weak.  Consequently, Mercury has no real atmosphere of gas to call its own. 

However, there is something unusual about Mercury.  It is very dense.  Its rocks are heavier than any other planet.  That is probably due to the fact that its closeness to the Sun’s heat drove the lighter, more volatile elements away from it, allowing only the heavy elements to collect near it and form into a planet.  Another possibility is that Mercury underwent a colossal collision with another planet eons ago, with the dense cores of the collision all that is remaining.

If true, then Mercury is much like Earth.  Evidence suggests that Earth also experienced a colossal collision with a planet some 4.4 billion years ago.  The result was the formation of a “new” Earth … and our moon. 

 

Mercury is close enough to our Sun to get very hot on its sunny side (over 360° C or 680° F). It is hotter than the interior of your oven on broil.  Because Mercury has no atmosphere, however, the heat from the Sun cannot circulate around the planet to help spread its heat (it just re-radiates back into space).  So while it is a scorching oven on its sunny side, it cools very quickly and becomes very cold on its dark night side, plunging to temperatures as low as -160° C or -250° F.

 

As you can see, Mercury is tortured and cracked, and there are hills and cliffs. Mercury’s surface is also full of holes.  They are impact craters, caused by asteroids (space rocks) crashing into the surface at high speed.  Many craters are very old, having formed from impacts billions of years ago.  If the impact was large, it triggered lava flows that filled in some of the other craters, creating “plains” (planita in Latin). 

Mercury has no air or liquid water on its surface so there is nothing to erode, flood, blow sand into or fill in the craters.  They still look like they did billions of years ago.   

Although Mercury turns slowly, it travels through space very fast.  In fact, it is circling the Sun once every 88 days (orbiting) at a speed of almost 50 km/sec (31 miles/sec).  Picture it!  If it flew close overhead and you were standing on Earth, it would whiz by from one horizon to the other in less than 1 second.  Mercury’s name in fact is based upon a Roman and Greek God that was the fast messenger of all the Gods.

There is no God, But Allah.

Quran: 21:21-22

 

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنبیَاء
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

أَمِ ٱتَّخَذُوٓاْ ءَالِهَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ هُمۡ يُنشِرُونَ (٢١) لَوۡ كَانَ فِيہِمَآ ءَالِهَةٌ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا‌ۚ فَسُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱللَّهِ رَبِّ ٱلۡعَرۡشِ عَمَّا يَصِفُونَ (٢٢)


If there were therein Gods beside Allah, then verily both (the heavens and the earth) had been disordered. Glorified be Allah, the Lord of the Throne, from all that they ascribe (unto Him). (22)

سورة الاٴنبیَاء
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

اگر آسمان اور زمین میں خدا کے سوا اور معبود ہوتے تو زمین وآسمان درہم برہم ہوجاتے۔ جو باتیں یہ لوگ بتاتے ہیں خدائے مالک عرش ان سے پاک ہے (۲۲)

When all the planets formed as a Solar System, Mercury formed alone and has no moons.

 

Venus

Venus is very attractive from orbit, don’t you think.  What is it really like?

Venus, named after the goddess of love and beauty in Greek and Roman mythology, is about the same size as Earth.  It formed from the same nebula as the rest of the Solar System 4.6 billion years ago and is also a “terrestrial” planet (made mostly of rock). It is the brightest object in the night sky aside from the Moon. 

It has a thick atmosphere and dense clouds, so many people at the beginning of the 20th century thought it might rain there.  Because it is closer to the Sun, astronomers also thought that it might be nice and warm, and a possible home to “life” in a hot, rainy tropical setting.  There was even hope that maybe there were Venusians plants and animals. 

Well, that dream was completely abandoned in the middle of the 20th century when the United States and Soviet Union both sent spacecraft to examine Venus.  What we found was not a warm tropical world, but a broiling hellish world roasting at a temperature of 480° C (900° F).  This is almost twice as hot as your oven on boil, so anything you set on the surface of Venus would cook and char very fast (a burger would turn black in less than 20 seconds).  Venus is the hottest object in the entire Solar System, aside from the Sun itself.  It is even hotter than Mercury.  It is so hot that if you put a chunk of solid lead on its surface, the lead would melt and liquefy into a hot puddle.

The atmospheric pressure on the surface of the planet is 90 times thicker and heavier than it is on Earth.  Its air weighs about what 10 fully loaded 18-wheel trucks would weigh, stacked one on top of the other, all sitting on your chest.  Were you to land on Venus and step out of your spacecraft, you would be crushed instantly into a flat puddle by the weight of its air.  The 900o F heat would then boil and char your remains!

Venus’s super-dense atmosphere is made of about 96% CO2.  The CO2 came from volcanoes that were very active for billions of years in the past, but do not appear to be active now. 

Carbon Dioxide is a gas that has a particular ability to absorb heat.  The more CO2 present, the hotter the air gets.  The effect is known as the Greenhouse effect, (Warming that results when solar radiation is trapped by the atmosphere; caused by atmospheric gases that allow sunshine to pass through but absorb heat that is radiated back from the warmed surface of the earth)  because CO2 acts like the glass on a greenhouse.  The Sun’s heat can get in but has a difficult time leaking back out again into space at night.  This results in a chokingly hot, heavy blanket of gas that shrouds and wraps the planet like insulation, causing it to heat up as sunlight shines on it. 

Because Venus is closer to the sun, it also gets more heat than Earth.  As a result, it has a runaway greenhouse effect, an effect so severe that the planet is hot enough to melt lead.

If crushing atmosphere and broiling heat were not bad enough, Venus has no breathable oxygen, no surface water and no water clouds.  Instead, its clouds are made of concentrated sulfuric acid droplets, a mist strong enough to burn your skin.  The sulfur also came from volcanic eruptions long ago.  The acid clouds are so thick that you cannot see the surface of Venus from space and you cannot see space from Venus.  There is no such thing as a starry night on Venus, and there has not been for millions of years. 

 

We think Venus once had traces of water and was not unlike Earth.  What happened to it to turn it into the hellishly hot planet it is now?  We need to answer that question because we are also changing our planet.  Earth is becoming more like Venus every day.  We are pumping enormous quantities of Carbon Dioxide into our atmosphere from the burning of oil, gasoline and coal, creating our own greenhouse effect.  As a result, our planet is warming up.  The years 2003, 2004 and 2005 were the warmest years ever recorded in all of human history.  Our polar ice caps and mountain glaciers are melting.  The oceans are warming and coral reefs are dying.  Drought is beginning in some areas.  Ferocious hurricanes born in warmer oceans are becoming much more frequent.  

It is called Global Warming

and it has many people very worried.  It may become the greatest threat to humans in all of our history. 

If we keep it up, our planet will continue to warm.  Could we someday begin to resemble Venus?  The answer is probably no.  We would not get that hot.  However, we could pump so much CO2 into the air that Earth warms up to levels that will make it tough to survive.  Remember, we don’t have to warm to 900° F to ruin our garden world.  Just a 10° rise will do it!  In fact, an estimate by scientists in 2007 stated that fully half of all species on Earth may become extinct by the end of this century if we do not get global warming under control soon what a catastrophe that could be.

 

You can discover two fascinating things about Venus’s rotation. 

First, it is very slow.  It takes the planet a whopping 243 days to turn just once on its axis, making for a VERY LONG day and a very long night.

Secondly, Venus turns on its axis backwards (from right to left).  This is called retrograde rotation, and is different from most of the other planets in our Solar System.  Most are like the Sun and turn from left to right (called prograde rotation)

Retrograde rotation can occur two ways.  First, Venus may have collided long ago with another planet or large moon, knocking it over and resulting in it rotating “backward”.  Scientists also believe that planets without moons orbiting them have unstable rotations.  Venus has NO moons.  As they turn on their axis, such planets can wobble.  Over thousands of years, that wobble can force the planet to flip upside down.  Planets with moons tend to be more stable in their rotation axis, because the moon’s gravity helps to stabilize their spin.  Earth, for example, has a large moon that keeps our axis from wobbling very much.

As the 2nd planet from the sun, Venus orbits the Sun once every 225 days.  

 

Quran: 31:20

 

سُوۡرَةُ لقمَان
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

أَلَمۡ تَرَوۡاْ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ سَخَّرَ لَكُم مَّا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَأَسۡبَغَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ نِعَمَهُ ۥ ظَـٰهِرَةً۬ وَبَاطِنَةً۬‌ۗ وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِ مَن يُجَـٰدِلُ فِى ٱللَّهِ بِغَيۡرِ عِلۡمٍ۬ وَلَا هُدً۬ى وَلَا كِتَـٰبٍ۬ مُّنِيرٍ۬ (٢٠) ِ

See ye not how Allah hath made serviceable unto you whatsoever is in the skies and whatsoever is in the earth and hath loaded you with His favours both without and within? Yet of mankind is he who disputeth concerning Allah, without knowledge or guidance or a scripture giving light. (20)

 

کیا تم نے نہیں دیکھا کہ جو کچھ آسمانوں میں اور جو کچھ زمین میں ہے سب کو خدا نے تمہارے قابو میں کر دیا ہے اور تم پر اپنی ظاہری اور باطنی نعمتیں پوری کردی ہیں۔ اور بعض لوگ ایسے ہیں کہ خدا کے بارے میں جھگڑتے ہیں نہ علم رکھتے ہیں اور نہ ہدایت اور نہ کتاب روشن (۲۰)

 

Earth

For much of human history, people have dreamed of seeing the Earth from space.  You are about to live that dream. 

 

 

What a lonely place we occupy in space … a tiny speck of life in such a vast ocean of stars.  How insignificant is humankind against the vista of the universe!

 

Quran: 21:31-33

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنبیَاء
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

 

وَجَعَلۡنَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ رَوَٲسِىَ أَن تَمِيدَ بِهِمۡ وَجَعَلۡنَا فِيہَا فِجَاجً۬ا سُبُلاً۬ لَّعَلَّهُمۡ يَہۡتَدُونَ (٣١) وَجَعَلۡنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ سَقۡفً۬ا مَّحۡفُوظً۬ا‌ۖ وَهُمۡ عَنۡ ءَايَـٰتِہَا مُعۡرِضُونَ (٣٢) وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَ ٱلَّيۡلَ وَٱلنَّہَارَ وَٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ‌ۖ كُلٌّ۬ فِى فَلَكٍ۬ يَسۡبَحُونَ (٣٣)

 

And We have placed in the earth firm hills lest it quake with them, and We have placed therein ravines as roads that haply they may find their way. (31) And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents. (32) And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit. (33)

 

اور ہم نے زمین میں پہاڑ بنائے تاکہ لوگوں (کے بوجھ) سے ہلنے (اور جھکنے) نہ لگے اور اس میں کشادہ راستے بنائے تاکہ لوگ ان پر چلیں (۳۱) اور آسمان کو محفوظ چھت بنایا۔ اس پر بھی وہ ہماری نشانیوں سے منہ پھیر رہے ہیں (۳۲) اور وہی تو ہے جس نے رات اور دن اور سورج اور چاند کو بنایا۔ سب  آسمان میں تیر رہے ہیں (۳۳)

 

The Earth also formed over 4.6 billion years ago as part of our Solar System.  When it was very young, it was hot with thousands of volcanoes erupting millions of tons of lava.  The atmosphere was an un-breathable mix of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, sulfide gases, methane and ammonia.  The sky was yellowish red and the rain had the acidity of lemon juice.  Although there was water on the ground, it took many thousands of years for the oceans to fill in.  Volcanoes and lava were everywhere. There was no life.

سُوۡرَةُ الحِجر
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

وَأَرۡسَلۡنَا ٱلرِّيَـٰحَ لَوَٲقِحَ فَأَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً۬ فَأَسۡقَيۡنَـٰكُمُوهُ وَمَآ أَنتُمۡ لَهُ ۥ بِخَـٰزِنِينَ (٢٢) وَإِنَّا لَنَحۡنُ نُحۡىِۦ وَنُمِيتُ وَنَحۡنُ ٱلۡوَٲرِثُونَ (٢٣)

Al-Hijr 15: 22-23
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

) And We send the winds fertilising, and cause water to descend from the sky, and give it you to drink. It is not ye who are the holders of the store thereof. (22) Lo! and it is We, even We, Who quicken and give death, and We are the Inheritor. (23)

اور ہم ہی ہوائیں چلاتے ہیں (جو بادلوں کے پانی سے) بھری ہوئی ہوتی ہیں اور ہم ہی آسمان سے مینہ برساتے ہیں اور ہم ہی تم کو اس کا پانی پلاتے ہیں اور تم تو اس کا خرانہ نہیں رکھتے (۲۲) اور ہم ہی حیات بخشتے اور ہم ہی موت دیتے ہیں۔ اور ہم سب کے وارث (مالک) ہیں (۲۳)

 

Today of course, Earth is the home and cradle of millions of species of living things.  What makes life possible in part is that Earth occupies a position in our Solar System called the Zone of Habitation.  It is a section of space not too close and not too far away from the Sun’s heat where liquid water can exist for at least a part of a year.  Liquid water covers 70% of the planet.

سُوۡرَةُ الشُّعَرَاء
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ كَمۡ أَنۢبَتۡنَا فِيہَا مِن كُلِّ زَوۡجٍ۬ كَرِيمٍ (٧)ِ

[026:007]  Do they not look at the earth,- how many noble things of all kinds We have produced therein?

کیا انہوں نے زمین کی طرف نہیں دیکھا کہ ہم نے اس میں ہر قسم کی کتنی نفیس چیزیں اُگائی ہیں (۷)

 

سُوۡرَةُ الحِجر
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَإِن مِّن شَىۡءٍ إِلَّا عِندَنَا خَزَآٮِٕنُهُ ۥ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا بِقَدَرٍ۬ مَّعۡلُومٍ۬ (٢١)ِ

[015:021-23]  And there is not a thing but with Us are the stores thereof. And we send it not down save in appointed measure. (21

اور ہمارے ہاں ہر چیز کے خزانے ہیں اور ہم ان کو بمقدار مناسب اُتارتے رہتے ہیں (۲۱)

 

 The Earth...its size is perfect. The Earth's size and corresponding gravity holds a thin layer of mostly nitrogen and oxygen gases, only extending about 50 miles above the Earth's surface. If Earth were smaller, an atmosphere would be impossible, like the planet Mercury. If Earth were larger, its atmosphere would contain free hydrogen, like Jupiter. (R.E.D. Clark, Creation (London: Tyndale Press, 1946), p. 20)  Earth is the only known planet equipped with an atmosphere of the right mixture of gases to sustain plant, animal and human life.

سُوۡرَةُ الرَّحمٰن
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

 وَٱلسَّمَآءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ ٱلۡمِيزَانَ (٧)
(6) And the sky He hath uplifted; and He hath set the measure, (7)

اور اسی نے آسمان کو بلند کیا اور ترازو قائم کی (۷)

 

The Earth is located the right distance from the sun. Consider the temperature swings we encounter, roughly -30 degrees to +120 degrees. If the Earth were any further away from the sun, we would all freeze. Any closer and we would burn up. Even a fractional variance in the Earth's position to the sun would make life on Earth impossible. The Earth remains this perfect distance from the sun while it rotates around the sun at a speed of nearly 67,000 mph. It is also rotating on its axis, allowing the entire surface of the Earth to be properly warmed and cooled every day.

And our moon is the perfect size and distance from the Earth for its gravitational pull. The moon creates important ocean tides and movement so ocean waters do not stagnate, and yet our massive oceans are restrained from spilling over across the continents.
The Wonders of God's Creation, Moody Institute of Science (Chicago, IL)

 

سُوۡرَةُ آل عِمرَان
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

 

ِ تُولِجُ ٱلَّيۡلَ فِى ٱلنَّهَارِ وَتُولِجُ ٱلنَّهَارَ فِى ٱلَّيۡلِ‌ۖ وَتُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡحَىَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمَيِّتِ وَتُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡمَيِّتَ مِنَ ٱلۡحَىِّ‌ۖ وَتَرۡزُقُ مَن تَشَآءُ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٍ۬ (٢٧)

[003:027]  "Thou causest the night to gain on the day, and thou causest the day to gain on the night; Thou bringest the Living out of the dead, and Thou bringest the dead out of the Living; and Thou givest sustenance to whom Thou pleasest, without measure."

(۲۶) تو ہی رات کو دن میں داخل کرتا اور تو ہی دن کو رات میں داخل کرتا ہے تو ہی بے جان سے جاندار پیدا کرتا ہے اور تو ہی جاندار سے بے جان پیدا کرتا ہے اور توہی جس کو چاہتا ہے بے شمار رزق بخشتا ہے (۲۷)

 

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنعَام
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ فَالِقُ ٱلۡحَبِّ وَٱلنَّوَىٰ‌ۖ يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡحَىَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمَيِّتِ وَمُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡمَيِّتِ مِنَ ٱلۡحَىِّ‌ۚ ذَٲلِكُمُ ٱللَّهُ‌ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُؤۡفَكُونَ (٩٥) ِ

[006:095] It is God Who causeth the seed-grain and the date-stone to split and sprout. He causeth the living to issue from the dead, and He is the one to cause the dead to issue from the living. That is God: then how are ye deluded away from the truth?

بے شک خدا ہی دانے اور گٹھلی کو پھاڑ کر (ان سے درخت وغیرہ) اگاتا ہے وہی جاندار کو بے جان سے نکالتا ہے اور وہی بےجان کا جاندار سے نکالنے والا ہے۔ یہی تو خدا ہے۔ پھر تم کہاں بہکے پھرتے ہو (۹۵)

 

سُوۡرَةُ یُونس
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

قُلۡ مَن يَرۡزُقُكُم مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ أَمَّن يَمۡلِكُ ٱلسَّمۡعَ وَٱلۡأَبۡصَـٰرَ وَمَن يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡحَىَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمَيِّتِ وَيُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡمَيِّتَ مِنَ ٱلۡحَىِّ وَمَن يُدَبِّرُ ٱلۡأَمۡرَ‌ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ فَقُلۡ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ (٣١) ِ

[010:031]  Say: "Who is it that sustains you (in life) from the sky and from the earth? or who is it that has power over hearing and sight? And who is it that brings out the living from the dead and the dead from the living? and who is it that rules and regulates all affairs?" They will soon say, "God". Say, "will ye not then show piety (to Him)?"

(ان سے) پوچھو کہ تم کو آسمان اور زمین میں رزق کون دیتا ہے یا (تمہارے) کانوں اور آنکھوں کا مالک کون ہے اور بےجان سے جاندار کون پیدا کرتا ہے اور دنیا کے کاموں کا انتظام کون کرتا ہے۔ جھٹ کہہ دیں گے کہ خدا۔ تو کہو کہ پھر تم (خدا سے) ڈرتے کیوں نہیں؟ (۳۱)

 

سُوۡرَةُ الرُّوم
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

وَلَهُ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَعَشِيًّ۬ا وَحِينَ تُظۡهِرُونَ (١٨) يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡحَىَّ مِنَ ٱلۡمَيِّتِ وَيُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡمَيِّتَ مِنَ ٱلۡحَىِّ وَيُحۡىِ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ بَعۡدَ مَوۡتِہَا‌ۚ وَكَذَٲلِكَ تُخۡرَجُونَ (١٩)

[030:019]  It is He Who brings out the living from the dead, and brings out the dead from the living, and Who gives life to the earth after it is dead: and thus shall ye be brought out (from the dead).

وہی زندے کو مردے سے نکالتا اور (وہی) مردے کو زندے سے نکالتا ہے اور( وہی) زمین کو اس کے مرنے کے بعد زندہ کرتا ہے۔ اور اسی طرح تم (دوبارہ زمین میں سے) نکالے جاؤ گے (۱۹)

 

 

Did you know that space itself above Earth is very cold (about -260° F, or -160°C)?  That’s because there is very little matter in space to absorb the heat (it’s a vacuum).  Fortunately, the Sun provides enough heat to keep Earth warm.  As a result, the water on our planet stays liquid almost all of the time, allowing clouds to form and rain to fall over the land. 

 

سُوۡرَةُ الحِجر
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَإِن مِّن شَىۡءٍ إِلَّا عِندَنَا خَزَآٮِٕنُهُ ۥ وَمَا نُنَزِّلُهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا بِقَدَرٍ۬ مَّعۡلُومٍ۬ (٢١) وَأَرۡسَلۡنَا ٱلرِّيَـٰحَ لَوَٲقِحَ فَأَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً۬ فَأَسۡقَيۡنَـٰكُمُوهُ وَمَآ أَنتُمۡ لَهُ ۥ بِخَـٰزِنِينَ (٢٢) وَإِنَّا لَنَحۡنُ نُحۡىِۦ وَنُمِيتُ وَنَحۡنُ ٱلۡوَٲرِثُونَ (٢٣) ِ

[015:021-23]  And there is not a thing but with Us are the stores thereof. And we send it not down save in appointed measure. (21) And We send the winds fertilising, and cause water to descend from the sky, and give it you to drink. It is not ye who are the holders of the store thereof. (22) Lo! and it is We, even We, Who quicken and give death, and We are the Inheritor. (23)

اور ہمارے ہاں ہر چیز کے خزانے ہیں اور ہم ان کو بمقدار مناسب اُتارتے رہتے ہیں (۲۱) اور ہم ہی ہوائیں چلاتے ہیں (جو بادلوں کے پانی سے) بھری ہوئی ہوتی ہیں اور ہم ہی آسمان سے مینہ برساتے ہیں اور ہم ہی تم کو اس کا پانی پلاتے ہیں اور تم تو اس کا خرانہ نہیں رکھتے (۲۲) اور ہم ہی حیات بخشتے اور ہم ہی موت دیتے ہیں۔ اور ہم سب کے وارث (مالک) ہیں (۲۳)

 

سُوۡرَةُ المؤمنون
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَأَنزَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءَۢ بِقَدَرٍ۬ فَأَسۡكَنَّـٰهُ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۖ وَإِنَّا عَلَىٰ ذَهَابِۭ بِهِۦ لَقَـٰدِرُونَ (١٨) ِ

[023:018]  And We send down water from the sky according to (due) measure, and We cause it to soak in the soil; and We certainly are able to drain it off (with ease).

اور ہم ہی نے آسمان سے ایک اندازے کے ساتھ پانی نازل کیا۔ پھر اس کو زمین میں ٹھہرا دیا اور ہم اس کے نابود کردینے پر بھی قادر ہیں (۱۸)

 

Liquid water is vital to all life because it is an ideal solvent.  Foods and waste products easily dissolve in it, and it circulates nutrients through a living creature’s body or cells.  We know of no life form that exists without water in some form. 

 

 

Earth is a complex terrestrial planet.  There is an Inner and Outer Core of hot, very dense metal taking up over 1/3 of the interior of Earth.  Above the two metallic cores is rock … trillions of tons of it stretching all the way to the surface.  It is called the “Mantle”.  Much of it is molten … a red-hot material that pours out of volcanoes all over our planet from time to time as lava.  The only place it has cooled enough to be solid is at the surface, called the Crust.

 

Water...colorless, odorless and without taste, and yet no living thing can survive without it. Plants, animals and human beings consist mostly of water (about two-thirds of the human body is water). You'll see why the characteristics of water are uniquely suited to life:

 

  • It has an unusually high boiling point and freezing point. Water allows us to live in an environment of fluctuating temperature changes, while keeping our bodies a steady 98.6 degrees.

  • Water is a universal solvent. This property of water means that thousands of chemicals, minerals and nutrients can be carried throughout our bodies and into the smallest blood vessels.

  • Water is also chemically neutral. Without affecting the makeup of the substances it carries, water enables food, medicines and minerals to be absorbed and used by the body.

  • Water has a unique surface tension. Water in plants can therefore flow upward against gravity, bringing life-giving water and nutrients to the top of even the tallest trees.

  • Water freezes from the top down and floats, so fish can live in the winter.

  • Ninety-seven percent of the Earth's water is in the oceans. But on our Earth, there is a system designed which removes salt from the water and then distributes that water throughout the globe. Evaporation takes the ocean waters, leaving the salt, and forms clouds which are easily moved by the wind to disperse water over the land, for vegetation, animals and people. It is a system of purification and supply that sustains life on this planet, a system of recycled and reused water.
     

What keeps Earth so hot inside?  The answer is “radioactivity”.  Radioactive elements are heavy elements in nature that collect mainly near the center of the Earth and are unstable.  They go by names you’ve heard of … Uranium, Plutonium and Thorium to name a few.  Over long periods measured in millions and even billions of years, these elements break apart into smaller pieces, giving off lots of heat and energy.  The heat is enough to melt the interior of Earth. 

That hot churning interior also cracks the Earth’s solid crust in over 30 places, like an eggshell cracking when you boil an egg.  Each piece of crust (known as a tectonic plate) is in motion, floating on the molten interior rock below.  As they float, the crystal plates collide in some places and pull apart in others, creating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and even “tidal waves” or tsunamis (their scientific name).

 

As Earth turns on its axis each day, rotating once every 24 hours, all that molten, swirling metal inside our planet also rotates.  One of the laws of Physics is that a spinning ball of metal will generate electrical and magnetic “fields” of energy.  Earth’s hot spinning iron core creates its own magnetic force surrounding our planet.

This Magnetic Field extends thousands of miles into space and actually helps to protect Earth from the Sun.  The Sun’s “solar wind” flies into space at enormous speeds.  Some of it heads to Earth.  When it hits our atmosphere near the poles, it makes the air actually glow with multi-colored fields of energy.  The result is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. There is also a “Southern Lights” (Aurora Australis) over Antarctica, created in exactly the same manner.

Earth is the only place in the universe known to have life (so far).  That makes it perhaps the most amazing planet in all of the cosmos.  Our rich covering of planet life is particularly noticeable.

 

سُوۡرَةُ الرَّحمٰن
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنُ (١) عَلَّمَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانَ (٢) خَلَقَ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ (٣) عَلَّمَهُ ٱلۡبَيَانَ (٤) ٱلشَّمۡسُ وَٱلۡقَمَرُ بِحُسۡبَانٍ۬ (٥) وَٱلنَّجۡمُ وَٱلشَّجَرُ يَسۡجُدَانِ (٦) وَٱلسَّمَآءَ رَفَعَهَا وَوَضَعَ ٱلۡمِيزَانَ (٧)ِ

[055: 001-007] The Beneficent (1) Hath made known the Qur'an. (2) He hath created man. (3) He hath taught him utterance. (4) The sun and the moon are made punctual. (5) The stars and the trees adore. (6) And the sky He hath uplifted; and He hath set the measure, (7)

(خدا جو) نہایت مہربان (۱) اسی نے قرآن کی تعلیم فرمائی (۲) اسی نے انسان کو پیدا کیا (۳) اسی نے اس کو بولنا سکھایا (۴) سورج اور چاند ایک حساب مقرر سے چل رہے ہیں (۵) اور بوٹیاں اور درخت سجدہ کر رہے ہیں (۶)اور اسی نے آسمان کو بلند کیا اور ترازو قائم کی (۷)

 

 

What a huge river system the Amazon is!!  All that green is jungle, dense tropical forest housing over 50% of all life on Earth.  Notice the enormous sandy river delta (where the Amazon enters the Atlantic Ocean)

سُوۡرَةُ الرّعد
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى مَدَّ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَجَعَلَ فِيہَا رَوَٲسِىَ وَأَنۡہَـٰرً۬ا‌ۖ وَمِن كُلِّ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ جَعَلَ فِيہَا زَوۡجَيۡنِ ٱثۡنَيۡنِ‌ۖ يُغۡشِى ٱلَّيۡلَ ٱلنَّہَارَ‌ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ (٣) وَفِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ قِطَعٌ۬ مُّتَجَـٰوِرَٲتٌ۬ وَجَنَّـٰتٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَعۡنَـٰبٍ۬ وَزَرۡعٌ۬ وَنَخِيلٌ۬ صِنۡوَانٌ۬ وَغَيۡرُ صِنۡوَانٍ۬ يُسۡقَىٰ بِمَآءٍ۬ وَٲحِدٍ۬ وَنُفَضِّلُ بَعۡضَہَا عَلَىٰ بَعۡضٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأُڪُلِ‌ۚ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَعۡقِلُونَ (٤) ِ

[013:003-004] And it is He who spread out the earth, and set thereon mountains standing firm and (flowing) rivers: and fruit of every kind He made in pairs, two and two: He draweth the night as a veil o'er the Day. Behold, verily in these things there are signs for those who consider!
And in the Earth are neighbouring tracts, vineyards and ploughed lands, and date-palms, like and unlike, which are watered with one water. And we have made some of them to excel others in fruit. Lo! herein verily are portents for people who have sense. (4)

اور وہ وہی ہے جس نے زمین کو پھیلایا اور اس میں پہاڑ اور دریا پیدا کئے اور ہر طرح کے میوؤں کی دو دو قسمیں بنائیں۔ وہی رات کو دن کا لباس پہناتا ہے۔ غور کرنے والوں کے لیے اس میں بہت سی نشانیاں ہیں (۳) اور زمین میں کئی طرح کے قطعات ہیں۔ ایک دوسرے سے ملے ہوئے اور انگور کے باغ اور کھیتی اور کھجور کے درخت۔ بعض کی بہت سی شاخیں ہوتی ہیں اور بعض کی اتنی نہیں ہوتیں (باوجود یہ کہ) پانی سب کو ایک ہی ملتا ہے۔ اور ہم بعض میوؤں کو بعض پر لذت میں فضیلت دیتے ہیں۔ اس میں سمجھنے والوں کے لیے بہت سی نشانیاں ہیں (۴)

 

To the left (west) of the Amazon is one of the most massive and geologically active mountain ranges on Earth, the Andes.  Notice that the Amazon River actually begins in the Andes and drains east across most of the flat lands of central South America. 

 

Earth also has a frozen covering of ice at its Poles.  What a scene (image has filtered out the clouds).  The beauty of the sun glinting off the ice is stunning, isn’t it?  That ice is over 2 miles thick. 

 

 

سُوۡرَةُ البَقَرَة
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ فِرَٲشً۬ا وَٱلسَّمَآءَ بِنَآءً۬ وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً۬ فَأَخۡرَجَ بِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٲتِ رِزۡقً۬ا لَّكُمۡ‌ۖ فَلَا تَجۡعَلُواْ لِلَّهِ أَندَادً۬ا وَأَنتُمۡ تَعۡلَمُونَ (٢٢)

Al-Baqara 2:22
Who hath appointed the earth a resting-place for you, and the sky a canopy; and causeth water to pour down from the sky, thereby producing fruits as food for you. And do not set up rivals to Allah when ye know (better). (22)

جس نے تمھارے لیے زمین کو بچھونا اور آسمان کو چھت بنایا اور آسمان سے مینہ برسا کر تمہارے کھانے کے لیے انواع و اقسام کے میوے پیدا کئے۔ پس کسی کو خدا کا ہمسر نہ بناؤ۔ اور تم جانتے تو ہو (۲۲)

 

 

Thousands of years ago, Earth was much colder and 1/3 of the planet was covered in ice.  As it melted, the depths of the oceans increased to today’s level.  If the remaining ice on Earth ever melts completely from global warming, our oceans will rise over 90 meters (350 ft), drowning most of the coastlines and major cities of Earth.  We will have to abandon them.  As you watch Earth from orbit, therefore, realize your world is a dynamic but fragile planet.  Unfortunately, Global Warming has begun on Earth from all the Carbon Dioxide we have released into our air.  If we do not stop its buildup, those ice caps could melt.

Earth’s statistics:  It is 12,756 km (7,923 miles) in diameter.  It spins once in approximately 24 hours, and its orbital revolution around the Sun takes about 365 days (1 year).  We have one moon.

 

 

سُوۡرَةُ حٰمٓ السجدة / فُصّلَت
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

سَنُرِيهِمۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَا فِى ٱلۡأَفَاقِ وَفِىٓ أَنفُسِہِمۡ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمۡ أَنَّهُ ٱلۡحَقُّ‌ۗ أَوَلَمۡ يَكۡفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ شَہِيدٌ (٥٣) ِ

Fussilat 41:53
 We shall show them Our portents on the horizons and within themselves until it will be manifest unto them that it is the Truth. Doth not thy Lord suffice, since He is Witness over all things? (53)

 

ہم عنقریب ان کو اطراف (عالم) میں بھی اور خود ان کی ذات میں بھی اپنی نشانیاں دکھائیں گے یہاں تک کہ ان پر ظاہر ہوجائے گا کہ (قرآن) حق ہے۔ کیا تم کو یہ کافی نہیں کہ تمہارا پروردگار ہر چیز سے خبردار ہے

 

 

International Space Station (ISS)

سُوۡرَةُ یُوسُف
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

وَڪَأَيِّن مِّنۡ ءَايَةٍ۬ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَمُرُّونَ عَلَيۡہَا وَهُمۡ عَنۡہَا مُعۡرِضُونَ (١٠٥) وَمَا يُؤۡمِنُ أَڪۡثَرُهُم بِٱللَّهِ إِلَّا وَهُم مُّشۡرِكُونَ (١٠٦)

Yusuf 12:105-106
How many a portent is there in the heavens and the earth which they pass by with face averted! (105) And most of them believe not in Allah except that they attribute partners (unto Him). (106)

اور آسمان و زمین میں بہت سی نشانیاں ہیں جن پر یہ گزرتے ہیں اور ان سے اعراض کرتے ہیں (۱۰۵) اور یہ اکثر خدا پر ایمان نہیں رکھتے۔ مگر (اس کے ساتھ) شرک کرتے ہیں (۱۰۶)

The International Space Station is the most expensive object ever built by the human race.  It has now cost the U.S. and several countries in Europe and Asia over $110 billion to put up there, and it takes millions of dollars to operate per day.  A small crew of only two or three men and women from different nations work on the ISS conducting research. 

 

Hubble Space Telescope (HST). 

 

This instrument, the size of a school bus, in one of our best telescopes.  It has opened up a new world of deep space to Astronomers.  Due to its position far above the smog, dust and thickness of Earth’s atmosphere, the large mirror of the HST is able to detect dim light from further into space than any other telescope ever built.  Consequently, its space pictures are astounding.    

After the Big Bang the universe started to expand to its present form.

 

 

 

 

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنبیَاء
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

 

أَوَلَمۡ يَرَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَنَّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ ڪَانَتَا رَتۡقً۬ا فَفَتَقۡنَـٰهُمَا‌ۖ وَجَعَلۡنَا مِنَ ٱلۡمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ حَىٍّ‌ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ (٣٠)

 

Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe? (30)

 

کیا کافروں نے نہیں دیکھا کہ آسمان اور زمین دونوں ملے ہوئے تھے تو ہم نے جدا جدا کردیا۔ اور تمام جاندار چیزیں ہم نے پانی سے بنائیں۔ پھر یہ لوگ ایمان کیوں نہیں لاتے؟ (۳۰)

 

Since special relativity states that matter cannot exceed the speed of light, in a fixed space-time, it may seem paradoxical that two galaxies can be separated by 93 billion light years in 13 billion years; however, this separation is a natural consequence of general relativity. Stated simply, space can expand with no intrinsic limit on its rate; thus, two galaxies can separate more quickly than the speed of light if the space between them grows.

Experimental measurements such as the redshifts and spatial distribution of distant galaxies, the cosmic microwave background radiation, and the relative percentages of the lighter chemical elements, support this theoretical expansion and, more generally, the Big Bang theory, which proposes that space itself, was created ex nihilo at a specific time in the past. Recent observations have shown that this expansion is accelerating, and that most of the matter & anti matter, energy and dark energy in the universe is fundamentally different from that observed on Earth and not directly observable. The imprecision of current observations has hindered predictions of the ultimate fate of the universe.

سُوۡرَةُ الرَّحمٰن
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

كُلُّ مَنۡ عَلَيۡہَا فَانٍ۬ (٢٦) وَيَبۡقَىٰ وَجۡهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو ٱلۡجَلَـٰلِ وَٱلۡإِكۡرَامِ (٢٧) ِ

Ar-Rahman 55:26-27
Everyone that is thereon will pass away; (26) There remaineth but the Countenance of thy Lord of Might and Glory. (27)

جو (مخلوق) زمین پر ہے سب کو فنا ہونا ہے )۲۶) اور تمہارے پروردگار ہی کی ذات (بابرکات) جو صاحب جلال وعظمت ہے باقی رہے گی (۲۷)

 

Read the Article: End of Times

 

Moon

 

سُوۡرَةُ إبراهیم
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ ٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ دَآٮِٕبَيۡنِ‌ۖ وَسَخَّرَ لَكُمُ ٱلَّيۡلَ وَٱلنَّہَارَ (٣٣) ِ

 

Ibrahim 14:33
And maketh the sun and the moon, constant in their courses, to be of service unto you, and hath made of service unto you the night and the day. (33)

اور سورج اور چاند کو تمہارے لیے کام میں لگا دیا کہ دونوں (دن رات) ایک دستور پر چل رہے ہیں۔ اور رات اور دن کو بھی تمہاری خاطر کام میں لگا دیا (۳۳)

 

سُوۡرَةُ یُونس
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

هُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ ٱلشَّمۡسَ ضِيَآءً۬ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ نُورً۬ا وَقَدَّرَهُ ۥ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعۡلَمُواْ عَدَدَ ٱلسِّنِينَ وَٱلۡحِسَابَ‌ۚ مَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ ذَٲلِكَ إِلَّا بِٱلۡحَقِّ‌ۚ يُفَصِّلُ ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لِقَوۡمٍ۬ يَعۡلَمُونَ (٥)

ِ إِنَّ فِى ٱخۡتِلَـٰفِ ٱلَّيۡلِ وَٱلنَّہَارِ وَمَا خَلَقَ ٱللَّهُ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ لَأَيَـٰتٍ۬ لِّقَوۡمٍ۬ يَتَّقُونَ (٦)

[010:005-006] It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty), and measured out stages for her; that ye might know the number of years and the count (of time). Nowise did God create this but in truth and righteousness. (Thus) doth He explain His Signs in detail, for those who understand.
Lo! in the difference of day and night and all that Allah hath created in the heavens and the earth are portents, verily, for folk who ward off (evil). (6)

وہی تو ہے جس نے سورج کو روشن اور چاند کو منور بنایا اور چاند کی منزلیں مقرر کیں تاکہ تم برسوں کا شمار اور (کاموں کا) حساب معلوم کرو۔ یہ (سب کچھ) خدا نے تدبیر سے پیدا کیا ہے۔ سمجھنے والوں کے لیے وہ اپنی آیاتیں کھول کھول کر بیان فرماتا ہے (۵) رات اور دن کے (ایک دوسرے کے پیچھے) آنے جانے میں اور جو چیزیں خدا نے آسمان اور زمین میں پیدا کی ہیں (سب میں) ڈرنے والوں کے لیے نشانیاں ہیں (۶)

 

سُوۡرَةُ الفُرقان
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

تَبَارَكَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ بُرُوجً۬ا وَجَعَلَ فِيہَا سِرَٲجً۬ا وَقَمَرً۬ا مُّنِيرً۬ا (٦١)

وَهُوَ ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ ٱلَّيۡلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ خِلۡفَةً۬ لِّمَنۡ أَرَادَ أَن يَذَّڪَّرَ أَوۡ أَرَادَ شُڪُورً۬ا (٦٢) ِ

[025:061-062]  Blessed is He Who made constellations in the skies, and placed therein a Lamp and a Moon giving light;

And He it is Who hath appointed night and day in succession, for him who desireth to remember, or desireth thankfulness. (62)

اور (خدا) بڑی برکت والا ہے جس نے آسمانوں میں برج بنائے اور ان میں (آفتاب کا نہایت روشن) چراغ اور چمکتا ہوا چاند بھی بنایا (۶۱) اور وہی تو ہے جس نے رات اور دن کو ایک دوسرے کے پیچھے آنے جانے والا بنایا۔ (یہ باتیں) اس شخص کے لئے جو غور کرنا چاہے یا شکرگزاری کا ارادہ کرے (سوچنے اور سمجھنے کی ہیں) (۶۲)

 

سُوۡرَةُ نُوح
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَجَعَلَ ٱلۡقَمَرَ فِيہِنَّ نُورً۬ا وَجَعَلَ ٱلشَّمۡسَ سِرَاجً۬ا (١٦) ِ

[071:016]  "'And made the moon a light in their midst, and made the sun as a (Glorious) Lamp?

اور چاند کو ان میں (زمین کا) نور بنایا ہے اور سورج کو چراغ ٹھہرایا ہے (۱۶)

 

 

 

The official Latin name of the Moon is “Luna”.  Nowadays, we add an “r” to it and use the word, “lunar” to refer to the Moon. 

 

you are looking at the full lit face of the moon.  Notice all the impact craters.  They are holes in the rock surface caused by Asteroids smashing into the Moon’s surface over its long history.  An asteroid is a big rock, left over from the formation of the Solar System.  Asteroids orbit the Sun by the billions, just as planets do.  You can even see the “splatter” of rock and dirt from the impacts as it was tossed out of the craters over the surface.  Those light-colored splatter trails of rock are called “Rays.

 

Earth used to look a bit like the Moon long ago, with thousands of craters.  In fact, for every asteroid impact on the moon, Earth got hit by 20 times that number.  Over time, however, our wind blown sand, rainfall, volcanic eruptions and erosion of dirt filled in all the holes.  Today, we have only a few impact craters visible on Earth’s surface, representing recent impacts.  On the Moon, however, there is no rain, mud or wind-blown dust to fill things in, so those craters are still there, some billions of years old.   You’ve seen this already on Mercury.  In fact, Mercury and the Moon look very similar.

There have been at least five major theories to explain the origin of the Moon.  How did such a large object (1/4 the size of Earth) come to be positioned in orbit around Earth?  The theory that appears to fit the evidence best is the Collision Theory, which proposes that about 4.4 billion years ago, not long after the Solar System formed, another young planet the size of Mars actually collided with the young Earth.  Both planets broke into pieces. The rubble was so hot from the collision that it melted and was thrown up in space as trillions of tons of hot molten blobs.   The debris formed a huge orbiting ring around what was left of Earth, similar to the ring around Saturn. Quickly the debris ring cooled and came back together under the force of gravity into a spherical shape to form the Moon.  The Earth too recovered from the impact and reformed itself into a sphere by gravity, its surface cooling to form a new solid crust.  Imagine what a collision it was! 

After that impact, the Moon formed very close to Earth.  In fact, it was only about 12,000 miles away shortly after its formation.  Because of its nearness to Earth, it looked ENORMOUS in the sky, and the gravity from it was incredible.  Twice a day, it would have pulled our young oceans into gigantic high tides estimated at over 1,000 ft high (300 meters) (compared to only 6 ft tides today). 

 

Over time, the Moon has been slowly drifting away from Earth (by a few cm each year).  Today, it is over 225,000 miles (365,000 km) away and its tidal gravity is much weaker.  Our tides are only 6 feet high now, on average.

This collision created a hot molten interior inside the Moon not unlike that of Earth.  As a result, there was extensive volcanic action that continued for 3 billion more years, ending within the last 1 billion years.  Today, no volcanoes erupt and the interior of the Moon has cooled enough for all of its rock to be solid.  However, the past eruptions did leave their marks.

 

Direct your attention to the almost black areas.  As volcanoes erupted on the Moon, the lava spread out into vast molten lakes due to the moon’s lower gravity. As it cooled, it hardened into rock and turned dark.   We call these frozen lava lakes “Mare,” which is Latin for “sea.”  To early Astronomers using primitive telescopes, they looked like dark oceans.  We now know they are not frozen water, but the name has stuck.  In fact, the Apollo spacecraft that landed on the Moon chose these old solid volcanic lava flows to land on because they looked sturdy and reasonably empty of craters.

سُوۡرَةُ الانشقاق
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

وَٱلۡقَمَرِ إِذَا ٱتَّسَقَ (١٨) لَتَرۡكَبُنَّ طَبَقًا عَن طَبَقٍ۬ (١٩) فَمَا لَهُمۡ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ (٢٠)

Al-Inshiqaq 84:18-20
And [I swear by] the moon when it is full, you will mount up stage by stage! What is the matter with them, that they have no faith?

اور چاند کی (قسم) جب کامل ہو جائے (۱۸) کہ تم درجہ بدرجہ چڑھو گے (۱۹) تو ان لوگوں کو کیا ہوا ہے کہ ایمان نہیں لاتے(۲۰)

 

The first human beings to land on another world, landed on the Moon in July 20, 1969.  The American Apollo 11 mission touched down on one of the dark Mare areas called “Mare Tranquillitatis”, or “Sea of Tranquility”.  Shortly thereafter, Apollo 12 astronauts landed on Mare Insularum. 

 

Inside Apollo 11 were three crewmen.  The ship’s commander was Neil Armstrong.  Command Module Pilot was Michael Collins.  Lunar Module pilot was Buzz Aldrin. 

Apollo 11 consisted of three separate parts.  The big gray cylinder with the big engine was called the Service Module, and contained most of the equipment, tanks, fuel, engine, etc.  The 3-man crew rode to and from the Moon in the gold “Command Module”, which was named, “Columbia”.  It’s the one with the windows.  To get down to the Moon and back, two of the crew rode inside the Lunar Module or LM.  Its nickname was “Eagle”. 

On July 20, 1969, the Lunar ModuleEagle” detached from the Command Module and carried Commander Neal Armstrong and Pilot Buzz Aldrin down to the surface of another world for the first time in history (Collins stayed in orbit).  About 2 ½ hours after separation, the Eagle landed on a flat area of hard rock on the “Sea of Tranquility”, or “Mare Tranquillitatis” in Latin

 

As Commander Armstrong stepped off that bottom stair onto the surface of the moon, he said, “That is one small step for man … one giant leap for mankind”.

At 17:52:17, the Ascent stage will take off with the two Astronauts inside, leaving the Descent stage on the Moon forever. 

 

Back up in orbit, the crew jettisoned the Ascent stage (no longer needed), which fell to the moon and crashed onto it.  They then fired their big engine and returned to Earth in the Command/Service Module.

Five more Apollo crews landed on the moon over the next several years, doing research, riding in a moon “buggy” car and bringing back moon rocks for study.  But what about future visits to the Moon?  There are plans someday to establish a “base” on the Moon. 

Indeed, the astronauts' spacecraft pass through each layer of the atmosphere one by one, and then begin to pass through the Moon's gravitational field. Thus, the Moon is reached by moving through individual layers. In addition, the swearing by the Moon in Surat al-Inshiqaq 18 further strengthens this emphasis, meaning that the verse may well be a sign that humanity will travel to the Moon. (Allah knows best.)

The Apollo 11 mission was the first manned mission to land on the Moon. It was the fifth human spaceflight of Project Apollo and the third human voyage to the Moon. Launched on July 16, 1969, it carried Commander Neil Alden Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin Eugene 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr. On July 20, Armstrong and Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon, while Collins orbited above.

Shortly after landing, before preparations began for the EVA, Aldrin broadcast that:
This is the LM pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.

He then took Communion privately. At this time NASA was still fighting a lawsuit brought by atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair (who had objected to the Apollo 8 crew reading from the Book of Genesis) which demanded that their astronauts refrain from religious activities while in space. As such, Aldrin chose to refrain from directly mentioning this. He had kept the plan quiet (not even mentioning it to his wife) and did not reveal it publicly for several years. (NOTE: Buzz Aldrin was an elder at Webster Presbyterian Church in Webster, TX. His communion kit was prepared by the pastor of the church, the Rev. Dean Woodruff. Aldrin described communion on the moon and the involvement of his church and pastor in the October, 1970 edition of Guideposts magazine and in his book "Return to Earth." Webster Presbyterian possesses the chalice used on the moon, and commemorates the Lunar Communion each year on the Sunday closest to July 20.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11
http://clipmarks.com/clipmark/2016D4A6-2558-4452-8101-31F9E8E2548A

Aldrin had brought with him a tiny communion kit, given him by his church that had a silver chalice and wine vial about the size of the tip of his finger. During the morning he radioed, "Houston, this is Eagle. This is the LM pilot speaking. I would like to request a few moments of silence. I would like to invite each person listening in, whoever or wherever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the last few hours, and to give thanks in his own individual way."

"In the radio blackout," he wrote later, "I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, 'I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.' I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute Deke Slayton had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly..." "Eagle's metal body creaked. I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements."

There are lots of news about the fake moon landing, if it true, surly God will expose it.

 

سُوۡرَةُ المجَادلة
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

(٦) أَلَمۡ تَرَ أَنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَعۡلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۖ مَا يَڪُونُ مِن نَّجۡوَىٰ ثَلَـٰثَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ رَابِعُهُمۡ وَلَا خَمۡسَةٍ إِلَّا هُوَ سَادِسُہُمۡ وَلَآ أَدۡنَىٰ مِن ذَٲلِكَ وَلَآ أَڪۡثَرَ إِلَّا هُوَ مَعَهُمۡ أَيۡنَ مَا كَانُواْ‌ۖ ثُمَّ يُنَبِّئُهُم بِمَا عَمِلُواْ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ (٧)

Al-Mujadila 58:7
 
Hast thou not seen that Allah knoweth all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth? There is no secret conference of three but He is their fourth, nor of five but He is their sixth, nor of less than that or more but He is with them wheresoever they may be; and afterward, on the Day of Resurrection, He will inform them of what they did. Lo! Allah is Knower of all things. (7)

کیا تم کو معلوم نہیں کہ جو کچھ آسمانوں میں ہے اور جو کچھ زمین میں ہے خدا کو سب معلوم ہے۔ (کسی جگہ) تین (شخصوں) کا کانوں میں صلاح ومشورہ نہیں ہوتا مگر وہ ان میں چوتھا ہوتا ہے اور نہ کہیں پانچ کا مگر وہ ان میں چھٹا ہوتا ہے اور نہ اس سے کم یا زیادہ مگر وہ ان کے ساتھ ہوتا ہے خواہ وہ کہیں ہوں۔ پھر جو جو کام یہ کرتے رہے ہیں قیامت کے دن وہ (ایک ایک) ان کو بتائے گا۔ بےشک خدا ہر چیز سے واقف ہے (۷)

 

 

Our entire Solar System is flying through space, orbiting the center of the galaxy at the incredible speed of over 900,000 km/hr (560,000 miles/hr).  So, even while you think you are standing still on Earth, you are moving at very high speeds.  It’s a good thing we have Earth’s gravity holding onto us.  In fact, all the stars you see in the sky are orbiting the Milky Way at similar speeds, like a high-speed merry-go-round in space.

Can we fly out of our galaxy and beat the speed of 900,000 km/hr?

سُوۡرَةُ الرَّحمٰن
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

يَـٰمَعۡشَرَ ٱلۡجِنِّ وَٱلۡإِنسِ إِنِ ٱسۡتَطَعۡتُمۡ أَن تَنفُذُواْ مِنۡ أَقۡطَارِ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ فَٱنفُذُواْ‌ۚ لَا تَنفُذُونَ إِلَّا بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ (٣٣)

Ar-Rahman 55:33
 O company of jinn and men, if ye have power to penetrate (all) regions of the heavens and the earth, then penetrate (them)! Ye will never penetrate them save with (Our) sanction.

اے گروہِ جن وانس اگر تمہیں قدرت ہو کہ آسمان اور زمین کے کناروں سے نکل جاؤ تو نکل جاؤ۔ اور زور کے سوا تم نکل سکنے ہی کے نہیں (۳۳)

 

If man does establish a base, it will be enormously expensive and there will be many problems to overcome.  They include lower gravity (which causes human muscles and bones to weaken from lack of use), no atmosphere, no oxygen to breathe, no water to drink and nothing to eat.  All of those materials have to be brought from Earth, which is a very expensive undertaking.

It rotates at the same speed that it orbits Earth once.  That means the same side of the Moon is always facing Earth.  It is called Synchronous Gravitational Lock.  The view you see now is of the “back side” of the Moon, a side that has not faced the Earth for millions of years.  In fact, humans did not know what it looked like until we sent spacecraft to orbit the Moon and take its picture in the 1960’s.  There were even some people convinced that extraterrestrial aliens had set up bases on the far side of the Moon and were using them to launch scout ships to spy on Earth and even abduct people.  Fortunately, no such bases were found.

As you may know, there are times when the Sun, Earth and Moon all line up in their orbits in a straight line.  If the Earth is between the Sun and Moon, then it can block sunlight from hitting the Moon.  This is called a “Lunareclipse.  Conversely, if the Moon is between the Sun and Earth, it is the one that can block out the Sun from shining on Earth for a short period, and we have a “Solar” eclipse.

On Earth, lunar eclipses can cause the moon to turn a deep red-orange color.  It has to do with light passing through our atmosphere.   Have you ever seen a lunar eclipse personally?

 

Mars

Mars has always fascinated people on Earth.  Because it has a reddish color, it was named “Ares” by the Greeks and “Mars” by the Romans, after their gods of war (it reminded them of blood!). It took the powerful telescopes of the 19th and 20th centuries and modern spacecraft to reveal its true features. 

Mars formed at the same time as Earth.  It has many similar features. It is ½ the size of Earth so its gravity is about ½ ours.  It turns on its axis at about the same speed as Earth, so its day is also 24 hours (24.03 hrs).  It takes about 2 years to circle the Sun once (1.9 yrs).  Because Earth is covered in oceans, we have a limited dry land mass.  The land mass of Mars is almost equal to that of Earth.  On that land are mountains, flat plains, hills, canyons, etc., just like Earth.

Mars also has an atmosphere.  Its air, however, is very thin.  It is less than 1% the density of our air and is much too thin to breathe.  It also has no free oxygen.  Instead, Mars has a beige gray colored atmosphere made of mostly Carbon Dioxide gas (95%). 

Mars has occasional wispy clouds.  They only appear on in the morning and are very thin.  Mostly, they are a frozen CO2 fog with no trace of water.    Without water clouds, there is no rain or snow anywhere.  It has not rained on Mars for millions of years.  Mars is absolutely bone dry, a parched desert.

 

Not only is Mars bone dry, it is also very cold.  It is farther from the Sun than Earth, and its atmosphere is too thin to trap much heat.  Average daily temperature is a bone-chilling
-80ºF (-60o C). At night, the temperature plunges to -150°F (-100°C).
   

Because the air is too thin to block much of the Sun’s radiation, the surface of Mars is struck directly with severe amounts of very harmful solar Ultraviolet (UV), X-Ray and Gamma radiation.  If it hit your unprotected skin, you would get terrible sunburn in minutes.  If that were not bad enough, the very low air pressure would cause your body to swell very painfully, and would in fact kill you quickly.

Another problem is wind.  On Mars, there are HUGE wind and dust storms that rage around the planet for weeks at a time.  While they might not kill you, you would not want to be in one for more than a few seconds.

Long ago, it is certain that Mars had liquid water, lots of it, even small oceans and lakes.  There is extensive evidence for water on Mars.  There are old river valleys and channels and old lake and sea basins.  In early 2005, two rover spacecraft on Mars found sedimentary rock that can only be deposited by water.  Another spacecraft even photographed a frozen lake of water ice inside a crater on Mars.   

However, there is no liquid water now on the surface of Mars.  It is all gone,

(1) sunken into the soil,

(2) frozen into its polar icecaps or craters, and

(3) evaporated into space. 

Two American robot space probes (Spirit and Opportunity) landed on Mars in January 2004 in part to search for water.  Both are still operating, still conducting the search.  Both have found evidence of past water on Mars. 

To see some of that evidence, you have only to look at Gusev crater, the landing site chosen by NASA for the Mars Spirit Rover.  It is an old impact site that was hit by a giant asteroid long ago.  After forming, Gusev crater flooded, possibly with a big deep lake of water.  Over time, water ate a canyon/channel into the side of the crater and a river flowed into or out of it, carving a very clear river valley.

 

Spirit in fact, is sitting in that crater, still searching for signs of past water. 

Presently, the only water visible on Mar’s surface today is frozen in a few craters and on its ice caps.

 

 

Mars has some amazing surface features.  One of the most impressive is Olympus Mons, a giant volcano that is 24 km high (over 14 miles), which is over twice as high as Mt. Everest on Earth.

 

 

The volcano is nearly 500 km (300 miles) wide from side to side (about the size of Arizona in the U.S.).  Olympus Mons does not erupt lava now but in the distant past, it poured out a huge volume of lava.  This mountain is in fact, the largest mountain and largest volcano in the entire Solar System. 

Mars isn’t done impressing us yet.  It also features the Valles Marineris, a huge 2,400 mile long canyon far bigger, deeper and longer than Earth’s Grand Canyon.  The valley is known as a “Rift Valley”.  It was not carved by water or ice but by the movement of the crust.

 

 

Beside the MER Spirit and Opportunity rovers currently exploring the surface of Mars, there are five other spacecraft orbiting the planet, taking photos and measurements with a variety of instruments. 

 

Many countries on Earth are planning to colonize Mars someday.  There are plans to change Mars into a planet similar to Earth, with a thicker atmosphere, liquid water, rain and snow, plants, crops, animals, people and towns.  The process is called “Terraforming” and may be possible.

 

Mars has two natural moons. 

They are small football shaped rocks a few km in size called Phobos and Deimos.  Astronomers believe both of the moons are asteroids that came too close to Mars sometime in the past, and were captured by its gravity.  They orbit quite close to Mars.

That is so cool! Deimos is the smaller of the two moons, a lumpy ball 15 x 12 x 10 km in size (Phobos is 27 x 22 x 18). Deimos has incredibly weak gravity; its escape velocity is only about 20 km/hr, so you could throw a baseball right off into space, and biking without taking an unintentional EVA would be difficult.

 

Beyond Mars

The space beyond Mars is a place to excite your imagination.  It is a world of giant ringed planets that drift on a never-ending journey around the Sun, surrounded by pearly necklaces of moons.  It has space rocks the size of countries on Earth, potato shaped asteroids and huge icy comets that drag long tails of glowing gas and that sometimes crash into Earth.  Most of all, it is so very cold.  Far from the life-giving warmth of the Sun, the outer solar system is a frozen one.

What is perhaps most incredible of all is that we humans have sent several spacecraft probes through the depths of the outer Solar System and have begun to discover its secrets. 

 

The Asteroids

Try to understand how far away,  If you were traveling in the Space Shuttle, it would take you almost two years to get there.  The nearest star you see would take over 120,000 years to reach, even if you fired your engines at full throttle.

 

The temperature outside is also a bone-freezing -210° C (-350° F).  Human beings can only withstand the cold and vacuum of space for a few seconds before dying.

 

Yet here, in this hostile, lonely, freezing place, a huge population of Solar System objects exists.  They number in the billions and are very old.  They are the Asteroids, space rocks that formed from the same nebula materials that created the Earth and Sun and all of the planets. 

 

Until just recently,

A planet was defined simply as any space object big enough to be a sphere that orbits (circles) the Sun. 

An asteroid was a space rock smaller than a planet orbiting the sun. 

A moon was a space object that orbited a planet (moons can be any shape). 

However, in 2004 - 2006, space scientists found several large spherical objects beyond the orbit of Pluto that technically qualified as planets as well.  They expect to find dozens more.  There was also the problem of Pluto.  Although named a “planet” in 1930, it is very small and it orbits the Sun in an unusual orbit.

As a result, new definitions for “a planet” were proposed by Astronomers and in 2006, the definition of a planet changed.  In July 2008, it changed again. 

According to the new “official” definition,

A planet must

(1) Orbit the Sun,

(2) Be shaped by gravity into a round sphere, and

(3) Its gravity must have cleared away other objects in its vicinity.

Under that new definition, Pluto was no longer a “regular” planet because it does not meet the 3rd criteria.  Instead, it was newly classified as a “dwarf” planet.  At the time, at least two other round objects in the Solar System also qualified as dwarf planets.  They were “Ceres”, a big round asteroid orbiting the Sun in the Asteroid Belt, and “Eris”, a newly discovered object bigger than Pluto, orbiting the Sun beyond Pluto in a place called the “Kuiper Belt”.

 

In June 2008, the International Astronomical Union further complicated the issue by creating yet another planet class.  Round objects at or beyond the orbit of Neptune would not only be dwarf planets but should also become be considered “Plutoiddwarf planets.  Thus, Pluto and Eris would now be considered “Plutoid” dwarf planets.  Ceres would remain just a “Dwarf Planet”.

In July 2008, a third Plutoid planet was added to the list.  Named Makemake, it is an orange, methane covered world about ¾ the size of Pluto that orbits the sun between Pluto and Eris.  Discovered in 2005, it is named after a god worshipped by the peoples of Easter Island in the Pacific.

The space rocks come in all sizes.  They are made mostly of solid rock, with a coating of dust.  Some are dark in color, others much lighter.  Most have craters from other impacts.  Because they are still close enough to the sun’s heat to evaporate water, and because their gravity is usually too low to hold onto much liquid or gas, most asteroids have little frozen ice on their surfaces.  However, some of the bigger asteroids with significant gravity do have ice in quantity. 

Asteroids exist in the Asteroid Belt, a large region of space between Mars and Jupiter.

 

In Asteroid Belt Millions of space rocks large and small orbit our Sun here.  Some are hundreds of miles in diameter.  Some are the size of large cities or big mountains.  Most, however, are small, ranging from the size of buildings and cars to soccer balls and marbles.

In the history of Earth, many asteroids (any of numerous small celestial bodies composed of rock and metal that move around the sun, mainly between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter) have actually collided with our planet earth.  In fact, it is common.  Every day, over 100 small space rocks the size of grapefruits or basketballs are captured by Earth’s gravity. If they are so captured, we call them meteoroids (any of the small solid extraterrestrial bodies that hits the earth's atmosphere). 

NASA, ESA and Other Space Agencies from many countries are now watching the skies to make sure that we are not taken by surprise if another large asteroid heads our way.  The project is called the NEO Near Earth Objects Program. 

Most of meteoroids burn up and melt from friction as they enter and pass through Earth’s protective atmosphere.  If they actually enter Earth’s atmosphere, we call them shooting stars or meteors

What Quran says about the safe sky…?

Quran: 21: 32-33

 

 

سُوۡرَةُ الاٴنبیَاء
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
وَجَعَلۡنَا ٱلسَّمَآءَ سَقۡفً۬ا مَّحۡفُوظً۬ا‌ۖ وَهُمۡ عَنۡ ءَايَـٰتِہَا مُعۡرِضُونَ (٣٢)

 Al-Anbiya 21:32-33
And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents. (32) 

اور آسمان کو محفوظ چھت بنایا۔ اس پر بھی وہ ہماری نشانیوں سے منہ پھیر رہے ہیں (۳۲)

 

They formed here at the birth of our Solar System 4.6 billion years ago.  Over time, they might have come together by gravity to form another planet except … scientists believe that the presence of Jupiter’s gravity prevented a planet from forming.

The Belt is quite thin.

 

Let’s examine one of the Solar System’s larger asteroids

 

A funny-shaped asteroid named Gaspra is a large beige colored space rock about 9 km (5½ miles) wide. 

Gaspra is a common asteroid.  The Asteroid Belt is full of similar rocks, all moving at high speeds through the vast emptiness of space.  However, it is not the biggest asteroid.  Until recently, the biggest “asteroid” was named “Ceres”.  At 900 km (580 miles) in diameter, it is spherical and orbits the sun here in the Asteroid Belt.  Under the new “Dwarf Planet” definition, however, Ceres is now a Dwarf Planet”.  The largest asteroid now is Vesta (560 km).  Recently, even bigger objects have been discovered far beyond the orbit of Pluto.  They also meet the new definition of dwarf planets. 

 

 

 Ceres may now be a “Dwarf Planet”, but it is essentially a big rock, pockmarked with thousands of holes called “Craters”.  As you saw in Activity 3, these craters are caused by other asteroids and space rocks slamming into Ceres at high speed over billions of years and leaving dents in the surface.

Ceres is moving fast as its orbits the Sun.  It is traveling over 11 miles/sec (18 km/s). 

Occasionally, big asteroids collide with each other in space.  When that happens, they can break into smaller pieces, or they can be knocked off their former course and head in a new direction.  Both possibilities occur in space.

Once in a great while, an asteroid finds itself knocked into a new orbital path headed toward the Sun and planets of the inner Solar System, including Earth.

In the history of Earth, many asteroids have actually collided with our world.  In fact, it is common.  Every day, over 100 small space rocks the size of grapefruits or basketballs are captured by Earth’s gravity. If they are so captured, we call them meteoroids. 

Most burn up and melt from friction as they enter and pass through Earth’s protective atmosphere.  If they actually enter Earth’s atmosphere, we call them shooting stars or meteors. 

Let’s visit another asteroid.  It is an unusual one called Ida.

 

What a strange potato-shaped space rock Ida is.  It is actually very big.  It is 58 km long (about 36 miles) and 24 km (15 miles) wide.  If it ever collided with Earth, it would extinguish all life on the planet. 

Ida is an asteroid that has its own small moon orbiting it.  In fact, over 60 asteroids having small moons have been located by Earth-based telescopes. 

 

Al-Anbiya 21:32-33
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents. (32)

سورة الاٴنبیَاء
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

اور آسمان کو محفوظ چھت بنایا۔ اس پر بھی وہ ہماری نشانیوں سے منہ پھیر رہے ہیں (۳۲)

5-10 bigger asteroid rocks, however, don’t completely melt and are able to reach the ground every day.  If they do hit the ground, we call them meteorites.  When they hit, they can leave holes or craters in the ground.  Most meteorites go unnoticed, but one or two each year crash inside populated areas.  They even hit houses and cars.  No human has ever been killed by one that we know of, but several years ago, a dog was hit and killed by a meteorite, and a woman had one crash through her house roof and land in her lap (it bruised her legs badly, but she survived OK).  In 1983, a piece of an asteroid slammed into the trunk of a car parked in a girl’s driveway in New Jersey, and in 2003, a meteorite crashed through the roof of a home in Texas and came to rest in the downstairs family room.

Every few million years, a “BIG” asteroid the size of a mountain falls to Earth like a giant cannon ball.  When it hits, the damage can be horrible.  The last such impact occurred about 100 years ago.  In 1908, an asteroid or comet impacted an isolated area of Siberia (part of Russia).  No one was living there at the time, but the impact destroyed thousands of square miles of forest, and killed thousands of animals and birds.

Al-Qamar 54:1-2
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

The hour drew nigh and the moon was rent in twain. (1) And if they behold a portent they turn away and say: Prolonged illusion. (2)

سورة القَمَر
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

 

قیامت قریب آ پہنچی اور چاند شق ہوگیا (۱) اور اگر (کافر) کوئی نشانی دیکھتے ہیں تو منہ پھیر لیتے ہیں اور کہتے ہیں کہ یہ ایک ہمیشہ کا جادو ہے (۲)

 

Saba 34:9
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Have they not observed what is before them and what is behind them of the sky and the earth? If We will, We can make the earth swallow them, or cause obliteration from the sky to fall on them. Lo! herein surely is a portent for every slave who turneth (to Allah) repentant. (9)

سورة سَبَإ
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

کیا انہوں نے اس کو نہیں دیکھا جو ان کے آگے اور پیچھے ہے یعنی آسمان اور زمین۔ اگر ہم چاہیں تو ان کو زمین میں دھنسا دیں یا ان پر آسمان کے ٹکڑے گرا دیں۔ اس میں ہر بندے کے لئے جو رجوع کرنے

والا ہے ایک نشانی ہے (۹)

 

Al-Naml 27:88
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

And thou seest the hills thou deemest solid flying with the flight of clouds: the doing of Allah Who perfecteth all things. Lo! He is Informed of what ye do. (88)

سورة النَّمل
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

اور تم پہاڑوں کو دیکھتے ہو تو خیال کرتے ہو کہ (اپنی جگہ پر) کھڑے ہیں مگر وہ (اس روز) اس طرح اُڑے پھریں گے جیسے بادل۔ (یہ) خدا کی کاریگری ہے جس نے ہر چیز کو مضبوط بنایا۔ بےشک وہ تمہارے سب افعال سے باخبر ہے (۸۸)

 

Ash-Shura 42:5
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Almost might the heavens above be rent asunder

 

سورة الشّوریٰ
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

قریب ہے کہ آسمان اوپر سے پھٹ پڑیں

 

65 million years ago, an unnamed asteroid about the size of Gaspra (10 km) hit Earth in the Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula.  It left a giant hole (crater) in the ground over 200 km (125 mi) wide and 12 km (8 miles) deep.  At that time, there were no people.  It was the age of the dinosaurs and giant reptiles ruled the land and the seas.  The impact was so terrible that life on Earth changed forever. 

First, a giant tidal wave (a tsunami), was thrown up to a height of 300 meters (1000 ft), and raced in all directions for thousands of miles, drowning everything in its path. That was nothing, however, compared to what happened next.  The blast was so powerful that the crust of the Earth cracked and lava poured out underwater.  Enormous amounts of melted rock, dust, steam and gases were thrown high into the air and spread by winds.  These hot fragments fell back to Earth on forested areas and set them on fire.  Within weeks, the skies over Earth darkened from ash, dust and smoke, and temperatures plunged as sunlight was blocked out.  The rain became acidic from all the air pollution and the ozone layer that protects our planet from excessive UV radiation from the Sun was badly damaged, allowing harmful UV to reach the ground. 

Within a few months, plant and animal life began to die from the darkness, cold, acid rain, radiation and lack of food.  The dinosaurs never recovered and they all died out.  It was the end of an era.  In fact, it is estimated that over 70% of all life on Earth (plant and animal) was snuffed out by this collision.  It was a true extinction level event (ELE).  Our official name for it is the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction. 

Al-Anbiya 21: 11-12
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

How many a community that dealt unjustly have We shattered, and raised up after them another folk! (11) And, when they felt Our might, behold them fleeing from it! (12)

 

سورة الاٴنبیَاء
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

 

اور ہم نے بہت سی بستیوں کو جو ستمگار تھیں ہلاک کر مارا اور ان کے بعد اور لوگ پیدا کردیئے (۱۱) جب انہوں نے ہمارے (مقدمہ) عذاب کو دیکھا تو لگے اس سے بھاگنے (۱۲)

Occasionally, big asteroids collide with each other in space.  When that happens, they can break into smaller pieces, or they can be knocked off their former course and head in a new direction.  Both possibilities occur in space. Once in a great while, an asteroid finds itself knocked into a new orbital path headed toward the Sun and planets of the inner Solar System, including Earth.

Watch a video clip of an asteroid collision impact on earth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poOE5woDpIE

 

Al-Baqara 2: 24
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Guard yourselves against the Fire prepared for disbelievers, whose fuel is of men and stones. (24)

سورة البَقَرَة
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

اس آگ سے ڈرو جس کا ایندھن آدمی اور پتھر ہوں گے (اور جو) کافروں کے لیے تیار کی گئی ہے (۲۴)

 

At-Tahrim 66:6
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is men and stones

سورة التّحْریم
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

مومنو! اپنے آپ کو اور اپنے اہل عیال کو آتش (جہنم) سے بچاؤ جس کا ایندھن آدمی اور پتھر

 

 

Hud 11:82
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

So when Our commandment came to pass We overthrew (that township) and rained upon it stones of clay, one after another, (82)

سورة هُود
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

تو جب ہمارا حکم آیا ہم نے اس (بستی) کو (اُلٹ کر) نیچے اوپر کردیا اور ان پر پتھر کی تہہ بہ تہہ (یعنی پےدرپے) کنکریاں برسائیں (۸۲)

 

What is fascinating to realize is that who can stop this extinction level event ELE in future? 

In February, 2000, a special camera aboard the Space Shuttle photographed what is left of that giant crater (called the Chicxulub crater (what a name!).  It is filled in now with millions of years of mud and sediment but is still just visible (we’ve placed a faint circle on figure  to show you where it is).

 

 Earth has experienced at least 6 major extinctions throughout the record of life on the planet.  How many of them were caused by other meteorite impacts is unknown.  However, it is clear that asteroid collisions with Earth occur on a regular basis, and another large one will head toward a collision course with Earth again someday.  It could be millions of years from now, or it could be next month.

Al-Anbiya 21:40
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Nay, but it will come upon them unawares so that it will stupefy them, and they will be unable to repel it, neither will they be reprieved. (40)

 

سورة الاٴنبیَاء
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

 

بلکہ قیامت ان پر ناگہاں آ واقع ہوگی۔ اور ان کے ہوش کھو دے گی۔ پھر نہ تو وہ اس کو ہٹا سکیں گے اور نہ ان کو مہلت دی جائے گی (۴۰)

This Article describes how the dooms day is going to occur End of Times!
Dooms Day…is on its way!
... 

 

Ash-Shura 42:17
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Allah it is Who hath revealed the Scripture with truth, and the Balance. How canst thou know? It may be that the Hour is nigh. (17)

سورة الشّوریٰ
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

خدا ہی تو ہے جس نے سچائی کے ساتھ کتاب نازل فرمائی اور (عدل وانصاف کی) ترازو۔ اور تم کو کیا معلوم شاید قیامت قریب ہی آ پہنچی ہو (۱۷)

           

NASA, ESA and space agencies from other nations are now watching the skies to make sure we are not taken by surprise if another large asteroid heads our way.  The project is called the Near Earth Objects Program. 

NEO has found that at least 2,500 asteroids exist in an orbit that could conceivably bring them into a collision course with Earth.  Unfortunately, only 20% of them have been properly identified to date.  Hopefully, we will find the other 80% before it is too late.

 

The Near Earth Objects program has discovered several asteroids that have passed by Earth recently (fortunately without hitting us).  One of them almost smacked into Earth in March 2004, missing us by only 3 Earth diameters (about 25,000 miles). 

In 2029 (hopefully, we’ll all still be alive and well) another asteroid is going to pass even closer to Earth.  In fact, its close encounter may swing it on a new trajectory around the sun that will give it a small chance of hitting Earth when we again meet up with it in 2036.  It is about 280 meters or 1/6 mile wide, and is moving very fast.  Its name is Apophis (also known as 2004 MN4).

Using binoculars on Earth, you should be able to see it pass by for real in 2029.  If we are very unlucky, it will hit Earth in 2036, and everyone will know what that will be like!!!  If it did, it most likely would smack into the ocean, creating a huge tidal wave (tsunami).  Sweeping out from the impact site, it could drown thousands of miles of coastline.

Humans are not helpless when it comes to asteroids.  It is possible that if one on a collision course with Earth was found soon enough, we could launch spacecraft that could nudge its course enough to cause it to miss an impact with Earth.  However, we have no such technical capability yet.\

 

Near-Earth Object Deflection Strategies

Strategies fall into two basic sets: destruction and delay.

Destruction concentrates on rendering the impactor harmless by fragmenting it and scattering the fragments so that they miss the Earth or burn up in the atmosphere. As will be shown, this does not always solve the problem, as sufficient amounts of material hitting the Earth at high speed can be devastating even if they are not collected together in a single body.

Delay exploits the fact that both the Earth and the impactor are in orbit. An impact occurs when both reach the same point in space at the same time, or more correctly when some point on Earth's surface intersects the impactor's orbit when the impactor arrives. Since the Earth is approximately 12,750 km in diameter and moves at approx. 30 km per second in its orbit, it travels a distance of one planetary diameter in about 425 seconds, or slightly over seven minutes. Delaying, or advancing the impactor's arrival by times of this magnitude can, depending on the exact geometry of the impact, cause it to miss the Earth. By the same token, the arrival time of the impactor must be known to this accuracy in order to forecast the impact at all, and to determine how to affect its velocity.

Nuclear weapons

One of the often proposed solutions is firing nuclear missiles at the oncoming asteroid to vaporize all or most of it. If not completely vaporized, the resulting reduction of mass from the blast combined with the radiation blast and rocket exhaust effect from ejecta could produce positive results. The largest problem with this solution is that if the asteroid breaks into fragments, any fragment larger than 35 m across would not burn up in the atmosphere and itself could impact Earth. Tracking of the thousands of fragments that could result would prove daunting.

Another proposed solution is to detonate a series of smaller nuclear devices alongside the asteroid, far enough away as not to fracture the object. Providing this was done far enough in advance, the relatively small forces from any number of nuclear blasts could be enough to alter the object's trajectory enough to avoid an impact. This is a form of nuclear pulse propulsion. In 1967, students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology designed a system using nuclear explosions to prevent a hypothetical impact on Earth by the asteroid 1566 Icarus. This design study was later published as Project Icarus (MIT Press, 1968), which served as the inspiration  for the 1979 film Meteor.

 

Kinetic Impact

An alternative means of deflecting an asteroid is to attempt to directly alter its momentum by sending a spacecraft to collide with the asteroid.

The European Space Agency is already studying preliminary design of a space mission able to demonstrate this futuristic technology. The mission, named Don Quijote, is the first real asteroid deflection mission ever designed.

In the case of 99942 Apophis it has been demonstrated by ESA's Advanced Concepts Team that deflection could be achieved by sending a simple spacecraft weighing less than one ton to impact against the asteroid. During a trade-off study one of the leading researchers argued that a strategy called 'kinetic impactor deflection' was more efficient than others.

 

Asteroid gravitational tractor

The major alternative to explosive deflection is to move the asteroid slowly over a period of time. Tiny constant thrust accumulates to deviate an object sufficiently from its predicted course. Edward T. Lu and Stanley G. Love have proposed using a large heavy unmanned spacecraft hovering over an asteroid to gravitationally pull the latter into a non-threatening orbit. The spacecraft and the asteroid mutually attract one another. If the spacecraft counters the force towards the asteroid by, e.g., an ion thruster, the net effect is that the asteroid is accelerated towards the spacecraft and thus slightly deflected from its orbit. While slow, this method has the advantage of working irrespective of the asteroid composition or spin rate  rubble pile asteroids would be difficult or impossible to deflect by means of nuclear detonations while a pushing device would be hard or inefficient to mount on a fast rotating asteroid. A gravity tractor would likely have to spend several years beside the asteroid to be effective.

 

Use of focused solar energy

 

NASA study of a solar sail. The sail would be 0.5 km wide.

H. Jay Melosh proposed to deflect an asteroid or comet by focusing solar energy onto its surface to create thrust from the resulting vaporization of material, or to amplify the Yarkovsky effect. Over a span of months or years enough solar radiation can be directed onto the object to deflect it.

 

Mass driver

A mass driver is an (automated) system on the asteroid to eject material into space thus giving the object a slow steady push and decreasing its mass. A mass driver is designed to work as a very low Specific Impulse system, which in general uses a lot of propellant, but very little power.

The idea is that when using local material as propellant, the amount of propellant is not as important as the amount of power, which is likely to be limited.

A mass driver can impart a lot more momentum to an asteroid than a rocket carried there.

 

Conventional Rocket Motor

Attaching any spacecraft propulsion device would have a similar effect of giving a steady push, possibly forcing the asteroid onto a trajectory that takes it away from Earth. An in-space rocket engine that is capable of imparting an impulse of 1E6 m-sec (E.g. adding 1 km/sec to a 1 ton vehicle), will have a relatively small effect on a relatively small asteroid that weighs roughly a million times more.

 

Other proposals

Wrapping the asteroid in a sheet of reflective plastic such as aluminized PET film, or dusting the object with titanium dioxide to alter its trajectory via radiation pressure

Dusting the object with soot to alter its trajectory via the Yarkovsky effect

Attaching a large enough solar sail directly to the object, thus using solar pressure to shift the object's orbit

Chapman, Durda & Gold's white paper calculates deflections using existing chemical rockets, delivered to the asteroid, then push it sideways, assuming sufficient fuel also delivered

The late Eugene Shoemaker in 1996 proposed deflecting a potential impactor by releasing a cloud of steam in the path of the object, hopefully gently slowing it. Nick Szabo in 1990 sketched a similar idea, "cometary aerobraking", the targeting of a comet or ice construct at an asteroid, then vaporizing the ice with nuclear explosives to form a temporary atmosphere in the path of the asteroid.

 

Deflection technology concerns

Carl Sagan, in his book Pale Blue Dot, expressed concerns about deflection technology: that any method capable of deflecting impactors away from Earth could also be abused to divert non-threatening bodies toward the planet. Considering the history of genocidal political leaders and the possibility of the bureaucratic obscuring of any such project's true goals to most of its scientific participants, he judged the Earth at greater risk from a man-made impact than a natural one. Sagan instead suggested that deflection technology should only be developed in an actual emergency situation.

Analysis of the uncertainty involved in nuclear deflection shows that the ability to protect the planet does not imply the ability to target the planet. A nuclear bomb which changed an asteroid's velocity by 10 meters/second (plus or minus 20%) would be adequate to push it out of an earth-impacting orbit. However, if the uncertainty of the velocity change was more than a few percent, there would be no chance of directing the asteroid to a particular target.

Find more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asteroid_deflection_strategies also http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov

 

Now Read Carefully what Allah said in Quran…

 

سُوۡرَةُ إبراهیم
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَقَدۡ مَكَرُواْ مَڪۡرَهُمۡ وَعِندَ ٱللَّهِ مَڪۡرُهُمۡ وَإِن كَانَ مَڪۡرُهُمۡ لِتَزُولَ مِنۡهُ ٱلۡجِبَالُ (٤٦) فَلَا تَحۡسَبَنَّ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِفَ وَعۡدِهِۦ رُسُلَهُ ۥۤ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ۬ ذُو ٱنتِقَامٍ۬ (٤٧) يَوۡمَ تُبَدَّلُ ٱلۡأَرۡضُ غَيۡرَ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتُ‌ۖ وَبَرَزُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلۡوَٲحِدِ ٱلۡقَهَّارِ ِ

Ibrahim 14: 46-47
 Verily they have plotted their plot, and their plot is with Allah, though their plot were such whereby the mountains should be moved. (46) So think not that Allah will fail to keep His promise to His messengers. Lo! Allah is Mighty, Able to Requite (the wrong). (47)

اور انہوں نے (بڑی بڑی) تدبیریں کیں اور ان کی (سب) تدبیریں خدا کے ہاں (لکھی ہوئی) ہیں گو وہ تدبیریں ایسی (غضب کی) تھیں کہ ان سے پہاڑ بھی ٹل جائیں (۴۶) تو ایسا خیال نہ کرنا کہ خدا نے جو اپنے پیغمبروں سے وعدہ کیا ہے اس کے خلاف کرے گا بےشک خدا زبردست (اور) بدلہ لینے والا ہے (۴۷)

 

Watch a video clip of an asteroid collision impact on earth
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poOE5woDpIE

 

Al-Anbiya 21:37-40
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Man is made of haste. I shall show you My portents, but ask Me not to hasten. (37) And they say: When will this promise (be fulfilled), if ye are truthful? (38) If those who disbelieved but knew the time when they will not be able to drive off the fire from their faces and from their backs, and they will not be helped! (39) Nay, but it will come upon them unawares so that it will stupefy them, and they will be unable to repel it, neither will they be reprieved. (40)

 

سورة الاٴنبیَاء
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

 

انسان (کچھ ایسا جلد باز ہے کہ گویا) جلد بازی ہی سے بنایا گیا ہے۔ میں تم لوگوں کو عنقریب اپنی نشانیاں دکھاؤں گا تو تم جلدی نہ کرو (۳۷) اور کہتے ہیں کہ اگر تم سچے ہو تو (جس عذاب کا) یہ وعید (ہے وہ) کب (آئے گا)؟ (۳۸) اے کاش کافر اس وقت کو جانیں جب وہ اپنے مونہوں پر سے (دوزخ کی) آگ کو روک نہ سکیں گے اور نہ اپنی پیٹھوں پر سے اور نہ ان کا کوئی مددگار ہوگا (۳۹) بلکہ قیامت ان پر ناگہاں آ واقع ہوگی۔ اور ان کے ہوش کھو دے گی۔ پھر نہ تو وہ اس کو ہٹا سکیں گے اور نہ ان کو مہلت دی جائے گی (۴۰)

 

Jupiter

Galileo’s observations helped to launch a scientific revolution of discovery in Europe.  To honor him, NASA launched a spacecraft in 1989 to orbit and to explore Jupiter, and named it “Galileo”.  It arrived in Jupiter space in 1995 and studied this amazing planet and its many moons until September, 2003, when it finally plunged into the atmosphere of Jupiter and burned up.  To see one of Galileo’s dramatic encounters in space as it orbited Jupiter in 2001, Galileo will fly past you at 1/2500th its real speed.  

 

What an amazing looking world. 

Jupiter was named over 2,000 years ago in honor of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, the supreme god of the Roman empire.  It is one of the four giant gas planets; huge balls of gas, liquid/frozen slush and rock.  It has a rocky core made of all the heavy elements of the Solar System.  Surrounding that core is thousands of miles of mostly frozen, liquid and gaseous Hydrogen (90% of Jupiter), the lightest and most common element in the universe.  Above it is the planet’s gas atmosphere, made of thousands of miles of hydrogen, helium and traces of methane, ammonia, sulfur and water. 

Jupiter has no clear solid surface surrounded by thin clouds of hydrogen, helium, methane and ammonia. It has 63 moons.

No one knew Jupiter had a ring like Saturn until the 1970’s, when it was discovered by a spacecraft named Voyager 1 as it flew past Jupiter.  It is very faint and not visible from Earth, but can be made out when you get close to the planet.

Planetary rings are made of rock debris, dust and ice particles that have been caught in the planet’s gravitational field.  Jupiter’s wispy rings appear to be dust grains captured by its gravity; going too fast to fall into the planet, but too slow to escape into space, orbiting the planet on an endless merry-go-round.  Eventually, pieces of ring will fall into the planet’s atmosphere, burning up as meteors.  Over millions of years, Jupiter’s current ring will slowly disappear.  Someday another may form.

Jupiter is our Solar System’s largest planet.  It is 11 times wider than Earth and over 320 times more massive.  Over 1,400 Earths could fit inside its volume.  Its gravity is 2.5 times greater than on Earth so a 130 lb person would weigh 325 lbs.

The Red spot is a huge rotating, hurricane type of storm that has been raging for over 300 years in that same place.  No one knows how it formed or why it keeps blowing at over 2,000 km/hr (1200 mph).  However, it is HUGE.  The entire Earth would fit inside it with room to spare. 

 

Because it is farther from the Sun, Jupiter takes 11.9 years to travel once in its revolution around the Sun.  Jupiter also spins incredibly fast.  It rotates once on its axis in only 9.9 hours.  That is an ENORMOUS speed.  Its spin has caused the planet to bulge at its midsection (equator).  Its cloud tops are whizzing around the planet … are you ready for this … at 28,200 miles/hr (45,400 km/hr)

 

Jupiter’s four major moons

For virtually all of human history, no one knew Jupiter even had moons, let alone how many it had!  In 1609, Galileo Galilee designed the world’s first refractor telescope.  One dark night, he pointed it at Jupiter and discovered that the planet had four large moons orbiting it.  Over time, Galileo confirmed the Heliocentric theory of the Solar System, that is; that the Sun is the center of our Solar System and the planets (and moons) circle the Sun and each other.  Galileo was not the first to propose that idea.  In fact, Nicolas Copernicus also made major contributions to the theory.

Today, the four moons that Galileo discovered are named the Galilean moons in his honor.

There are many strange worlds in our Solar System.  The first Galilean moon, named Io, is one of them.

 

Io is an amazing place.  What do you notice on the dark side of Io?   Although it is far from the Sun and is frigidly cold (-140° C or -220° F), it has over 300 active volcanoes.  Many of them erupt every few weeks.  In front of you now in fact, there are at least 50 volcanoes erupting lava, and one of them, a volcano named “Pele”, is actively spewing huge jets of sulfur ash.  You can see it off on the left.

 

 

 

 

 

Io is so close to Jupiter that Jupiter’s gravity tugs on it and flexes it, like you squeezing a rubber tennis ball.  The gravitational flexing forces Io’s rocks to rub against each other deep within the moon.  If you landed on it, you would feel Io groaning and creaking.  That rubbing generates frictional heat.  Internally, the heat melts some of its rock.  The result is a semi-molten interior and volcanic eruptions on the surface. 

In fact, there are four places in our Solar System where active eruptions occur.  They are Earth, Io, Enceladus, a moon of Saturn, and Triton, a moon of Neptune (more on them later).  However, what comes out of these eruptions is very different.  On Earth, molten rock, lava and water steam erupt.  On Io, eruptions contain very hot molten rock, with lots of sulfur gases but no water.  On Enceladus, the eruptions are cold liquid.  We think it may be water geysers.  On Triton, the eruptions are super-ice cold, frigid liquid nitrogen (at a temperature below -200° C).

 

Jupiter’s second Galilean moon is ever more exciting

 

 Drifting before you is dramatic Europa.  See all those cracks?  Europa appears to be covered in a vast frozen ocean of water.  We think those are BIG cracks in that ocean’s ice.  Under that ice, far below, some scientists believe there may be a liquid ocean.  That is because Europa also flexes in Jupiter’s gravity and is, therefore, warm internally … warm enough to melt ice into water.  Where there is liquid water, perhaps there is life! 

 

Jupiter’s third Galilean satellite has its own claim to fame. 

The world before you is the Solar System’s largest moon.  Ganymede is bigger than Pluto and Mercury and is almost 1½ times bigger than our moon.  It too is made of ice and rock and has craters.  Notice, however, that the craters seem to be filled in.  Also, do you notice places where the ice looks like it melted and flowed as water channels, at least for a few days?  They probably did!  Check it out!

If Ganymede had not been captured by Jupiter’s gravity a long time ago, it would still be in orbit around the Sun, not Jupiter, and would qualify as a Solar System planet. 

Callisto is an average sized moon but it is F-U-L-L of craters.  It looks like it has a bad case of acne.  It has more craters than any other moon in the Solar System.  Remember that craters are caused by impacts from asteroids.  Callisto must have been in the way of a swarm of millions of asteroids sometime long ago.  As you can see, its craters are mostly filled in, proving that its surface also has ice that melted and refroze in the craters.

 

The Voyager and Galileo spacecraft have discovered that Jupiter has 63 moons.  Many are small, and they orbit the planet in a wide range of positions.  They are all made of rocks and/or ice and are probably captured asteroids or comets that strayed too close to Jupiter during the formation of the Solar System, and became trapped by it’s gravity.  From time to time, another asteroid may be captured on its journey around the Sun by Jupiter’s powerful gravity and become yet another moon.

 

Saturn

On to Saturn!  What a view!

WOW!  What a dramatic world!  Just watch it for a minute to enjoy its beauty. 

Saturn is named after another God of Roman Mythology.  Many folks feel Saturn is the most beautiful of the planets.  It is a large planet, very bright in the night sky of Earth.  Its famous rings can be seen even in a small telescope. 

Saturn is also a big gas planet that formed like Jupiter 4.6 billion years ago.  It too is made of a rocky core surrounded by thousands of miles of mostly hydrogen, plus helium, methane, ammonia and sulfur gases.  It also has no solid surface.

Its color is different from Jupiter due to different concentrations of ammonia and methane in its outer atmosphere. 

Saturn is 9 au from the Sun and takes 29.46 years to go around the Sun once.  An Astronomical Unit (au) is the distance from the Earth to the Sun, and equals a whopping 93,000,000 miles (150,000,000 km).  Saturn is, therefore, nine times further away from the Sun than is Earth.

What is most amazing about Saturn and the other gas planets of the outer Solar System are their speeds.  They are all spinning like tops.  Saturn, for example, turns once on its axis every 10.67 hours, just slightly slower than Jupiter.

Pan: a moon of Saturn.

The United States has sent four spacecraft to Saturn so far.  In the late 1970’s, Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to ever fly past the planet.  The following two years, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 both made flybys.  Their spectacular photos documented much about Saturn and discovered its many moons.

However, the fourth American/European spacecraft is the newest and most exciting visitor to Saturn.  Its name is “Cassini”, named in honor of the man who discovered Saturn’s rings through a telescope in 1675.  On June 30, 2004, it arrived at Saturn after a seven-year voyage from Earth and went into orbit around the ringed planet.  That journey is the most amazing and complex feat of celestial mechanics man has ever achieved. 

 

Cassini has instruments to study Saturn, its rings and moons, magnetic fields and composition.  Cassini also carried a probe (called Huygens) that detached from the main spacecraft in January 2005 and parachuted down into the atmosphere of one of Saturn’s fascinating moons, Titan.

Saturn’s Moons

Saturn is a large planet and its gravity has captured many passing asteroids and comets, swinging them into orbits around Saturn as moons.  At last count, it has 62 moons.  Most consist of small, spherical or irregular shaped rocks with impact craters and ice that were captured by Saturn’s immense gravity.

 

 

Saturn’s largest moon is Titan, Some Astronomers feel Titan may be the most exciting object in the Solar System.

Titan is smaller than Ganymede but larger than both Mercury and Pluto.  At 5,150 km (3200 miles), it also is
 large enough to be a planet were it orbiting the Sun instead of Saturn. 

Titan possesses something rare for any moon; a thick atmosphere.  Its atmosphere is actually denser than Earth’s air.  That colored haze is mostly nitrogen gas, mixed with hydrocarbon gases rich in methane and ethane, the same compounds we use here on Earth for fuel.  Its atmosphere is an un-breathable, natural type of smog!  It is so thick that we cannot see Titan’s surface in visible light. 

Titan also has some other features that are frankly, really strange.  It is so cold in its orbit that some of its gas vapors have condensed into a liquid.  Ethane for example, is a liquid at Titan’s temperature.  It is, therefore, probable that there are liquid lakes of hydrocarbons on Titan, like big lakes of gasoline.  In fact, at times, nitrogen, hydrocarbon and methane snowdrifts may cover part of this crazy moon’s rocky and icy surface. 

If the atmosphere contains flammable gases, then could Titan catch fire?  The answer is “No”.  The gases are not concentrated enough and there is no oxygen, which is needed for combustion. Its surface is frozen at over -300o F, and is covered in brown hydrocarbon ices and slush.  Behind it is a liquid lake of methane. Somewhere above those dense clouds is the sun.

 

Titan’s atmosphere is so thick that you cannot ever see any stars or objects in space from the surface.  Even Saturn is not visible. 

Titan greatly excites space scientists.  Nitrogen is the same gas our atmosphere is made of.  It is also a key component of proteins, which are the building blocks of all life on Earth.  Methane is made of carbon.  So is life on Earth.  Titan also has water, although it’s frozen as ice.  Put nitrogen, water, carbon and sunlight energy together and you have four key elements for life.  Could this moon of Saturn have life forms on it?  Many people want to find out!  All that methane is a tantalizing hint.  Methane is frequently produced by living things, at least here on Earth.  Is the same true on Titan?

In 2007, one of Saturn’s bigger moons also made news.  The Cassini spacecraft discovered that the moon Enceledus was erupting a liquid geyser of … water.  It appears that its closeness to Saturn flexes Enceledus, generating enough internal heat to melt some ice and create liquid ground water inside the moon.  On Enceledus, sometimes … that water squirts out, only to freeze on the surface.

How beautiful! its cracks and few craters.  The cracks are blue because frozen ice absorbs light in such a way that the ice looks blue (glacier ice on Earth also looks blue)

We are going to visit one more moon in Saturn space Iapetus

As you can see now, there is no shortage of water in the outer solar system.  Virtually all moons have lots of it, as do the comets

An-Nahl 16:10-12
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, whence ye have drink, and whence are trees on which ye send your beasts to pasture. (10) Therewith He causeth crops to grow for you, and the olive and the date-palm and grapes and all kinds of fruit. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect. (11) And He hath constrained the night and the day and the sun and the moon to be of service unto you, and the stars are made subservient by His command. Lo! herein indeed are portents for people who have sense. (12)

سورة النّحل
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

وہی تو ہے جس نے آسمان سے پانی برسایا جسے تم پیتے ہو اور اس سے درخت بھی (شاداب ہوتے ہیں) جن میں تم اپنے چارپایوں کو چراتے ہو (۱۰) اسی پانی سے وہ تمہارے لیے کھیتی اور زیتون اور کھجور اور انگور (اور بےشمار درخت) اُگاتا ہے۔ اور ہر طرح کے پھل (پیدا کرتا ہے) غور کرنے والوں کے لیے اس میں (قدرتِ خدا کی بڑی) نشانی ہے (۱۱) اور اسی نے تمہارے لیے رات اور دن اور سورج اور چاند کو کام میں لگایا۔ اور اسی کے حکم سے ستارے بھی کام میں لگے ہوئے ہیں۔ سمجھنے والوں کے لیے اس میں (قدرت خدا کی بہت سی) نشانیاں ہیں (۱۲)

 

Uranus

7th planet from the Sun, Uranus (pronounced YOURanos)

 

Uranus is the third of the four giant gas planets.  Its name comes from the Greek for their supreme God, Uranus, the father of all Gods.  Like Jupiter and Saturn, it is 4.6 billion years old, has a small rocky core with no solid surface and is composed primarily of frigidly cold liquid hydrogen, helium, methane, ammonia and water slush that becomes gas nearer its cloud tops.  However, it has more methane in its thick atmosphere than either Jupiter or Saturn, which gives it a beautiful pale blue color (methane absorbs red light and reflects blue light).

In 1986, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft was the only spacecraft from Earth ever to fly close to Uranus.  It took spectacular pictures.  One of the reasons it took a long time to get even one spacecraft out to Uranus is its distance from the Sun.  It is almost 2 billion miles from its warmth.  It is so cold that the temperature near the cloud tops of Uranus is -220° C, or -365° F.

That distance requires a great deal of time to cover.  Uranus takes 84 years to revolve around (orbit) the Sun just once.  It is amazing that the Sun’s gravitational force is strong enough to hold onto it.  

Uranus has thick icy clouds and a dense atmosphere thousands of miles thick.  It rotates very fast, making one turn on its axis in 17.25 hours.  You can imagine what it would be like to be inside but near the top of Uranus’s frozen blue cloud atmosphere.

 

Uranus also has a small faint ring.  It formed long ago by collision of moons that were at one time, orbiting Uranus.

 

Like all planets, Uranus is tilted on an imaginary axis running from its North to its South Pole.  However, Uranus is tilted more than 90° in relation to its rotation.  That could not form at the time of the planet’s formation, because the nebula from which the Sun and all planets formed rotated in only one direction, called the “ecliptic plane”.  That rotation also gave the Sun and planets their spin.

Uranus, however, is severely tilted in relation to that plane.  Further, notice that its moons are also going around Uranus in a direction at right angles from the other moons around the other planets.  Scientists believe that the only explanation that fits these facts is a dramatic one.  A long time ago, Uranus must have had a great encounter with another planet.  The force was so strong that it knocked the planet on its side and swung its moons on a different track.  In fact, there is good evidence that Earth may also have been hit by a giant planetary collision that resulted in the formation of our moon.  If true, there were lots of planets in our Solar System at one time.

Uranus also has many moons.  It took the flyby by Voyager 2 and powerful telescope surveys from Earth to determine that Uranus has at least 27 moons (discovered so far).  Its largest moon is named, Titania.  It is about 40% the size of our Moon.

Another moon is a real strange one. The moon is Miranda.  It seems to be in pieces cemented together with ice with cracks all over it and material sticking out in different directions.  It is probable that Miranda broke into pieces long ago by collision with another moon and then came together again by gravity into a new round shape.

 

Neptune

What a beautiful planet.  It really is that blue! 

Neptune is the last of the four giant gas planets.  It formed identically to Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus, 4.6 billion years ago.  It too is made of a small rocky core surrounded by trillions of tons of liquid and gaseous hydrogen and helium, with traces of water, methane and ammonia.  Consequently, like the other gas giants, Neptune has no solid “surface”.  However, its rock/ice core is larger than is typical for the other gas giants, so in a sense, Neptune is both a solid, liquid and gas world. 

Its beautiful deep blue color is the result of extra amounts of methane gas in its atmosphere, which absorbs the red part of the light of the Sun while letting more blue come through.

Like the other gas giants, it is thickly covered in clouds.  The cloud droplets are frozen ices.  It never rains or snows on Neptune but methane, ammonia and water ice particles move around at high speed due to the fast rotation of the planet.  Neptune is in a perpetual gloomy deep-freeze.  The temperature of its outer clouds reach a bone-chilling
-230° C (-380° F).  They are so cold that if you somehow exposed your arm to them, your arm would freeze absolutely solid in a minute or two.

Neptune turns once every 16.1 hours, creating clouds at the top of the planet that zip through space at over 12,000 mph.  Deeper down, winds blow the fastest in the Solar System.  In fact, that big dark spot you see is a giant rotating hurricane just like the Great Red Spot of Jupiter.  The storm on Neptune, however, is called the “Great Dark Spot”. Unlike Jupiter’s Red Spot, which has been there for at least 300 years, the Great Dark Spot comes and goes.  It was present in 1989, but in 1992 it vanished, only to reappear in 1996 and vanish again after that.  .

As you can imagine, Neptune is so far from the Sun that it takes a VERY long time to orbit the Sun once.  Its orbital revolution period is 164.8 years.  Think about how long that is.  The last time Neptune was in the position it is today, the year was 1844 and slavery was still a practice in America.

Neptune also has a thin ghostly ring. That makes all four gas giant planets with rings.  It is probably made of dust & ice captured by Neptune’s gravity. 

Neptune has 13 moons.  All but one of them has been discovered only in the last 25 years.  Most are small, rocky and ice covered.

Imagine its constant frozen journey around this giant world, forever trapped in Neptune’s powerful gravity. This moon name is Galatea.

Neptune’s largest moon Nereid is very unusual. One of them, far away from the planet, is moving differently from the others.

Rocky moon covered in ice named Triton (not … Titan … that’s Saturn’s moon.  This one is Triton). 

We believe Triton was a planet of our Solar System orbiting the Sun in the vicinity of Neptune.  Long ago, it had a close encounter with another planet or moon and was slowed down in its orbit around the Sun, allowing Neptune to capture it by gravity as a new moon, with the final path it took around Neptune being opposite to the normal path of Neptune’s moons. 

Triton is a world of rock and ice.  It is covered in both and even has ice cliffs.  However, on Triton, scientists believe the ice is not frozen water … but frozen nitrogen.  If you look closely, you will also see dark smudges on the colored ice.  Those smudges were first discovered in 1989 when Voyager 2 flew past Triton. 

After a great deal of study, scientists finally figured out that they are geysers … jets of liquid and gas … just like the hot water geysers in Yellowstone National Park in America or in Iceland.  However, on Earth, geysers erupt hot steam and water.  On Triton, however, its geysers erupt ice cold semi-liquid nitrogen.  The fountains are like snow cones of wet slush shooting out of the ground of the moon under high pressure to heights of thousands of feet. 

If that was not weird enough, Triton’s temperature has been recorded as the coldest ever measured for a solar system body.  Its temperature near those geysers is -240° C (-400° F).  If you somehow had the bad fortune to land on Triton and walk out in a spacesuit to stand under one of them, your entire body would be freeze solid in seconds.  You would stand as a nitrogen ice covered frozen statue for possibly millions of years, frozen in time and space. 

 

The Voyager spacecrafts are both leaving our Solar System behind, never to return.  Today, they are far beyond the orbits of Neptune and Pluto traveling in different directions toward very distant stars.  Thus, they are our first ambassadors into space.  Neither spacecraft has yet officially left the Solar System because our system includes the comets, and comets orbit the Sun far beyond Pluto.  In fact, it will be over 20,000 years before Voyager 2 travels beyond the orbit of the last comet.  By then, its power supplies will have long ago died and it will be a dead, silent machine sailing forever into the void of the universe, a true emissary of man.

Voyager at its true speed of 37,000 mph, Perhaps there is nothing more amazing about our universe than this.  The Sun and our Earth are just small lonely dots to the Voyager spacecraft now.  As you watch Voyager 2 speed away, realize that it will travel for millions of years through space.  Earth and the race of human beings who built this humble craft will have greatly changed.  If humans are still around, we will have lost track of the Voyagers over the millennia, forgetting them as they journey to places far beyond our imagination. 

Because the Voyagers are headed into deep space, it is possible that someday, far, far into the future, an alien intelligent race (if they exist) could encounter one for examination.  If that occurs, they will find a message attached to the spacecraft.  It is a gold-plated copper 12” phonograph record (like a big CD).  Designed by a team of scientists led by famed Astronomer Carl Sagan, the record contains songs, sounds and voices from around the world, greetings in many languages and scientific facts.  Etched on the record is a set of coded sketches to teach an intelligent alien examining the disc who we are, where it came from, and how to play it (parts for the record player are also attached to the spacecraft).  Exactly how do you communicate with an alien intelligence that does not speak any Earth languages and has never seen a record or player (it may not even have eyes!)? 

Consider that if an alien society ever finds Voyager, millions of years will have passed on Earth and the species who designed that disc will certainly no longer be around.  We either will have evolved into a new type of human, or will have killed our species off with our wars and bombs.  

 

Pluto and its Moons

We have arrived at a far outpost of our Solar System.  Like a lonely sentinel guarding our system’s planetary members, Pluto is indeed isolated.  Named after the Roman God of the underworld (Hades in Greek mythology), Pluto was discovered by accident by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 while searching for another larger planet he thought might be in the night sky.

Swing Pluto around so you are behind its dark side, and locate the Sun.  It’s just a tiny dot so far away.  Feel the cold … and the isolation.  It is so frigid and lonely out here … isn’t it!

Pluto is not a typical “planet”.  It is tiny, smaller than seven of our Solar System’s moons.  If it were orbiting another planet rather than the Sun, Pluto would be a common moon.

 

Secondly, it has a major moon of its own named Charon that is ½ its size, making it highly unlikely that they formed together at the same time.  More likely, Charon formed around Pluto like our Moon formed around Earth, that is; long ago, another planet or asteroid hit Pluto and knocked a big piece off into space that reformed by gravity into Charon.

In late October 2005, the Hubble Space Telescope discovered two new moons of Pluto.  They are several hundred km in diameter each. They follow an orbit around Pluto similar to Charon. 

One of them is called “Hydra”.   Time is speeded up.  Notice how close to Pluto and Charon it is.  In the distance beyond Pluto is moon # 3, officially named “Nix”.  Scientists are not sure how these moons got there, but suspect they too may be pieces of rubble from an ancient collision that reformed by gravity into its three moons.  Alternatively, Pluto’s gravity may have captured passing comets into orbiting the planet.

The third major anomaly about Pluto is its orbit around the Sun.  It takes an incredible 248 years to make just one circuit of the Sun.  What is unusual, however, is the shape of that orbit.  It is highly elliptical and tilts dramatically in relation to the rest of the Solar System. 

The fourth anomaly is its rotation.  Pluto is tilted at right angles to the plane of the ecliptic just like Uranus, and it also spins in a retrograde rotation, as we saw with Uranus and Triton.  That is, it turns from right to left, not left to right as the Sun, the Earth and most other bodies in the Solar System rotate. It takes 6.39 days to turn once on its axis.

The last unique point about the system is that Charon does not orbit Pluto like a normal moon.  Rather, they orbit each other by circling an empty spot between them called the “common center of mass”.  In fact, Pluto and Charon always face each other.  They are like two lovers who fear they will lose each other in the darkness of space. It is called “Synchronous Rotational Lock”, and it is common in the Solar System.  Our Moon for example, always shows us the same face.  However, Pluto and Charon are both locked on each other, which is unusual.  The cause is due to the forces of gravity from both worlds interacting over time. 

 

Pluto, Charon, Hydra and Nix are giant balls of frozen rock and solid water ice.  Latest estimates put them at about 70% rock and 30% water ice, with frozen methane, ammonia and nitrogen present. 

Pluto has a tiny atmosphere but it is so cold (-240° C or -400° F), that its weak atmosphere freezes and falls to the ground as a frost for most of its journey around the Sun.  Only during a small period when Pluto’s orbit brings it closer to the Sun does a little of that frost evaporate and become a bit of gas collecting above the planet. 

In January 2006, the U.S. launched the first spacecraft to Pluto.  Named New Horizons, it cost a whopping $625 million, and will take 9 years to reach Pluto space.  After flying by Pluto and Charon, it will continue on into the space beyond to explore the Kuiper Belt. 

In August 2006, Pluto technically lost its designation as the ninth “planet” in our Solar System.  As mentioned earlier and as discussed in the next section, a conference of Astronomers met to hash out the definition of a “planet”.  Discoveries in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 all revealed that our Solar System has more large round objects orbiting the Sun than the nine we had called the planets.  See the next section.

Because of the meeting, Pluto is now officially a “Dwarf Plutoid Planet”.  However, many Astronomers are challenging the new definitions.  We will have to see how it all turns out.

The new “Planets” of the Kuiper Belt

In 2004, yet another round object was located far beyond Pluto’s orbit.  It has been named Orcus.  It is about ½ the diameter of Pluto and it too has its own moon.

In 2005, yet another object was discovered.  Originally named simply 2005 FY9, it is now officially named Makemake, after a Polynesian god of the peoples of Easter Island in the Pacific.

Now you can see the problem.  It is likely we will find at least one more of these round space objects every year or two for many years to come.  If they all became planets, we will have dozens of planets, and millions of textbooks, maps, posters, software and classroom tests will have to be changed every few years.  It will cost billions of dollars. 

To deal with the problem, a meeting of hundreds of Astronomers was called by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in July 2006.  After sometimes-bitter debate, new definitions were developed for what constitutes planets and other space objects.  The results were:

PLANET -  (1) Spherical Object  (2) Orbits the Sun  (3) Has cleared a path in space in its vicinity

DWARF PLANET -  (1) Spherical Object  (2) Orbits the Sun   (3) May have other objects nearly

OTHER SOLAR SYSTEM BODIES - (Asteroids, Comets):  Non-round objects orbiting the sun

MOON / SATELLITE – Anything that orbits a planet, dwarf planet or other system body.

 

Based on the above definitions, Mercury through Neptune are still “Planets” (eight of them).  Pluto, Ceres and Eris became “Dwarf Planets”.  Moons stay as moons, and everything else in the solar system (asteroids, comets, etc.) become “Other Solar System Bodies”.

In June 2008, this definition changed again.  Dwarf planets were sub-divided into two groups.  Dwarf planets inside the orbit of Neptune would still be called just “Dwarf Planets”.  However, dwarf planets beyond the orbit of Neptune would now be called “Dwarf Plutoid planets”.  Since Pluto, and Eris now fit that definition, they became dwarf Plutoid planets.  In July 2008, Makemake was officially also declared a Dwarf Plutoid Planet. 

Thus, as of July 2008, the solar system has 8 planets, 1 dwarf planet (Ceres), 3 dwarf Plutoid planets (Pluto, Eris and Makemake), and lots of asteroids and comets.

Since we are not yet certain if Quaoar, Sedna and Orcus are spherical, they have not yet been officially named Dwarf Plutoid Planets.  Most likely, their names will be added to the list. 

These definitions may … or may not stand.  Many Astronomers are not happy with them.  The next meeting of the IAU is in 2009. 

Let’s visit Eris and Sedna.  First … Eris.  It’s out there somewhere, not too far away.  Because the light is very dim this far from the Sun, there is little reflected light to see.  That’s why it has taken hundreds of years to find these big planet-sized objects.

Its temperature is near -420o F (-250oC).  Imagine!  You were alive when a new dwarf planet was found far out in our own Solar System.

See its daughter moon Dysnomia, Notice how close to Eris it is!

 

Take a look to Sedna.  Frozen in space and time, Sedna has been traveling its isolated journey around the Sun since the formation of the Solar System.

 

It is currently at Perihelion (closest distance to the sun), so there is some light on it to reflect into our telescopes.  Imagine how cold and dark it gets on Sedna when it is at aphelion (the farthest part of its orbit) thousands of years from now?  It will be completely invisible, even with our biggest telescopes.

 

The Comets and the Oort Cloud

The Solar System is a big place.  Our tour has been extensive, stretching from the Sun to Pluto and beyond.  However, what lies beyond Pluto, far from the Sun, is the realm (home) of the Comets.  A comet is a mixture of rocks, water ice and frozen hydrocarbons packed densely together.  Think of a comet as a hard very dirty snowball. 

Comets are as old as the Solar System itself.  They formed from the same nebula as the rest of the Solar System, fashioned by gravity and drifting in space ever since.  What is so amazing is that there are so many of them.  One estimate puts their number at over 1 trillion comets.

 

Comets come in all sizes, from tiny iceballs the size of a baseball to huge moon sized objects hundreds of miles across.  They generally orbit the Sun in two areas of concentration.  One is the Kuiper Belt, which we’ve already introduced.

The other zone is called the Oort Cloud.  It is VERY far away from the Sun.  Some estimates put its outer reaches at over 1 light-year away.  If true, then the size of our Solar System and the gravitational influence of our Sun are enormous – 6 trillion miles or more in radius.

You may be surprised to realize that you encounter comet material every day.  In fact, you are made of the stuff.  During the early days of our Solar System, comets were numerous in the inner Solar System.  They fell to Earth by the millions every year. Today, comets occasionally collide with each other or get disturbed in their distant orbits.  When that happens, they can be knocked into a new orbit, sometimes bringing them close to or on a collision course with Earth or another planet. 

Al-Anbiya 21:32-33
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents. (32) And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit. (33)

سورة الاٴنبیَاء
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

اور آسمان کو محفوظ چھت بنایا۔ اس پر بھی وہ ہماری نشانیوں سے منہ پھیر رہے ہیں (۳۲) اور وہی تو ہے جس نے رات اور دن اور سورج اور چاند کو بنایا۔ (یہ) سب (یعنی سورج اور چاند اور ستارے) آسمان میں (اس طرح چلتے ہیں گویا) تیر رہے ہیں (۳۳)

 

If a big one hits us, it can have the same devastating effect on Earth as an asteroid, causing an extinction event.  Fortunately, those are very rare.  However, even today, a handful of baseball sized comets are striking Earth every day.  Since they are made of water ice and rock, their water merges with the water already on Earth.  The next time you take a sip of water, you will actually be consuming a bit of a comet with each gulp! FAR OUT!

An-Nahl 16:10-12
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

He it is Who sendeth down water from the sky, whence ye have drink, and whence are trees on which ye send your beasts to pasture. (10) Therewith He causeth crops to grow for you, and the olive and the date-palm and grapes and all kinds of fruit. Lo! herein is indeed a portent for people who reflect. (11) And He hath constrained the night and the day and the sun and the moon to be of service unto you, and the stars are made subservient by His command. Lo! herein indeed are portents for people who have sense. (12)

سورة النّحل
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

وہی تو ہے جس نے آسمان سے پانی برسایا جسے تم پیتے ہو اور اس سے درخت بھی (شاداب ہوتے ہیں) جن میں تم اپنے چارپایوں کو چراتے ہو (۱۰) اسی پانی سے وہ تمہارے لیے کھیتی اور زیتون اور کھجور اور انگور (اور بےشمار درخت) اُگاتا ہے۔ اور ہر طرح کے پھل (پیدا کرتا ہے) غور کرنے والوں کے لیے اس میں (قدرتِ خدا کی بڑی) نشانی ہے (۱۱) اور اسی نے تمہارے لیے رات اور دن اور سورج اور چاند کو کام میں لگایا۔ اور اسی کے حکم سے ستارے بھی کام میں لگے ہوئے ہیں۔ سمجھنے والوں کے لیے اس میں (قدرت خدا کی بہت سی) نشانیاں ہیں (۱۲)

In July 1994, a huge comet actually impacted Jupiter.  It was named Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, after the two people who found it.  When the impacts finally came, the world watched on television as Jupiter reeled from the blows of each fragment.  Giant impact clouds were blown from Jupiter’s gas atmosphere thousands of miles into space.  Wounds in the planet’s gaseous layer were so large that the entire Earth could fit into many of them. 

 

Ash-Shura 42:5
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Almost might the heavens above be rent asunder

 

سورة الشّوریٰ
شروع الله کے نام سے جو بڑا مہربان نہایت رحم والا ہے

قریب ہے کہ آسمان اوپر سے پھٹ پڑیں

 

Had Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 hit Earth, it would have extinguished most of the life on our planet.  Hollywood even made a hit movie about a comet impact (called “Deep Impact”).

 

Let’s visit a famous comet whose orbit starts in the Kuiper Belt but angles in toward the Sun and Earth (fortunately, it’s not at risk of colliding with anything).  Halley’s Comet (named after the person who discovered.

 

Kuiper Belt

 

 

Comet Halley as it orbits the Sun in 1986.  Its beautiful colored tail of gas and dust is steaming away behind it. In the distance is our Sun, surrounded by five of its planets. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halley's_Comet

Notice that its pale lavender tail of gases is streaming directly away from the Sun.  When the heat from the Sun hits a comet, it melts part of the ice.  What you see streaming away from the comet is vaporized gases, water and comet dust, pushed away by the radiation from the Sun. Notice that a comet is simply a big, dirty iceball (called the Nucleus), surrounded by a haze of vaporized gas and dust called a “Coma”.  The tail streams out behind the coma.

It’s about 28 km in diameter (17 miles).  Halley's nucleus is relatively small (barely 15 kilometers long, 8 kilometers wide and perhaps 8 kilometers thick; JPL lists its average diameter as only 11 km). Yet it is a massive object.  If it ever hit Earth, its collision effects would wipe out all life on our planet.

 

Halley orbits the Sun just as Earth does, but much farther away. Halley swings in an orbit that takes it relatively close to the Sun every 76 years.  However, most comets orbit the Sun in two large zones or “belts” much farther away.  These zones are called the Kuiper Belt (pronounced “kyper”), and the Oort Cloud.  Within these two areas of space may exist over 1 trillion comets.

As you can see, comets seem to have pretty “tails” of gas streaming from them in all directions and you will discover that the tail always points away from something.  What does it point away from? 

The main part of the comet is at the bright front of that tail.  The big chunk of rock you see is the comet itself and is called the comet Nucleus. and look at Halley from all sides. Surrounding Halley will be a lavender haze, which represents water vapor and hydrocarbon gases, droplets of water ice and particles of rock dust that are being blown off of the comet from the Sun’s heat.  This surrounding haze is called the comet Coma.

As the Sun’s radiation hits the comet, it blows its coma out into a long “comet Tail”.  Thus, a comet tail is caused by the sun’s heat melting the comet’s ice and pushing its tail away from the sun.

Please note that when a comet is far from the Sun, there is not enough heat to melt any ice.  Neither a coma nor a tail will form.  It is only when its orbit takes it inside the orbit of Jupiter that the Sun’s heat is enough to create a tail.

Halley is a large comet with lots of ice, so it develops a big, bright, visible tail when it enters the inner Solar system.  It is on an orbital path that takes it around the Sun every 76 years.  The last time it came by the vicinity of Earth was 1986, so it will be another 58 years before it returns.  How old will you be then? 

To see Halley’s orbit, far above the plane of the Solar System.  Halley’s orbit is red.  Remember that the tail will only develop when it is inside the orbit of Jupiter. 

Last stop in this extended tour of the Solar System is the Oort Cloud, the last remote outpost of our Solar System.  Here, far out in space, a trillion comets may orbit.  None of them can be seen from Earth.  They are too dim to be picked up even with our best telescopes and they are too cold to have tails.  Their presence is estimated, based upon the collective gravity they give off, and calculations of comets closer to us that could only have once come from far beyond Pluto.

 

 

kuiper-belt Objects Comparison with Earth

 

Another dark, frozen, billions of comets in it called Oort cloud, far from our Sun and its family of planets.

Within these two areas of space may exist over 1 trillion comets.

 

To witness the Oort cloud comets slowly orbiting the Sun.  At this distance, it takes hundreds of thousands of years for a distant comet in the Oort cloud to orbit the Sun just once.  Amazingly, the Sun’s gravity is powerful enough to capture and hold onto comets even at this great distance. 

 

If we started our trip from Earth and flew to comet Oort at the speed of our family car, it would take … well … it would take over 8 MILLION YEARS to get here. 
Yes! It’s true! Yet, we are not even out of our own Solar System. 

Our journey into the universe has barely even begun

It is over 3 trillion miles/km from the Sun and from Earth.  Here in the loneliness of space there is no heat left from the Sun, and the comet has no tail or coma of vaporized gases.  Everything is frozen.  The temperature is -420º F (-240º C) below zero.  If you somehow found yourself outside of your spaceship without a heated spacesuit, you would die and freeze completely solid in minutes.  There is also absolutely no sound outside of your spaceship.  Sound needs a medium such as air or water to travel through and there is no air outside your hull. 

Beyond comet Oort in the far distance is a faint band of haze.  That … is the rest of our galaxy Milky Way.

 

سُوۡرَةُ لقمَان
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيم

وَلَوۡ أَنَّمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقۡلَـٰمٌ۬ وَٱلۡبَحۡرُ يَمُدُّهُ ۥ مِنۢ بَعۡدِهِۦ سَبۡعَةُ أَبۡحُرٍ۬ مَّا نَفِدَتۡ كَلِمَـٰتُ ٱللَّهِ‌ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ۬ (٢٧) ِ

[031:027]  And if all the trees on earth were pens and the ocean (were ink), with seven oceans behind it to add to its (supply), yet would not the words of God be exhausted (in the writing): for God is Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom.

اور اگر یوں ہو کہ زمین میں جتنے درخت ہیں (سب کے سب) قلم ہوں اور سمندر (کا تمام پانی) سیاہی ہو (اور) اس کے بعد سات سمندر اور (سیاہی ہو جائیں) تو خدا کی باتیں (یعنی اس کی صفتیں) ختم نہ ہوں۔ بیشک خدا غالب حکمت والا ہے (۲۷)

 

 

Are you ready to explore our universe and find

How BIG is the Universe?
Is it small or large? Is it “infinite” or does it “end” somewhere? If so, what is beyond its outer boundary? How long has it been in existence?
 

http://www.findpk.com/zahid/universe.htm