January 18 - Planet Formation

January 18 - Planet Formation - EVSC280 - Geology The Big...

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EVSC280 - Geology
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The Big Bang What happened at the very beginning of our universe? From an infinitesimally small, infinitely hot, infinitely dense “singularity”, our universe began expanding and cooling around 13.7 billion years ago at the moment of the “big bang”. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe.
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Solar Nebula Our solar system began forming within a concentration of interstellar dust and hydrogen gas called a molecular cloud. The cloud contracted under its own gravity and our proto-sun formed in the hot dense center. The remainder of the cloud formed a swirling disk called the solar nebula.
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Planetesimals Dust and ice particles in the nebula occasionally collided and merged. Through accretion, microscropic particles formed larger bodies that eventually became planetesimals (km’s across). In the inner, hotter part of the solar nebula, planetisimals were composed mostly of silicates and metals.
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Terrestrial Planets of the Inner Solar System Asteroids are rocky remnants from our early solar system and most orbit between the inner and outer planets in the Asteroid belt. Asteroids occasionally reach Earth’s surface as meteorites, providing information about the formation of our inner solar system.
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Planetary Layers In violent collisions of accreting plaetesimals, impact energy was converted to heat. Also, radioactive decay of unstable nuclei such as Uranium and Thorium releases heat. The inner
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2008 for the course EVSC 280 taught by Professor Herman during the Spring '08 term at UVA.

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January 18 - Planet Formation - EVSC280 - Geology The Big...

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