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Beyond the clouds

Have you ever looked up in the sky and wondered what's beyond those beautiful clouds? I ask myself, are we alone on this planet or is there someone or something out there?

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH
JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

Have you ever looked up in the sky and wondered what's beyond those beautiful clouds? I ask myself, are we alone on this planet or is there someone or something out there? If the earth is spherical, why are we not falling but standing on it? The earth is the only place we’ve known. It's the place where humanity has existed from generations to generations. The earth is the only place where we live, where our loved ones and everyone we’ve known has settled yet sometimes we dream about the things out there. How big is our earth, and who are our neighbours? Are you satisfied with the earth? Is it okay to be inquisitive about the heavenly bodies and also the universe of which we are part? In this article, we persist on a journey to explore our neighbours and beyond.

As we were all growing up, we heard about the solar system in the classrooms and among our friends. Let us do a recap on our system.


The earth and therefore the other planets are classified under the solar system because they revolve around the sun. The Latin name for the sun is solis, thus, anything associated with the sun is termed solar.


It has been asserted that eight planets revolve around the sun. These planets are often categorized based on their composition. The first category is made of mercury, venus, earth and mars. they are termed terrestrial; this is because they're made of rocky materials and have solid surfaces. they're relatively small, have few moons and don't have rings on their surfaces, unlike the others. Pluto which was first thought of as a planet has now been removed because more evidence refutes that claim.
Mercury
It is the one closest to the sun and is seemingly the smallest planet. Because it is the closest to the sun, it has the shortest orbit around the sun of about 99 days.
Venus
It is the hottest planet although mercury comes before it. it has lots of carbon dioxide which traps lots of warmth and also the presence of lava.
Earth
The earth, our home has adequate water that can support life, no wonder it mostly looks blue in appearance.
Mars
The second planet which man has travelled to. Mars is believed to have supported life about 3.7 million years ago where the planet had a watery surface and atmosphere. Now, mars have none of those features.


The next category is the Jovian planets. It consists of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Jupiter and Saturn are mostly made from gas whilst Uranus and Neptune are made of ice. This is logical because it's further away from the sun as compared to the other planets. These Jovian planets are relatively bigger, do not have any solid surface and have multiple moons. They have beautiful rings on their surfaces.
Jupiter
It is the largest of all planets within the system. The presence of gas around it and also the lack of solid structures make it difficult to land on such a planet.
Saturn
It is the second largest of the planets and has similar features to Jupiter.
Uranus
One of the coldest planets. It usually rotates on its sides.
Neptune
The outermost planet and also the coldest.
These form the solar system. Nonetheless, the solar system just forms a little piece of things beyond the clouds. The system is a member of the galaxy called the Milky Way Galaxy.

A galaxy is a cluster of over 100 billion stars, planets, gas and dust all held together by gravity. The sun is just one star. This suggests that the galaxy is large. The centre of the Milky Way System is difficult to look at thanks to the clouds of gas and dust blocking its view.
Scientists believe that within the centre could be a black hole that swallows up things and may be the source of gravity that holds the galaxy together. Gravity is the attraction or force that pulls objects towards the centre of the earth. It explains why objects fall to the bottom and don't hang.

It explains why our feet are still on the ground and that we don't lose balance. the stars we see up within the sky are just those closest to our earth. As mentioned earlier, there are 100 million stars within the milky way. The larger ones are usually those we are able to see with our naked eyes because they're further faraway from the earth.


Yet, even the Milky Way Galaxy isn't the sole galaxy within the universe. There are over 30 galaxies that cluster to create a local group. Most of them are small whilst some are large, prominent among them are the Andromeda galaxy and triangular galaxy. it's predicted that some million years to come, the Milky Way Galaxy will run into another galaxy to create an enormous one. we'll not be alive to witness this so we'd like not to worry about it.


Zooming out farther from the local group is the wider local galactic group called the Virgo Supercluster.

There is a minimum of 100 groups of galaxies in this galactic group. The local group of which the Milky Way Galaxy is a member is simply one out of the numerous.
Further off from the Virgo Supercluster group is the Laniakea Supercluster.
Away from it, is the observable universe. It contains about 2 trillion individual galaxies. A journey from the earth to the observable universe is unimaginable.

Unfortunately, this is how far humanity has studied the universe with its complex machines. There could also be more beyond this scope but until then, man to be content and accommodates the universe we've got. There are more to explore even within our universe. The next time you look up in the sky at daytime or the stars at the hours of darkness, remember your position on earth and live life to the fullest. Maybe we should be content with our earth because beyond the clouds is a world far-off from ours.

JESSICA MAWU-KOENYA BANSAH

A young lady who is excited to influence the society and world with the knowledge she has acquired.