Solar System Models Lab

# Solar System Models Lab - Solar System Models Lab Worksheet...

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Solar System Models Lab Worksheet Enter your answers to each question in the data tables and yellow highlighted areas below. When completed, please save the file and attach it to the Solar System Models Lab Assignment in Canvas. This lab is adapted from the Nebraska Astronomy Applet Project. If document links are broken, you can find all necessary pages from this site: . PRELAB QUESTIONS 1. Look at the Animation of the Copernican Solar System on the Heliocentrism page. What relationship do you notice between how fast a planet moves in its orbit and its distance from the Sun? The closer the planets are to the sun, the faster they orbit and the farther are the planets from the sun, the slower they orbit. 2. The table below concerns various elongation configurations for a hypothetical superior planet. Complete any missing elongations, terminology, or lettered labels on the drawing where the Sun and Earth are shown. Location Elongation Term A 180° opposition B 90 Western Quadrature C 0 Conjunction D East 120° XXX 3. The table below concerns various elongation configurations for a hypothetical inferior planet. Complete any missing elongations, terminology, or lettered labels on the drawing where the Sun and Earth are shown.

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Location Elongation Term A 0 Superior Conjunction B 0 Inferior Conjunction C 46.1 Elongation Eastern D West 20° XXX EXERCISES A. Synodic Periods Open up the Planetary Configurations Simulator and complete the following exercises. 4. In this exercise we will measure the synodic period of Mercury. Set the observer’s planet to Earth and the target planet to Mercury. The synodic period of a planet is the time it takes to go from one elongation configuration to the next occurrence of that same configuration. However, it makes sense to use an easily recognized configuration like superior conjunction. Drag a planet (or the timeline) until Mercury is at superior conjunction. Now zero the counter, click start animation , and observe the counter. A synodic period is that time until Mercury is once again at superior conjunction. Synodic period of Mercury? 0.322 year 5. In the previous exercise superior conjunction was used as the reference configuration, but in practice it is not the best elongation configuration to use. Explain why. What is the best elongation configuration to use? (Hint: when is an inferior planet easiest to observe in the sky?) Do you get the same result for the synodic period you got in #4?
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