phys0001_chapter10

phys0001_chapter10 - Chapter 10 Small Objects in the Solar...

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Chapter 10 Small Objects in the Solar System Apart from the Sun and the eight major planets, there are also many small objects in our solar system. Among them, the largest is Eris , discovered in 2005. It is classified as a dwarf planet. In this chapter, we will discuss the second largest dwarf planet, Pluto, and others small object including comets, asteroids and meteoroids. Pluto Pluto is not classified into either the terrestrial or Jovian planets due to its special features. We do not understand much about Pluto partly because it is very far away from us and partly because Pluto is the only major planet that has not been visited by a spacecraft. (In contrast, spacecraft have flown by comets and asteroids.) The mass of Pluto is less than 1% of the Earth's, and its radius is about 1150 km. It is even smaller than the Moon, as the radius of the Moon is about 1740 km. Its density is roughly 2.3 times that of water. Usually, the Jovian planets have density less than 2, while terrestrial planets have density more than 5. The orbit of Pluto is special. It is inclined 17.2° to the ecliptic. Moreover, part of its orbit lies inside Neptune's. As a result, Neptune was even farther away from the Sun from 1979 to 1999.
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This note was uploaded on 10/14/2010 for the course BSC phy1001 taught by Professor Prof during the Spring '10 term at HKU.

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phys0001_chapter10 - Chapter 10 Small Objects in the Solar...

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