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3A The Solar System An Inventory. 3A Six Planets What is the Solar System? Answer: The system of objects in the solar neighborhood (near the Sun) What.

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Presentation on theme: "3A The Solar System An Inventory. 3A Six Planets What is the Solar System? Answer: The system of objects in the solar neighborhood (near the Sun) What."— Presentation transcript:

1 3A The Solar System An Inventory

2 3A Six Planets What is the Solar System? Answer: The system of objects in the solar neighborhood (near the Sun) What are these objects? One Star Nine Planets Dozens of moons Thousands of asteroidsTrillions of comets

3 3A The Discovered Planets All planets through Saturn known since the ancients – all you have to do is look up to see them Uranus discovered in 1781 by William Herschel –He wanted to name the planet “Georgium Sidus” after his king and patron, George III of England Neptune was first seen in 1846 by Johann Galle using predictions by Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier and John Couch Adams Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh at Lowell observatory

4 3A Size and Scale

5 3A Planets The first step to studying planets? Compare and contrast What are important quantities? You have: –A stick –A tree –A car –A house What are the important quantities?

6 3A Planetary Properties

7 3A Density and Mass What is mass? –Mass is similar to weight, it measures how much stuff an object is made of –Example: A bowling ball and a soccer ball are about the same size, but have different masses What is density? –Density is mass per volume. It helps to tell you what kind of stuff an object is made of –Example: A log and a tree have different masses (and sizes), but the same density because they are made of the same stuff

8 3A Terrestrial Planets Close to the sun Small –Mass –Radius High density –Primarily rocky –Solid surface Weak magnetic field Few moons No rings

9 3A Jovian Planets Far from the sun Large –Mass –Radius Low density –Primarily gaseous –No solid surface Strong magnetic fields Many moons Many rings

10 3A What About Pluto? Pluto does not easily fit into either category –Far from the sun (jovian) –Small (terrestrial) –Neither rocky nor gaseous (icy) –One moon –No rings It is similar is composition to some moons in the outer solar system and its orbit is similar to a group of objects called “Kuiper Belt Objects” or KBOs

11 3A Pluto Only planet in our Solar System that has not been visited by a NASA (or any other) spacecraft

12 3A Charon Largest of any moon in relation to the planet it orbits (1/2 the size of Pluto) Pluto and Charon are tidally locked to each other (always show the same face) Charon discovered in 1978 by astronomers at the US Naval Observatory

13 3A Formation Where did the Solar System come from? First, what observations can we make that will constrain the origin of the Solar System?

14 3A Model Requirements 1.Planet’s are isolated 2.Planetary orbits are nearly circular 3.All planetary orbits lie in the same plane 4.All planets orbit in the same direction as the Sun’s rotation 5.All planets rotate in the same direction as the Sun 6.Most moons rotate in the same direction as the planet they orbit 7.The planetary system is highly differentiated

15 3A In general, planets get less dense as they get further from the Sun They go from being composed of metals, to rocks, to ices, to gases In other words, they go from being made of things with high melting temperatures to things with low melting temperatures Differentiation

16 3A Highlights of the current theory Nebular contraction –Mutual gravity causes contraction –Conservation of momentum increases speed Planetary formation (accretion)

17 3A Differentiation revisited As the solar nebula contracted, the center became hotter than the rest of the cloud As elements condensed out of the nebulae, temperature determined which could form

18 3A Clearing of the nebula After the planets formed, some small debris still remained. All of these small objects were affected by the gravity of the much larger planets. The debris either: 1.Hit a planet 2.Hit the Sun 3.Was thrown out of the area near the planets – becoming KBOs

19 3A Explaining observation Matching model requirements: –Point (1) is due to planetesimal growth –Points (2), (3), (4), (5), and (6) are due to conservation of angular momentum and gravitational collapse –Point (7) is due to the heating in the nebula Anomalies: –Retrograde rotation of Venus –Uranus’ axial tilt –The Earth’s moon –All can be explained by impacts of protoplanets into the planet soon after its formation


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