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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 25, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta 6 THI IETHBRIDGI HERAiO Monday, J5, Ask Andy Rotating planets Andy sends a complete volume set of the Merit Stu- dents Encyclopedia to An- thony Pezzo, Jr., age 12, of St. Louis, Missouri, for his question: How fast do the different planets rotate? The planets are spherical, more or less, and each rotates around its central axis. Each spin turns first one half of its globe to face the sun, then the opposite side. Hence, rotation speed determines the length of a planet's day and night period. Our nine planets are different sizes and each rotates at its o'vn speed. For example, Mars takes about 12 hours and 15 minutes to rotate from noon to midnight. And while we are rotating through the morn- ing hours, giant Jupiter spins from dawn to sunset. We might expect the giant planets to take longer to com- plete each rotation because their bulging equators must spin around larger circles. But this is not so. The rotation speed of most, but not all, of them has been measured and of those know, the fastest spin- ner is Jupiter. The diameter of its equator is miles and its size is big enough to engulf the other eight planets. Giant Jupiter completes its revolution in about ten earth- hours, which gives each half of the enormous globe five hours of daylight and five hours of darkness. At the Jovian equ- ator, where the spin is fast- est, rotation speed must be more than miles per hour. Saturn is almost ten times wider than the earth and its volume is 36 times greater. .As with other planets, rotation is estimated by the motion of surface features. Saturn's equ- ator rotates in ten hours and 13 minutes. Surface spots indi- cate that the daily rotation lags between the equator and the poles. The diameter of Uranus is 000 miles, which makes its volume more than 60 times greater than the earth's. Its rotation period is ten hours and 49 minutes. Neptune is about 60 times larger than the earth and its day-and-night rotation period is estimated to be 15 hours and 40 minutes. Our pre- sent figures may not be per- fect but most certainly the big planets are the fast spin- ners. Closer to home is little Mars, only miles wide. Its rota- tion period is 24 hours and 37 minutes. At the Martian equ- ator, rotation speed is about 530 miles per hour and the Martian calendar day is about half an hour longer than ours. Our other neighbor is golden Venus, almost a twin in size. Dense clouds conceal its sur- face and rotation is difficult to detect. According to recent es- timates, the earth spins through 243 calendar days while Venus is completing one rotation. Mercury is closest to the sun and Pluto is way out there at the edge of the Solar System. Astronomers still are clocking their rotation period. Mercury is a fairly slow spinner and Pluto is fairly fast. According to recent esti- mates, Mercury dawdles around one rotation period while the earth completes 59 which is almost two earth months. The rotation period of little Pluto is estimated to be 6 earth-days, or less than a week. The fi- gures on Mercury, Pluto and Venus may be revised. More sophisticated techniques are expected to clock their spin- ning surfaces in finer detail. Questions asKed by children of Herald readers should be mailed to Ask Andy, P.O. Box 765. Hnntixgton Beach, California 92G4S. (Copyright Chronicle Publishing Co. 1973 SCOT DISGRACED WOBURN ABBEY, England (CP) immigrant Jose Pereira beat Scotsman Bill McDonald in a haggis-eating contest at a highland gathering here. Pereira consumed the Scottish dish in 61 seconds. Said McDonald: "It's a bit of a dis- grace. I can hardly believe it." GOREN ON BRIDGE BY CHARLES H. 'GOREN IfTJ, Chiujo TrilXIW BRIDGE QUIZ ANSWERS Q. l East-West vulner- able, and as South you hold: 0AJS43 Ag The bidding has proceeded: South West North East 1 Pass 3