Structure of the Solar System Arrangement of the planets, The sun acts as the center of our solar system, then Mercury proceeds it, Venus, the Earth, then Mars. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Lastly Neptune, then our dwarf planet, Pluto. Size of system The size of the solar system is approximately 9.5 light years in diameter. Distance from sun to outermost planet the distance from The Sun to Pluto is approximately 3.67 billion miles. Origin of the solar system The origin of the earths is believed, by scientists, to be from subatomic energy from infinite mass known as a â€˜singularityâ€™. How planets were formed Planets form from a collapse, or gravitational pull, in a nebula, cloud of gas and dust, that collects a sustaining amount density turning the nebula into a heated star which forms the core. then as the nebula collects more particles, the collapse further generates a large mass keeping itâ€™s contents together to create, what we call, a planet. A diagram of the solar system.
Sun: Structure and Composition Cut-away diagram of the structure of the sun
What the sun is made of The sun is made up of about 72% hydrogen, about 26% helium, and trace amounts of oxygen,carbon, neon, nitrogen, magnesium, iron and silicon. What goes on in the sun Basically, nuclear fusion. The gravitational pull of the sun is so great that the electrons of the hydrogen atoms get so energized that they abandon their protons and the protons can mash together to create other elements, like helium. The sunâ€™s size and mass The sun's circumference is about 2,713,406 million miles, and its mass is about 1.989 x 1030 What holds it together The outer layer of the sun is is made up of a plasma as well as itâ€™s gravity which holds the gases contained. The gravitational pull as well as the mass of the sun is what keeps it from rapidly expanding. Define core, radiation zone, convection zone, protosphere, and chromosphere. Be sure to label these in your diagram Core- Center of the sun Radiation Zone- The layer directly surrounding the core. Convection Zone- The outermost ring of the sun Protosphere- The outermost part of the suns atmosphere and the only part we can see Chromosphere- area between Protosphere and Cornoa
Sun: Flares, spots, and radiation Define and discuss corona, solar flares, prominences, and sunspots. The Corona is the outermost part of the sun that spreads through several millions of miles. A solar flare is a sudden bright flash of the suns surface indicating an energy release of 6 • 10^25 which is the equivalent of 160 trillion megatons of TNT. Prominences are eruptions of relatively cool spits of high density gases. Sunspots are dark spots on the surface of the sun. What causes the storms on the sun’s surface? The storms that occur on the Sun's’ surface are massive explosions of magnetic energy. Define radiation and discuss what type of radiation the sun gives off. Radiation is the emission and propagation and emission of energy in the form of rays or waves. The radiation given off from the sun comes in the form of Ultraviolet rays and infrared. The light that creates natural light on earth comes from this radiation. Though Radiation is admitted inside the sun as well, these are called gamma rays.
Mercury Mercury has a diameter of 88,700 miles at the equator. Mercury has a mass of 328.2â€˘10^21 kg Revolution around the sun in Earth years Mercury revolves around the sun in 87.969 earth days. less than one year. Rotation time in hours Mercury rotates every 59 days. Composition of planet and atmosphere Mercury's atmosphere is extremely thin due to the solar winds blowing it away. It contains very little gravity and itâ€™s constantly accumulating gas into its orbit which is really why it has any atmosphere at all. It contains low amounts of hydrogen, helium, and oxygen. Also even smaller amounts of sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Any special features of planet Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and the second hottest and second smallest planet in the Solar System. One of Mercury's major features is the Caloris Basin. This large basin (or maria) has a diameter of 1300 kilometers. Any moons No moons to speak of. Who discovered it Galileo discovered Mercury. Drawing or picture
Venus Diameter at equator 12,104 miles, or 95% of Earth’s equator. Mass 4.867E24 kg Revolution around the sun in Earth days 225 days to revolve Rotation time in hours 6,336 hours to rotate once on its axis. Composition of planet and atmosphere Since the surface of Venus is hot enough to melt lead, and no spacecraft have survived on the surface for longer than a few hours, there just isn’t the information about Venus’ internal composition. It’s atmosphere is almost completely made up of Carbon Dioxide, but nitrogen and sulfuric acid exist in small doses. Any special features of planet A special feature is that Venus rotates on its axis from east to west rather than from west to east as the planet Earth rotates. Any moons Venus has no moons. Who discovered it Galileo. Drawing or picture
Earth Diameter at equator 7,918 miles Mass 5,972E24 Revolution around the sun in Earth years 1 year (365 days) Rotation time in hours 24 hours Composition of planet and atmosphere In the atmosphere there is Nitrogen, Oxygen, Argon, Carbon Dioxide and fragments of other gases. Any special features of planet It has liquid water, plate tectonics, and an atmosphere that shelters it from the worst of the sun's rays. But many scientists agree our planet's most special feature might just be us. Any moons just 1 Who discovered it Philolaus Drawing or picture
Earth’s moon Diameter at equator 3,474 km Mass 7.35E22 Composition of moon and atmosphere Mostly Agon but there is a mixture of Helium, Sodium, Potassium, and trace amounts of Hydrogen as well. Map of surface showing main features, “seas,” and moon landings
Effects on Earth’s tides The moon has gravitational power, just like Earth does, and the moon's gravitational force exerts a powerful pull on the oceans on both sides of our planet. Phases of the moon 1st phase: First Quarter 2nd phase:Waxing Crescent 3rd phase: New Moon 4th phase: Waning Crescent 5th phase: Third Quarter 6th phase: Waning Gibbous 7th phase: Full Moon 8th phase: Waxing Gibbous Temperature on each side When the sun hits the surface of the moon, temperatures can rise to 253 degrees fahrenheit. While the other side can get minus 254 degrees fahrenheit. Discuss the dark side of the moon The dark side of the moon is the side that is permanently faced away from the sun.
Mars Diameter at equator 6,792 km Mass 639E21 kg Revolution around the sun in Earth years 686.971 Days (about 2 years) Rotation time in hours 24 hours 39 minutes and 35 seconds Composition of planet and atmosphere Carbon Dioxide, Nitrogen, and trace amounts of Argon. Any special features of planet The polar ice caps contain frozen water and frozen carbon dioxide, but it has been a long time since any liquid water flowed on the surface. Evidence of erosion and sediment indicate that it did exist, however, at some time in Mars' past. Any moons Two asteroid moons. Phobos, Deimos Who discovered it Considering Mars is bright enough to be seen from earth without a telascope, it is hard to tell who exactly discovered it. Drawing or picture
Discuss canals and polar caps The planet Mars has two permanent polar ice caps. During a pole's winter, it lies in continuous darkness, chilling the surface and causing the deposition of 25â€“30% of the atmosphere into slabs of CO2 ice.The canals of Mars were first discovered in the early 1800â€™s and were presumed to hold life, but by the early 20th century, improved astronomical observations revealed the "canals" to be an optical illusion, and modern high resolution mapping of the Martian surface by spacecraft shows no such features.
Asteroid Belt What are they and where did they come from? The asteroid belt is the region of the Solar System located roughly between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. It is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets.The asteroid belt formed from the primordial solar nebula as a group of planetesimals, the smaller precursors of the planets, which in turn formed protoplanets. Size it ranges to be approximately 93 million miles. Orbit Most asteroids within the asteroid belt have orbital eccentricities of less than 0.4, and an inclination of less than 30째. The orbital distribution of the asteroids reaches a maximum at an eccentricity of around 0.07 and an inclination below 4째.
Jupiter and its moons Diameter at equator 142,984 km Mass 1.898E27 Revolution around the sun in Earth years 11.86 earth yeas. Rotation time in hours 9.9 hours Composition of planet and atmosphere Jupiter is essentially all gas considering there is no solid ground on the planet. It is primarily hydrogen with about 10 percent Helium. Any special features of planet Jupiter's surface is covered in dark "belts" with lighter zones between them. These areas are created by atmospheric movements. Along these belts and zones, are light and dark oval spots that are storm winds. Discuss principle moons Jupiter's icy moon Europa is slightly smaller than the Earth's Moon. Like the Earth, Europa is thought to have an iron core, a rocky mantle and a surface ocean of salty water. Unlike on Earth, however, this ocean is deep enough to cover the whole surface of Europa, and being far from the sun, the ocean surface is globally frozen over. Who discovered it Jupiter is one of the 5 brightest planets, and considering human life has known about it for tens of thousands of years it is hard to determine who actually discovered it. Drawing or picture
Define gas giant A large planet of relatively low density consisting predominantly of hydrogen and helium, such as Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, or Neptune. Identify great red spot The great red dots are actually storms of lightning, inside jupiter and other gas planets. What is surface gravity? The surface gravity, g, of an astronomical or other object is the gravitational acceleration experienced at its surface.
Saturn and its rings Diameter at equator 120,536 km Mass 568.3E24 kg Revolution around the sun in Earth years 29.45 years Rotation time in hours 10 hours and 39 minutes Composition of planet and atmosphere Saturn's atmosphere is mostly made of the simple molecules hydrogen and helium. There is a lot of sulfur, which gives Saturn its yellow color. There is also nitrogen and oxygen. Discuss and diagram rings The rings of Saturn are the most extensive planetary ring system of any planet in the Solar System. They consist of countless small particles, ranging in size from micrometres to metres
Discuss moons The moons of Saturn are numerous and diverse ranging from tiny moonlets less than 1 kilometer across to the enormous Titan which is larger than the planet Mercury. Saturn has 62moons with confirmed orbits, 53 of which have names and only 13 of which have diameters larger than 50 kilometers. Saturn has seven moons that are large enough to be ellipsoidal due to having planetary mass, as well as dense rings with complex orbital motions of their own. Particularly notable among Saturn's moons are Titan, the second-largest moon in the Solar System, with a nitrogen-rich Earth-like atmosphere and a landscape including hydrocarbon lakesand dry river networks; and Enceladus, which emits jets of gas and dust and may harbor liquid water under its south pole region. Who discovered it Ping. K.L. Carver ThinkQuest Team 1998 Drawing or picture
Uranus Diameter at equator 51,118 km Mass 86.81E24 kg Revolution around the sun in Earth years 84.3 years to complete its orbit around the Sun Rotation time in hours 17 hours 14 minutes 24 seconds Composition of planet and atmosphere Uranus is a frozen, gaseous planet with a molten core. Uranus' atmosphere consists of 83% hydrogen, 15% helium and 2% methane. Any special features of planet Five of Uranus' moons have icy, cratered surfaces. The craters show that the moons have been hit by rocks from space. Uranus' moons also have lava flows on their surfaces, suggesting that material has erupted from inside each moon. Any moons 27 known moons. Spotting the post-Voyager moons is an impressive feat. They're tiny -- as little as 1216 km Who discovered it William Herschel Drawing or picture
Neptune Diameter at equator 48,682 km Mass 102.4E24 kg Revolution around the sun in Earth years 164.79 years Rotation time in hours 16 hours, 6 minutes and 36 seconds Composition of planet and atmosphere Neptune's atmosphere is made up predominately of hydrogen and helium, with some methane. The methane is part of what gives Neptune its brilliant blue tint, as it absorbs red light and reflects bluer colors. Any special features of planet Neptune has one storm system know as the Great Dark Spot. The storm system is thought to be rotating counter clockwise due to a spiral shape of both the dark boundary and the white cirrus surrounding the spot. Any moons Only one, Triton. Who discovered it Uranus is just bright enough to be seen from earth so is hard to tell who really discovered it first. Drawing or picture
Pluto Diameter at equator 4,878 km Mass 1.3E22 Revolution around the sun in Earth years 248 Earth years Rotation time in hours 153.36 hours Composition of planet and atmosphere Pluto's atmosphere is roughly 90% Nitrogen, and 10% other complex molecules such as methane. Any special features of planet luto is a super small celestial body -- so small in fact, that it's no longer considered an actual planet. It's now considered a "dwarf planet." So how small is it? It has a diameter of around 1,400 miles (2,300 kilometers), which is around one-fifth of the Earths diameter. Any moons Charon, Hydra, P5, Nix, P4 Who discovered it Clyde W. Tombaugh Drawing or picture
Why is it no longer considered a planet? What is it? Because Pluto is so small that itâ€™s size is not much bigger than some asteroids. It is now recognized as a dwarf planet.
Eclipses Discuss, define, and diagram both lunar and solar eclipses A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra. As seen from the Earth, a solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, and the Moon fully or partially blocks the sun.
Seasons Discuss and diagram how seasons happen The seasons are caused by two main things; the tilt of a planet’s axis of rotation and changing distance from the Sun. In the Earth’s case, the distance away from the Sun hardly changes during the year. The change in seasons, that occurs every three months, is due to the 23° tilt of Earth’s axis.
Comets Define A celestial object consisting of a nucleus of ice and dust and, when near the sun, a “tail” of gas and dust particles pointing away. What are they made of? Comet nuclei are loose collections of ice, dust and small rocky particles, ranging from a few kilometers to tens of kilometers across. Halley’s comet and others Halley's Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is the best-known of the short-period comets and is visible from Earth every 75–76 years. Halley is the only short-period comet that is clearly visible to the naked eye from Earth, and thus the only naked-eye comet that might appear twice in a human lifetime.] Other naked-eye comets may be brighter and more spectacular, but will appear only once in thousands of years. Comet Hale–Bopp (formally designated C/1995 O1) was perhaps the most widely observed comet of the 20th century and one of the brightest seen for many decades. It was visible to the naked eye for a record 18 months, twice as long as the previous record holder, the Great Comet of 1811.
Meteors Define A small body of matter from outer space that enters the earth's atmosphere, appearing as a streak of light. Discuss “shooting stars” A small, rapidly moving meteor burning up on entering the earth's atmosphere. which in retrospect isn’t really a star at all. What happens when they hit Earth’s atmosphere? Meteors are pieces of space rock, usually from larger comets or asteroids, which enter the Earth's atmosphere. Many are burned up by the heat of the atmosphere, but those that survive and strike the Earth are called meteorites. The puncture of the atmosphere causes a sonic blast that can be heard from miles, and felt. What are they typically made of? there are three main types of meteors, stony, iron and stony-iron. Most common are stony meteors which are made of dust and rocks while iron meteors are made from iron. The least common type is stony-iron, made from both metals and rocks. Largest? At 7.8 metre sq and 15.5 tonnes, Willamette is the largest meteorite found in the US Connection with dinosaurs? A meteor is what caused their extinction.
Milky Way and other Galaxies Define galaxy A system of millions or billions of stars, together with gas and dust, held together by gravitational attraction. Diagram the Milky Way
Where are we in our galaxy? We are in the plane of the disk of our Galaxy and about 1/3 the distance between one edge and the centre of the Galaxy - about 15,000 light years from the edge and about 30,000 light years from the centre. How many other galaxies are there? Estimates consider there being over hundreds of billions of galaxies. What kinds of galaxies are there? There are indeed different types of galaxies. The main types are spiral galaxies (like our own MilkyWay), elliptical galaxies and irregular galaxies. An irregular galaxy has an undefined shape and has lots of young stars, dust and gas. A spiral galaxy is shaped like a disk, usually with a bulge in the center and with arms that spiral outwards as the galaxy rotates. Spiral galaxies tend to contain more middle-aged stars along with clouds of gas and dust. Elliptical galaxies contain older stars and very little gas and dust. They can be different shapes ranging from round, to flattened, elongated spheres. How far to the next nearest galaxy and what is its name? 11.7 Million light-years away. the Canis Major Dwarf.
Kinds and lives of stars Define and discuss brightness, life cycle, red giant, white dwarf, black dwarf, pulsar or neutron star, black hole. Brightness: the location of a visual perception along a continuum from black to white Life Cycle: The series of changes in the life of an organism, including reproduction. Red Giant: A very large star of high luminosity and low surface temperature White Dwarf: A small very dense star that is typically the size of a planet. A white dwarf is formed when a low-mass star has exhausted all its. Black Dwarf: A black dwarf is a hypothetical stellar remnant, created when a white dwarf becomes sufficiently cool to no longer emit significant heat. Pulsar: A celestial object, thought to be a rapidly rotating neutron star, that emits regular pulses of radio waves at rates of up to one. Neutron Star: A celestial object of very small radius (typically 18 miles/30 km) and very high density, composed predominantly of closely packed. Black Star: A region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape Which lasts longer, a big star or a small star? Explain. No, big stars die out in a few million years whereas little stars may take billions or even trillions of years to die. This is because big stars use all of their energy up very quickly because they need to use lots of energy to keep them alive.
Copernicus and Galileo Who were they? When Copernicusâ€™ theory was first presented to the world, only a few astronomers took interest into it, but a famous Italian scientist, Galileo Galilei, became devoted to Copernicusâ€™ theory. In the early 17th century, Galileo made the telescope, which he is very famous When did they live? 1700â€™s Why are they important? Galileo, invented the telescope, and both Copericus discovered many vital aspects of our solar system and selective planets. What did they think? They believed in a heliocentric universe. This meaning that the earth was not the center of the universe. However, many people , including the church, did not agree with this theory. Instead they believed in a geocentric universe. Plato and Aristotle believed in this theory.
Light What is light? The natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible; electromagnetic radiation from about 390 to 740 nm in wavelength. How fast does it go? We know that light has a finite speed and it travels at the speed of 300,000 kilometers per second. Define and discuss ultraviolet, infrared, spectrum, photon, wave, and wavelength Ultraviolet: (of electromagnetic radiation) Having a wavelength shorter than that of the violet end of the visible spectrum but longer than that of. Infrared: (of electromagnetic radiation) Having a wavelength just greater than that of the red end of the visible light spectrum but less than. Spectrum: A band of colors, as seen in a rainbow, produced by separation of the components of light by their different degrees of refraction. Photon: A particle representing a quantum of light or other electromagnetic radiation. A photon carries energy proportional to the radiation Wave: A long body of water curling into an arched form and breaking on the shore Wavelength: The distance between successive crests of a wave, esp. points in a sound wave or electromagnetic wave.
Gravity Define and discuss The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass. For most purposes Newton's Law. Why is gravity important in astronomy? Give several examples. ● Gravity is a force of attraction that exists between any two objects. There is a force of gravity between the sun and the Earth, between the Earth and us, and even between two marbles. ● Projectiles, satellites, planets, galaxies, and clusters of galaxies are all influenced by Gravity. ● Gravity is the weakest of the four known forces of nature, yet the most dominant force. Even though it's the weakest force, Gravity holds together entire solar systems and galaxies! ● The law of universal gravitation says that every object attracts every other object with a force that, for any two objects, is directly proportional to the mass of each object and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the two objects. ● The gravitational formula is ● This is an example of the "inverse-square law": gravitational force varies as the inverse square of the distance between the two objects. As a result, the effect of Gravity falls rapidly as the distance increases between two objects. ● The best current estimate of G is that it eqauls about 6.67259 10-11 newton-square meter per square kilogram. ● The gravitational field for a planet, g, equals GM/Rsquared, where G is the mass of the planet and R is the distance of the object from the center of the planet (the planet's radius if the object is on the surface of the planet). This means that Gravity is greater where a planet is more massive and where it has a smaller radius. So even though Mars has only about 1/10th of the mass of the Earth, the gravitational force on the surface of Mars is more than 1/10th that on the surface of the Earth -- because Mars' surface is closer to the planet's surface! ● The force of attraction between you and the Earth is your weight. ● Gravity determines the "escape speed" for an object like a rocket. The stronger the gravitational pull of the object, the larger the escape speed. The following chart shows the escape speed for the sun, two planets, and the Earth's moon. Connection with mass and distance Gravity is a fundamental underlying force in the universe. The amount of gravity that something possesses is proportional to its mass and distance between it and another object
Orbits Define and discuss centrifugal and centripetal force Centrifugal:Moving or tending to move away from a center. Centripetal:Moving or tending to move toward a center. What shape are orbits? an orbit is the gravitationally curved path of an object around a point in space(circle) Connection with gravity and velocity In the context of classical theories of gravitation, the speed of gravity is the speed at which changes in a gravitational field propagate. This is the speed at which a change in the distribution of energy and momentum of matter results in subsequent alteration, at a distance, of the gravitational field which it produces.
Optional Topics (must choose six) ● Constellations: A group of stars forming a pattern that is traditionally named after its apparent form or identified with a mythological figure. ● Zodiac and astrology: The study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs. A belt of the heavens within about 8° either side of the ecliptic, including all apparent positions of the sun, moon, and planets ● Artificial satellites: (artificial satellite) satellite: man-made equipment that orbits around the earth or the moon. ● Space stations: A large artificial satellite used as a long-term base for manned operations in space. ● Voyager: Either of two American space probes launched in 1977 to investigate the outer planets. ● Gemini Project and moon landings ● Novas: A star showing a sudden large increase in brightness and then slowly returning to its original state over a few months. ● Mars probes: Mars Probes (2002) is a science fiction anthology of mostly all-new short stories edited by Peter Crowther. ● Hubble space telescope ● Radio astronomy ● Black holes ● Possibility of life in outer space ● UFO’s and aliens ● Space travel ● Space shuttle program ● History of rocketry ● Astronauts ● Space medicine ● The “Big Bang” and the origin of the universe ● Any other astronomy topic approved in advance by your teacher.
Area of Study
Independent Study (90)
Complete a 30 topic astronomy notebook according to instructions and rubric provided by the teacher. Include definitions, illustrations, and references.
Speculative Technology (20)
Write a written response to one of the videos shown in class, according to the instructions designated by the teacher. Prepare a “probe” on an approved astronomy topic according to the instructions and rubric provided by the teacher.
Research Paper (40)
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