10 mysteries of the solar system

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10 mysteries of the solar system
10 mysteries of the solar system

Terrestrial rovers quietly move around the Red Planet, and a dozen astronauts have already managed to visit the Moon. However, our solar system promises many mysteries that still await their answers …


Venus Vortex

A giant vortex formation near the Venusian South Pole looks like a thundercloud - without rain or lightning. Its diameter is 1800 km, height - 18 km, and the vortex is located at an altitude of 41 km above the planet's surface.

In 2013, scientists discovered that we are talking not about one, but about two vortices with two separate centers of rotation, which are at different heights. They are constantly separating and reuniting, although, according to the calculations of scientists, they should have merged into a single whole long ago.

There is an assumption that this behavior is associated with the specifics of the planet's atmosphere, which rotates 60 times faster than Venus itself. However, the exact connection between the two phenomena has not yet been established.


Mysterious Iapetus

The automatic interplanetary station "Cassini", which became the first artificial satellite of Saturn in 2004, discovered a majestic ridge 18 km high on Iapetus (Mount Everest, for comparison, is about two times lower).

This ridge stretches across almost the entire equator of the Saturnian moon. According to one theory, the mysterious Iapetus previously had its own ring, which settled in the form of a mountain range.

Other researchers suggest that the ridge was formed as a result of a collision of a satellite with an asteroid, which caused seismic activity.


Spider on Mercury

The strange formation was photographed in 2008 by the Messenger spacecraft, flying near the smallest planet in the solar system. It is a system of furrows emanating from a common center in the middle of the Zhara plain. These furrows stretch for many hundreds of kilometers.

The strange formation was named Pantheon Fossae, after the similar dome structure of the Roman Pantheon. Among themselves, scientists also call it "Spider".

The reasons for the formation of the mysterious structure on Mercury are unknown. Scientists speculate that the grooves may have arisen as a result of specific volcanic activity on the planet.


Ugly Miranda

Even NASA once described the fifth largest moon of Uranus as "Frankenstein's monster." Miranda seems to be molded from various pieces that do not quite fit together. Between these "pieces" are ridges and depressions, some of which are 12 times deeper than the famous Grand Canyon.

According to one theory, Miranda was once split by a giant asteroid, but its parts did not scatter, but again attracted to each other, creating such a shapeless formation.


Mysterious spots on Uranus

In 2006, the Hubble and Keck telescopes discovered a dark spot on Uranus. Similar spots were previously found on Neptune. Most likely, we are talking about vortices in the atmosphere of these ice giants, but their exact origin is unknown.

Five years later, astronomers noticed another spot - only white, 10 times lighter than the visible atmosphere of the planet. At the same time, it turned out that it is very close to the dark, making up a pair with it. The answer about the reasons for the formation of twin spots on the planet, perhaps, can be given by a space probe directed to Uranus.


Ceres geysers

Ceres is the largest asteroid and at the same time the largest dwarf planet in the solar system. It has more water reserves than all rivers and lakes on Earth.

With the help of the Herschel space telescope, it was possible to notice the giant jets of steam that the dwarf planet periodically throws into outer space.Geysers have been discovered in the dark regions of the planet.

According to one theory, it is in these places that Ceres is especially active in absorbing sunlight: the ice quickly turns into steam, which is thrown out. Other scientists suggest volcanic activity on the largest asteroid.


Structure of mercury

The structure of Mercury is one of the greatest mysteries of the cosmos. The diameter of its solid core is more than half of the entire diameter of the planet, proportionally five times larger than similar terrestrial parameters.

It is believed that the upper layers were blown away by a collision with an asteroid, or they were "swept away" by the Sun at an early stage of the planet's formation into the outer regions of the solar system.


Ashlight of Venus

The faint glow that can be seen on the unlit side of Venus during the crescent phase was first discovered back in 1643. Since then, it has been observed many times, but this phenomenon has not been satisfactorily explained.

According to one version, the ash light causes the planet's atmospheric electricity: frequent lightning strikes illuminate the Venusian skies. However, the Cassini spacecraft, which flew past the planet, failed to detect the high-frequency interference that such lightning should cause.


Volcanoes of Io

Jupiter's monstrous gravitational pull pulls Io in one direction, while the other moons of the gas giant pull in the opposite direction. As a result of the influence of these tidal forces, monstrous volcanic activity occurs on Io - more than on any other celestial body in the solar system.

Some volcanoes eject lava jets 375 km above the surface of Jupiter's moon. However, the location of these volcanoes poses serious questions for scientists: it is very different from the theoretically calculated parameters for the tidal forces acting on Io.

This means that the theoretical models are wrong. For example, Io may orbit faster than astronomers believe.



Chaotic relief, or simply chaos, is a concept from cosmic geology. It is used to describe strange structures on the surface of planets and satellites: a disorderly combination of cracks, plateaus, mountain ranges, etc. Similar structures have been found on Mars and Europa, the moon of Jupiter.

The largest chaos of Mars with a diameter of 714 km is called "Chaos of Aurora". These are gigantic plateaus separated by gorges. One of the versions of the origin of such chaos: the release of a large amount of water resources from under the surface of the planet.

This is indicated by the fact that many channels of dried up Martian rivers originate in regions of chaos. However, the reason for this release of water remains a mystery.


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