Densities and Compositions

Densities and Compositions - Densities and Compositions An...

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Densities and Compositions An important property of a planet that tells what a planet is made of is its density . A planet's density is how much material it has in the space the planet occupies: density = mass/volume . Planets can have a wide range of sizes and masses but planets made of the same material will have the same density regardless of their size and mass. For example, a huge, massive planet can have the same density as a small, low-mass planet if they are made of the same material. I will specify the density relative to the density of pure water because it has an easy density to rememeber: 1 gram/centimeter 3 or 1000 kilograms/meter 3 . The four planets closest to the Sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars) are called the terrestrial planets because they are like the Earth: small rocky worlds with relatively thin atmospheres.
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The terrestrial planets to the same scale (using images from NASA and JPL ). From top left and proceeding clockwise: Earth, Venus, Mercury, Mars (at bottom left). Terrestrial (Earth-like) planets have overall densities = 4-5 (relative to the density of water) with
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.

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Densities and Compositions - Densities and Compositions An...

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