astronomy 101 - Astronomy November 29, 2011 Terrestrial...

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Unformatted text preview: Astronomy November 29, 2011 Terrestrial planets vs. Jovian planets Terrestrial Planets:- Small size, low mass- High density- Mostly rock and metal- Moons are rare, no rings- Close to the Sun and close to each other- Solid surface Jovian Planets:- Much bigger and more massive- Low density- Mostly hydrogen, helium, and hydrogen molecules- Many moons, sometimes rings- Far from the sun and far apart from each other- Gaseous surface Patterns of motion in the Solar System- Most of the planetary orbits are nearly circular.- Moreover, the orbits are nearly in the same plane! (Except for Pluto)- All planets orbit in the same direction, and most planets rotate in the same direction with only small tilts. The Sun also rotates in that same direction. Exceptions: Venus, Uranus, Pluto- The large moons of various planets show similarly consistent motions, for the most part. Asteroids vs. Comets- Both are relatively small objects that orbit the Sun in huge numbers- Asteroids are small and rocky; largest ones are a few hundred km across- Roughly 10,000 asteroids have been cataloged, but we only see the big ones easily (most shooting stars are small, uncataloged asteroids)- Unlike asteroids, comets are icy- There are vastly more comets than asteroids. The Layout of the Solar System: Asteroid & Comet Summary 1. Asteroid belt : disk-like distribution of asteroids between Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids all orbit in the same direction. 2. Kuiper Belt : disk-like distribution of comets found between 30 and 100 AU. All orbit in the same direction. 3. Oort cloud : spherical distribution of comets from up to 50,000 AU away. All orbit in the same direction....
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2012 for the course ASTRON 101 taught by Professor Schneider during the Fall '08 term at UMass (Amherst).

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astronomy 101 - Astronomy November 29, 2011 Terrestrial...

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