01_SurveySolarSys

01_SurveySolarSys - GEL36 SOLAR SYSTEM Lecture 1: Survey of...

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GEL36 SOLAR SYSTEM Lecture 1: “Survey of the Solar System” (Ch. 19, p. 401-407) Goal of the Lecture: Introduce the main features of the solar system: what we can see and measure. Then, during the next class, we’ll use these observational data as evidence for the solar nebula hypothesis for the origin of the solar system. Our solar system - eight planets, three dwarf planets (and likely many more), ~170 moons, and space debris (asteroids & comets), all orbiting around the sun - is part of one star system among about 100 billion within our Milky Way galaxy. And our galaxy is one of many billions of galaxies within the universe . . . . Survey of the Solar System Empty space . . . You’ll learn in discussion this week that the Universe is mostly empty space. The same goes for the solar system. astronomical unit (AU) is the average distance from Earth to the sun 1 AU = 93 x 10 6 miles or 150 x 10 6 km Interplanetary space - Nearly all the solar system by volume appears to be an empty void. Far from being nothingness, this vacuum of "space" includes various forms of energy and at least two material components: interplanetary dust and interplanetary gas . Interplanetary dust consists of submicroscopic solid particles a few molecules big. Interplanetary gas is a tenuous flow of gas and charged particles, mostly protons and electrons - plasma - which stream from the Sun, called the solar wind. (much more on this later) Six basic characteristics of the solar system . . . 1) Centralized mass - >99% of the mass of the solar system is contained in the sun - the mass of the planets, >170 moons, and assorted asteroids and comets is tiny compared to the total mass of the sun
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This note was uploaded on 05/31/2011 for the course GEL 36 taught by Professor Osleger,d during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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01_SurveySolarSys - GEL36 SOLAR SYSTEM Lecture 1: Survey of...

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