Planetary Motion1

Planetary Motion1 - Planetary Motions There are other...

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Planetary Motions There are other celestial objects that drift eastward with respect to the stars. They are the planets (Greek for ``wanderers''). There is much to be learned from observing the planetary motions with just the naked eye (i.e., no telescope). There are 5 planets visible without a telescope, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn (6 if you include Uranus for those with sharp eyes!). All of them move within 7 degrees of the ecliptic. This tells you something about of the orientation of the planet orbit planes with respect to the ecliptic---the figure below shows how flat the solar system is when viewed along the ecliptic plane. The planet positions, of course, do change as they orbit the Sun, but the orbit orientations remain the same. The arrow pointing to Polaris in the solar system picture is tilted by 23.5 degrees because the Earth's rotation axis is tilted by 23.5 degrees with respect to the ecliptic. As viewed from the Earth, two of the planets (Mercury and Venus) are never far from the Sun. Venus can get about
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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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Planetary Motion1 - Planetary Motions There are other...

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