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The Solar System.

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Presentation on theme: "The Solar System."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Solar System

2 Planets 3 major criteria are required to classify an object as a planet: a large solid body that shines by reflecting sunlight and revolves in a stable orbit around the sun Has to be large enough that its own gravity pulls it into a round shape Must be dominant enough to clear the area around it

3 More on planets Inferior planets – planets between Sun and Earth (show phases like the moon) Superior planets – planets further from the Sun than Earth; always appear full

4 Inner Planets Which ones are the inner planets?

5 Inner Planets Which ones are the inner planets?
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars Inner planets are also called terrestrial planets. Why?

6 Inner Planets Which ones are the inner planets?
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars Inner planets are also called terrestrial planets. Why? They are made mainly of rock and iron-nickel compounds Generally smaller in size

7 The Inner Planets Also called terrestrial planets

8 Mercury Closest to the sun Made of the dense metals iron and nickel
Has almost no atmosphere, which makes it very hot during the day and very cold at night Hard to collect data from Mercury

9 Mercury Considered an extreme planet
Smallest, most dense, the one with the oldest surface, the one with the largest daily variations in surface temperature, and the least explored. Mercury also has a magnetic field around it like Earth

10 Venus Called Earth’s twin because the two planets are similar in size, mass, composition, and distance from the sun What makes them different? Venus has no ocean and thick clouds that spin rapidly and trap heat on the surface Has air pressure 90 times greater than Earth, making it hard to study Venus’ day is longer than it’s year

11 Earth 70% of Earth’s surface is covered in water
Only planet in our solar system to harbor life All of the things we need to survive are provided under a thin layer of atmosphere that separates us from the uninhabitable void of space

12 Mars Small rocky body that was once thought to be very Earth-like
Mars’ atmosphere has 1% the pressure of Earth’s atmosphere and is made mostly of carbon dioxide. It appears red because the surface contains iron oxide, or rust. Contains the largest volcanic mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons Canyon system stretches a distance that equals New York to Los Angeles Mars has seasons just like Earth

13 Evidence of seasons on Mars

14 Mars There are currently several probes and satellites around Mars and the Curiosity Rover on Mars  There is a planned mission to Mars within the next 30 years.

15 Pictures sent from Curiosity

16 Asteroid belt

17 Asteroid belt In between Mars and Jupiter
Made up of thousands of rock fragments that orbit around the sun Largest asteroids have been reclassified; now called Dwarf planets

18 Outer planets Which planets are included in the outer planets?

19 Outer planets Which planets are included in the outer planets?
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

20 Outer planets Which planets are included in the outer planets?
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune Made up mostly of frozen hydrogen and helium Atmospheres can be made of thick layers of methane and ammonia

21 Outer planets Also known as Gas Giants or Jovian Planets
Known to have a lot of moons due to large mass and gravitational pull Recently, the Cassini spacecraft took pictures of auroras occurring on Saturn’s poles

22 Jupiter A gas planet – mostly made of frozen H and He The largest planet with more than twice the mass of all of other planets put together Great Red Spot: an ongoing storm similar to a hurricane on Earth So big that it forms a miniature solar system (has 66 moons, some as big as planets) Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, is covered with active volcanoes

23 Saturn Another gas planet
Smaller than Jupiter, but has a larger diameter because of it’s rings Hundreds of rings made of chunks of ice and rocks, each traveling in it’s own orbit around Saturn Saturn is the only planet with a density less than water Its largest moon, Titan, shows us an atmosphere like Earth's before life developed.

24 Image from Cassini

25 Hubble telescope picture of auroras occurring on Saturn

26 Uranus Gas Planet Twice as far from the Sun as Saturn
Appears blue due to traces of methane gas in its atmosphere Axis tilted at a 90° angle, rotating from top to bottom, cosmic collision?

27 Neptune Discovered as a result of a mathematical prediction
Appears blue due to traces of methane gas in its atmosphere So far away that it takes 165 years to orbit the sun

28 Centaurs Group of objects orbiting between Jupiter and Neptune
9 discovered so far Unstable orbits; astronomers believe that they are refugees from the Kuiper Belt Some may become comets

29 Dwarf Planets New classification occurred in 2006
Orbits around the sun, has enough mass and gravity to pull it into a round shape, but does NOT clear the neighborhood around its orbit, NOT a moon

30 Dwarf Planets There are 5 dwarf planets known so far: Pluto Ceres Eris
Makemake Haumea

31 Kuiper Belt

32 Kuiper Belt This disk-shaped region of icy debris is about 4.5 to 7.5 billion km from the sun Pluto is in the Kuiper Belt Over 1000 objects discovered in the belt

33 Oort Cloud The Oort Cloud is an immense spherical cloud surrounding our Solar System. Said to be the outer edge of our solar system Scientists believe that this could be the area where comets come from that streak by the Earth Sedna – farthest known object in our solar system, considered to be in the oort cloud ¾ size of Pluto, freezing cold (-400 F) orbit takes 10,500 years

34 Comets Mixtures of ices and dusts
Least changed objects since the formation of the solar system 5 parts: nucleus, coma, hydrogen cloud, dust tail and ion tail Can only see it when its near the sun Halley’s comet – visible from Earth every 76 years. Next time we will see it is 2062.

35 Meteorites Called a meteoroid when it is in space
When a meteoroid passes into Earth’s atmosphere, the light given off is called a meteor Called a meteorite when the rock survives the atmosphere and impacts Earth’s surface


37 Meteor Crater, Arizona It’s circumference is 3 miles.

38 It is 550 feet deep (60 story building) and can hold 20 football fields on its floor.

39 Meteorite - Arizona

40 Mining operations occurred at the bottom
Mining operations occurred at the bottom. The area is now used by NASA for astronaut training because it resembles the surface of the moon.


42 Chicxulub crater – Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
More than 110 miles in diameter Believed by scientists to be the meteor that lead to the extinction of the dinosaurs due to climate change it caused

43 Vagabonds from Space Meteoroids
Meteoroids are rocky or icy fragments that travel through space. NASA estimates that 1500 objects larger than 0.6 miles (1 km) across exist in orbits near Earth. The smallest of these could destroy a city. The Near Earth Objects Program scans the skies to detect, catalogue and monitor these asteroids. The goal was to identify 90% of them by 2008.

44 Near Earth Objects Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than 100 meters in or near the asteroid belt that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with Earth. Astronomers continue to find new ones.

45 The Ones We Know About

46 Close Call February 15, 2013 Asteroid 2012 DA14 so close that it passed inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites At its closest, the asteroid will be only about 1/13th of the distance to the Moon

47 Exoplanets What does the word exo mean?

48 Exoplanets What does the word exo mean? What is an exoplanet?

49 Exoplanets What does the word exo mean? What is an exoplanet?
A planet outside of our solar system 528 discovered by the end of 2011 TODAY there are 909 confirmed with 2,704 possible others Astronomers are trying to determine if any of these can harbor life

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