solar_systems_p1 - The Solar System (Ch. 6 in text) We will...

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The Solar System (Ch. 6 in text) We will skip from Ch. 6 to Ch. 15, only a survey of the solar system, the discovery of extrasolar planets (in more detail than the textbook), and the formation of planetary systems (also in somewhat more detail). No details on individual planets--but I suggest you flip through those chapters between 6 and 15. Remember: material is only online. The solar system consists of the Sun (a typical star), orbited by 9 (now 8) planets (be able to name them!), about 40 moons , asteroids , and a large number of comets . Most of the objects have nearly circular (but still elliptical) orbits, but some (especially the comets) have extremely eccentric orbits. (Why?) The sun is ~ 1000 times more massive than the rest of the solar system, and over 100,000 times more massive than the Earth, although it’s radius is “only” about 100 times that of the Earth. (If these numbers were correct, can you tell whether the Sun is more or less dense than the Earth? Density = Mass/Volume.) Because of its mass, the Sun’s gravity controls the motions of the other members of the solar system. (Think: Newton’s law of gravity)
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Planets : Name Distance from Sun Satellites Year Day Mercury 0.4AU 0 0.2 yr 60 days Venus 0 0.6 yr 243 days* Earth 1 1 yr 1 day Mars 1.5 2 2 yr 1 day Terrestrial planets are similar in size, mass, density, and composition ( rock and iron ) Asteroid Belt—probably “failed planet” Jupiter (largest) 5 70? 12 yr 10 hr Saturn (rings) 10 35? 30 yr Uranus 20 30? 80 yr * Neptune 30 15? 160 yr Giant (or Jovian, or gas giant) planets are larger, much more massive , much lower density (showing they are composed of lighter elements, especially large amounts of hydrogen ). Belted weather systems (most famous feature: Jupiter’s “Great Red Spot”). Pluto 40 AU 1 ~250 yr * * means peculiar orbit or rotation. --> 2006: Pluto demoted to non-planet status. Notice that a few objects have peculiar orbits and rotation ; e.g. Venus, Neptune, Pluto,… This suggests collisions with other large “planetesimals” when solar system was forming. They are crucial clues to the formation of our solar system.
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The most important thing to remember is the differences in properties between the terrestrial planets and jovian planets , as summarized in Table 6.2 (p. 152). Those are also big clues about how the solar system formed, so
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course AST 301 taught by Professor Harvey during the Fall '07 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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solar_systems_p1 - The Solar System (Ch. 6 in text) We will...

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