Chapter 24

Chapter 24 - Note that the following lectures include...

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Note that the following lectures include animations and PowerPoint effects such as fly ins and transitions that require you to be in PowerPoint's Slide Show mode (presentation mode).
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Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto Chapter 24
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In the three previous chapters, we have used our tools of comparative planetology to study other worlds, and we continue that theme in this chapter. A second theme running through this chapter is the nature of astronomical discovery. Unlike the other planets in our solar system, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto were discovered, and the story of their discovery helps us understand how science progresses. As we probe the outer fringes of our planetary system in this chapter, we see strong evidence of smaller bodies that fall through the solar system and impact planets and satellites. The next chapter will allow us to study these small bodies in detail and will give us new evidence that our solar system formed from a solar nebula. Guidepost
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I. Uranus A. The Discovery of Uranus B. The Motion of Uranus C. The Atmosphere of Uranus D. The Interior of Uranus E. The Rings of Uranus F. The Moons of Uranus G. A History of Uranus II. Neptune A. The Discovery of Neptune B. The Atmosphere and Interior of Neptune C. The Rings of Neptune D. The Moons of Neptune E. The History of Neptune Outline
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III. Pluto A. The Discovery of Pluto B. Pluto as a Planet C. The Origin of Pluto and Charon Outline (continued)
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Uranus Chance discovery by William Herschel in 1781, while scanning the sky for nearby objects with measurable parallax: discovered Uranus as slightly extended object, ~ 3.7 arc seconds in diameter.
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The Motion of Uranus Very unusual orientation of rotation axis: Almost in the orbital plane. Large portions of the planet exposed to “eternal” sunlight for many years, then complete darkness for many years! Possibly result of impact of a large planetesimal during the phase of planet formation. 19.18 AU 97.9 o
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The Atmosphere of Uranus Like other gas giants: No surface. Gradual transition from gas phase to fluid interior. Mostly H; 15 % He, a few % Methane, ammonia and water vapor. Optical view from Earth: Blue color due to methane, absorbing longer wavelengths Cloud structures only visible after artificial computer enhancement of optical images taken from Voyager spacecraft.
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The Structure of Uranus’ Atmosphere Only one layer of Methane clouds (in contrast to 3 cloud layers on Jupiter and Saturn). 3 cloud layers in Jupiter and Saturn form at relatively high temperatures that occur only very deep in Uranus’ atmosphere. Uranus’ cloud layer difficult to see because of thick atmosphere above it. Also shows belt-zone structure Belt-zone cloud structure must be dominated by planet’s rotation, not by incidence angle of sun light!
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Planetary Atmospheres (SLIDESHOW MODE ONLY)
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Hubble Space Telescope image of Uranus shows cloud structures not present during Voyager’s passage in 1986.
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This note was uploaded on 11/04/2011 for the course PHYS 227 taught by Professor Professorroberts during the Fall '11 term at BYU.

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Chapter 24 - Note that the following lectures include...

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