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Mars’s gravity is about 38% that of Earth, with just 10% of the mass. The surface pressure is just over 100 times weaker than ours at sea level, meaning that a human standing on the surface would see their blood instantly boil. The red colour on Mars’s surface is the result of rusting, due to iron present in the rocks and soil reacting with oxygen to produce an iron oxide. In 1877 the American astronomer Asaph Hall, urged on by his wife, discovered that Mars had two moons orbiting so close that they were within the glare of the planet.

We can witness eclipses on Jupiter with our back-garden telescopes, in the form of the shadows of its four major moons cast on the upper cloud layer of the planet. Astronomers call these ‘shadow transits’ and several can happen at once. We can also see Jupiter’s moons go into eclipse in the shadow of Jupiter. Similar eclipses take place on all of the giant planets of the outer Solar System, and even on the dwarf planet Pluto where its The shadow of the Jovian moon largest moon Charon can eclipse the distant Sun a couple of Ganymede can be seen transiting times each century.

The Sun’s outermost atmosphere, called the corona, is made prominent during a solar eclipse During a total eclipse, you should be able to see the stars and naked eye planets – depending on the time of year – as the sky turns dark 031 SOLAR SYSTEM UK solar eclipses are rare 05 Total solar eclipses seen from the UK are very rare. The last one was in 1999 and the next won’t be until 23 September 2090, where Cornwall will be in the umbral shadow for two minutes and ten seconds. However, there will be partial solar eclipses visible in 2018 (only Shetland, Orkney and the northern coast of Scotland), 2021, 2022 and 2026.

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