ERSC 1P94 Module Notes - Module 1.pdf

Philip Pocock Catholic Secondary School*
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Feb 10, 2024
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Module 1 1. The Solar System (Introduction) - We live in a solar system with our star (the sun) at its center - In orbit around that sun are 8 planets, 5 dwarf planets, 181 moons, an an enormous number of small solar system bodies that range in size from about 950 km in diameter to mere specs of solid material - The whole thing is approximately 4.6 billion years old - As earthlings, we see Earth as the most important body of the solar system followed by the Sun, as we live on Earth and the Sun keeps us warm and the water wet. However, the total mass of the Earth amount to only 0.2% of the total mass of all the other planets combined - The Sun accounts for 99.86% of the solar system's mass, with planets accounting for the remaining 0.14% - Earth happens to be in the right location to have conditions that allowed for the creation of life and the evolution for early simple life to evolve to the diversity of complex life that includes humans 2. Planetary Facts - Order planets in order from the closest to the sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune - A dozen new moons were found of Jupiter in June 2018, increasing the number from 67 to 79 - Planets divide nicely into 2 categories: Terrestrial Planets and the Outer Planets 3. Terrestrial Planets - The inner or terrestrial planets consist of Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars - All of these planets are relatively high-density bodies rich in silicate rocks and iron with varying densities from 3933-5514kg/m^3 - These planets are denser than most rocks we find on the surface, we know that they must contain denser material in their interior, such as Earth which has an iron/nickel core - The other big difference between the two categories is that terrestrial plants have a solid surface, usually consisting of canyons, craters, mountains, and volcanoes 4. The Outer Planets
- The outer, Jovian (named after Jupiter) planets consist of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune - The planets are usually large in diameter, their densities are relatively low, ranging from 687 to 1638kg/m^3 - With a density of less than 1g/cm^3, Saturn would theoretically float on water - These planets cannot be rocky builds and they are indeed primarily composed of gases and liquids, with their surface pressures unknown because their surfaces are deep in their atmospheres - These plants have also acquired a large number of moons 5. Pluto
- Former Planet, now proud Dwarf Planet - It was discovered in 1930 and was classified as the ninth planet for ~75 years, but a new definition adopted by the International Astronomical Union meant Pluto was excluded - Now being a dwarf plant, it is #134340 in the minor planet catalog - In terms of size and density Pluto is very similar to Neptune's moon Triton - Pluto is not the only dwarf planet. Another common one is named Ceres, which is located inside the Asteroid Belt between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter 6. Orbits, Rotation and Temperature - All planets orbit the Sun in the same sense - Each planet rotates and the axis and sense of rotation of these planets is very similar - With the exception of Venus, Uranus and Pluto, the rotation axes of the planets are approximately parallel to the rotations axis of the sun and the sense of rotation is the same as illustrated in this image - As expected, planetary temperature decreases with increasing distance from the Sun
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