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Lecture 7 - The Solar System

Lecture 7 - The Solar System - The Solar System ASTRONOMY 3...

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The Solar System ASTRONOMY 3 Lesson 7 1 Note: The sizes of the planets and Sun are plotted to scale, but not the distances between them!
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NATURE of the Universe Review of Lesson 6 Astronomy - The Solar System • Telescopes are either refractors (collect the light with a lens ) or reflectors (collect the light with a mirror ). • Larger telescopes collect more photons. The light-gathering power scales with the area of the telescope. • The angular resolution of a telescope is proportional to the observing wavelength and inversely proportional to the diameter of the telescope. The smaller the angular resolution gets, the better it is. • Gamma rays , X-rays and far infrared radiation are absorbed by the atmosphere . For observations in these regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, telescopes have to be placed above Earth’s atmospheres. 2
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NATURE of the Universe Questions from Lesson 6 Astronomy - The Solar System Think about (questions from Lesson 6): • Why do all planets orbit the Sun in the same direction? • Why do all planets orbit the Sun in the same plane (the ecliptic)? 3
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• Inventory of the Solar System (Ch. 4.1) • Interplanetary Matter (Ch. 4.2) • The Formation of the Solar System (Ch. 4.3) • Summary & Homework • Extra Credits (Essay) & Review of Homework 1 NATURE of the Universe Today’s Topics Astronomy - The Solar System 4
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NATURE of the Universe Inventory of the Solar System Astronomy - The Solar System The 8 planets and the 3 currently known dwarf planets of the solar system. 5
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NATURE of the Universe Inventory of the Solar System Astronomy - The Solar System All planets orbit the Sun in a plane close to the ecliptic. Pluto’s orbit is inclined by 17 degree with respect to the ecliptic. “Side view ” of the Solar System 6 See http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap020510.html for more details on how the image showing the 5 planets was obtained.
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NATURE of the Universe Inventory of the Solar System Astronomy - The Solar System “Top view ” of the Solar System All planets orbit the Sun in the same direction. 7
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NATURE of the Universe Inventory of the Solar System Astronomy - The Solar System Despite the large variety of solar system objects, the solar system consists largely of empty space! Pluto’s orbit is highly eccentric and actually crosses the orbit of Neptune. In the time it takes Neptune to orbit 3 times around the Sun, Pluto completes 2 orbits. “Top view ” of the Solar System Note that Neptune is almost 6 times farther away from the Sun than Jupiter. 8
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NATURE of the Universe Inventory of the Solar System Astronomy - The Solar System Physical Properties of Planets and Dwarf Planets in the Solar System Rotation Period can be observed Orbital period P can be observed Distance from the Sun can be calculated from Kepler’s 3rd law: P 2 = a 3 (with P = Period in years, and a = semi-major axis in AU) Radius (diameter) can be computed from the angular size and the known distance Masses for all planets with moons (or artificial satellites) can be derived from Newton’s laws Density (mass divided by the volume ) can be calculated from the radius and the mass 9
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