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Welcome to the Solar System A Celestial Alignment Why do they line up? Image from:

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Presentation on theme: "Welcome to the Solar System A Celestial Alignment Why do they line up? Image from:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Welcome to the Solar System A Celestial Alignment Why do they line up? Image from:

2 Moons also orbit in the same plane Jupiters equitorial bands show the eliptic (tilt = 0) Image:

3 Orbits in the Ecliptic This also includes ring systems!

4 The Solar Disk Seen from a 100 AU Solar system is a dusty disk

5 The Layout of the Solar System Large bodies in the Solar System have orderly motions –planets orbit counterclockwise in same plane –orbits are almost circular –the Sun and most planets rotate counterclockwise –most moons orbit counterclockwise

6 The Layout of the Solar System Pl anets fall into two main categories –Terrestrial (i.e. Earth-like) –Jovian (i.e. Jupiter-like or gaseous)

7 Mars Neptune TerrestrialJovian

8 Mars and Neptune to Scale



11 The Layout of the Solar System Swarms of asteroids and comets populate the Solar System

12 Comets are found in two main Zones: The Kuiper Belt The Oort Cloud The Oort cloud goes from 5000 to 50,000 AU or further!

13 When Comets are disturbed from their orbits.. They end up in eliptical orbits.. Encounters with Jovian Planets speed them up or slow them down… The Oort Cloud is the shell of slow moving comets at aphelion Speeds at aphelion might be a few cm/sec! If and when they approach the Sun, the move much faster!

14 They Also Grow Tails… Image from APOD Image from APOD (credit and copyright Jimmy Westlake)

15 Not everything fits perfectly The line between planet and comet is not clear! Pluto, Quoar, Viruna, Xenia, and Sedna are all Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) Or the Solar system has at least 13 planets…or 8 major planets and 5 + minor planets! Check out: ineplanets/nineplanets.html ineplanets/nineplanets.html Artists conception of Xenia and the Solar System…100AU from Sun. Note the 44 degree tilt of orbit.

16 Quoars Orbit

17 Meet some new family members

18 How out does the solar system go?

19 A Few (more) Exceptions to the Rules… Both Uranus & Pluto are tilted on their sides. Venus rotates backwards (i.e. clockwise). Triton orbits Neptune backwards. Earth is the only terrestrial planet with a relatively large moon. Density decreases from Mercury outward, but Earth is more dense than any other planet!

20 A Brief Tour of the Solar System -- Motions

21 What is density? density = mass/volume typical units: [ g/cm 3 ] Density of water is defined as 1 g/cm 3. Density of typical Metal is 10 g/cm3

22 A Brief Tour of the Solar System – Composition

23 A Brief Tour of the Solar System – Summary

24 Spacecraft Missions--categories 1. Flyby – spacecraft flies by a world just once 2. Orbiter – spacecraft orbits the world it studies –longer-term study is allowed 3. Lander/Probe – spacecraft lands on the surface of the world or plunges through its atmosphere 4. Sample Return – spacecraft returns to Earth with a sample of the world it has studied These types of mission are listed in order of increasing cost.

25 Missions to Other Worlds Upcoming missions: Deep Impact: Crashed into comet Temple 1 July Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: Low meter surface resolution! Launched Aug 12..Arives Nov 06. New Horizons: Orbiter to Pluto/Charon leave 2006 – arrive 2020!

26 Highlights of coming attractions Mercurys extreme days and nights, tall steep cliffs, and large iron content Venuss extreme greenhouse effect Earth as an oasis of life Evidence on Mars for a past, wet era Jupiters hydrogen and helium atmosphere and its many moons Saturns rings and its moon Titan, which is larger than Mercury Uranus and its moons: a system tipped on its side compared to the other planets Neptunes largest moon, Triton, with nitrogen geysers and a backward orbit Pluto as a member of the family of Minor Planets!

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