Final Exam Questions and Answers.docx

Final Exam Questions and Answers.docx - 1 Describe the...

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1. Describe the scientific method and evaluate whether decision-making processes are consistent with the scientific method. Science consist of a hypothesis, theory and scientific method and it is based on the assumption the the world behaves in consistent and predidable manner. The steps are 1) observation, 2) develop hypothesis, 3) test hypothesis, 4) accept/moditify/reject 2. What are some examples of decision-making processes that are not consistent with the scientific method? 3. Describe the relative proportions of elements that make up everything (including us) in our solar system and explain where those elements originated. They originated by the Big Bang. After 1 second, the fundamental atomic particles were formed. After a few minutes the first elements (hydrogen and helium). After about 1 billion years (Gy), He and H start to clump. H formed during the big bang. He formed during the Big Bang and by nuclear fusion in stars. Death of star supernova: fusion creates heavier elements. Sun can create up to mass of iron (mass 56) by fusion. All heavier elements are produced by supernovae. 4. Identify the major characteristics (physical, chemical, dynamical) of our solar system that must be accounted for by any theory that explains how the solar system was formed. Dynamic Characteristics (i.e. motions) • Planets are isolated (spread out) and ordered • Planets’ orbits are coplanar with rotational plane of the Sun • Planets’ orbits are nearly circular (only slightly elliptical) • Sun’s rotation and the planets’ revolutions around the Sun are in the same direction • Most planets rotate the same direction as does the Sun • Moon systems around planets mimic the planetary system • Sun contains 99% of the mass Chemical Characteristics • There is a progressive change in planetary composition with distance from the Sun The closer to the Sun: • the higher the percentage of metals/rocky material • the lower the percentage of volatiles. Volatiles are compounds such as methane, ammonia, water that are relatively easy to break apart. This forms a natural division between: • the smaller, inner, rocky/metallic, “terrestrial” planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars and the dwarf planet Ceres) and • the larger, outer, Gas Giant or “Jovian” planets that have a much higher proportion of volatiles as well as hydrogen and helium (Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus.
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Note that Pluto and Eris are far too small to have much H and He since their gravitational fields aren’t strong enough to ‘hold’ it from escaping to space.) 5. Explain the processes that likely led to our solar system's compositional gradient and the dramatic size differences between the terrestrial planets, gas giants, and outer planets/comets.
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