From initial and arbitrary glances, it may indeed seem as if Venus is the twin sister planet to Earth. Both worlds are about the same sizes. They are in the generally same region of the solar system. Yet, the truth is that may be where all similarities end. She is a bad girl!
As the second orbiting world from The Sun, Venus is at an average of sixty-seven million miles away from our host star. It is the closest planet to our Earth. This planet’s proximity, and it’s heavy cloud covering, allow it to operate as a reflective object. Sunlight that glistens upon Venus shines off of the world, making it appear as a star in the night sky.
Some scientists speculate that Venus harbored life during it’s early ages. Whereas this world currently can have temperatures that reach up to 400° Fahrenheit, there are some speculations that depict Venus as being a much cooler planet. Studies are occurring currently, through the use of The Venus Express space orbiter. These examinations are attempting to show that Venus was once a world that held liquid water.
It was roughly four billion years ago when the worlds of our solar system cooled to assume their current states of being. It is at that time when astronomers and exobiologists are speculating that Venus was a world that harbored some forms of life. It is being suggested that this world was a more temperate place that even may have had water, which allowed for spme existence of prehistoric life forms.
Of course, this kind of life likely was microbial, and possibly some forms of plants. This thought stems from the suggestion that an early Venus was more Earth-like. It is speculated that Venus did have water in it’s early history. Water is the prime conduit for the creation and proliferation of life, as we recognize it, and an early Venus may have used it’s water to jumpstart initial forms of primitive organisms.
Any water that may have existed on Venus was boiled off of the planet very early in it’s history. This left the planet barren, and it thickened the world’s atmosphere. The increased pressure of the Venusian atmosphere lead to the world’s current state of runaway greenhouse effect. Now, the planet has a primarily carbon dioxide atmosphere, with an average surface temperature at roughly 900º Fahrenheit!
The atmospheric pressure on Venus is roughly 13,230 pounds per square inch. This is not a place where living things currently could stand up and move about, let alone live. Furthermore, the heat exerted by The Sun, interacting with Venus’ atmospheric pressure, is hot enough to melt lead!
So, if Venus is to be called Earth’s twin, then she is the evil twin. NOTHING can survive there, under the current conditions on the world. The cold truth about this excessively hot planet is that it’s true beauty may be only viewing it from an excessive distance, as it glistens in the night skies!
Images of the surface of Venus from Soviet Venera Space Probes.
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I know that the physical sight of this event likely is very scary, but the thought of it is pretty awesome! A tornado by itself certainly must be a terrifying sight to the average person who means to get out of the way. Yet, for storm chasers, and anyone with general interests in the fascinating occurrences that happen in our world, seeing a multiple tornado event has to be captivating!
It was over the weekend when central Kansas was besieged by an outbreak of thunderstorms. The violent weather events lead to a common result during stormy weather in the central United States, the formation of a tornado. This certain scary storm show was particularly exciting (?) because it produced several tornadic storm cells, and multi-vortex tornadoes!
A multiple vortex tornado is when an active storm system produces several conal cloud structures that drop from the sky-level storm structures, reaching the ground. These occur mainly at the beginnings of tornado cloud formations. They actually can happen frequently, seen as common side-effects of tornado formations. The multiple vortices form when the main tornado structure touches the ground, and it spawns additional conal-cyclonic storm structures.
It was over the weekend, near Wichita, Kansas, when a multi-vortex tornado terrorized that area of the nation. The reports started Saturday night, after 10 p.m.. The towns of Clearwater, El Dorado, McConnel, St. John, along with Wichita, were some of the places within Kansas that reported funnel clouds that touched down during stroms that evening.
The same storm cell produced more multiple vortex tornadoes within Oklahoma. The towns of Cherokee, Dacoma, Waldron, and Waynoka were struck by this scary storm system before it made it’s way northward to Kansas. Additionally, areas of Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin were affected by storm cells that produced tornadic activity.
This particular region of the nation is used to the outbreaks of tornadoes. Kansas and Oklahoma, along with parts of Texas, South Dakota, and Nebraska are situated in what is known as Tornado Alley. This region of the nation that features heavy levels of tornadic storm formation has expeanded to include the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, along with portions of Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Colorado, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida.
Over 130 tornadoes formed, and created disastrous situations, over this past weekend. The wide range of these storm outbreaks have lead some to refer to the area as “Tornado Field” instead of Tornado Alley! These kinds of violent weather outbreaks are expected to intensify, as they will spread into a greater range of the nation during unstable weather formations.
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The studies of astronomers and other scientific researchers have revealed that Epsilon Eridani is the star with a planetary system that is the nearest to our solar system. The star itself is located 10.5 light years from The Sun. It is situated within the constellation Eridanus. The star has a luminosity that is a mere twenty-eight percent the brightness of our Sun, and it is eighty-five percent as massive as our star.
There is a belt of dust that orbits Epsilon Eridani. It is suspected to have been formed from the collisions of planet-sized objects, likely actual planets, that orbit the star. The belt is suspected to have formed, and to remain in tact, due to the collisions and gravitational forces of orbiting planets and passing comets. It is referred to as exozodiacal dust because it is situated more closely with the orbits of the system’s inner planets, similar to our solar system’s asteroid belt.
The resulting dust belt is equal to an object that is one-sixth the mass of The Moon. Along with dust, the belt is composed of water-ice. There are hints that the clumps remain, and were created, due to the constant crashings between minor planets, called plutinos, that orbit the star. The presence of this dust belt adds credence to the currently recognized data that shows how planets accrete, then form into actual worlds, due to the continuous clumpings of dust particles.
This dust-belt is suspected to remain intact due to gravitational forces from the nearest planet, Epsilon Eridani b. It is largely believed that the dust belt is of a clumpy nature because of this gravity, as well. This is due to it being a relatively young star. It is a mere 800 million years in age, compared to The Sun, which boasts roughly 4.5 billion years of age (The Sun is a mid-life star…).
Epsilon Eridani b is similar in size to Jupiter. It is roughly 1.5 times as massive as our solar system’s king world. This extrasolar planet orbits it’s host star in at a rate of 6.9 years. Studying scientists were excited to discover that this planet has an orbit that is angularly tilted around Epsilon Eridani, just like a ring of dust that orbits that star. This interesting observation has lead scientists to presume that the dust is the remnant material from planets that have formed around that star.
As the Epsilon Eridani system is roughly 10.5 light years, or sixty-three trillion miles, away, it is unlikely that humanity will be physically viewing it any time soon! Yet, images from The Hubble Space Telescope, The Spitzer Space Telescope, and other instruments, are providing details about how this region of space might look to the human eye. These research tools, which currently are in use by scientific observers, are providing intriguing images of what exists beyond our particular niche of the universe!
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F.Y.I.: Epsilon Eridani is the home star