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Small Bodies in the Solar System PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Pgs. 83 - 87. Small Bodies in the Solar System. Comets. A comet is a small body of ice, rock and cosmic dust loosely packed together. They are sometimes referred to as “dirty snowballs” because of their composition. They are most likely leftovers from the process of planet formation.

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Small Bodies in the Solar System

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Pgs 83 87

Pgs. 83 - 87

Small Bodies in the Solar System


Comets

Comets

  • A comet is a small body of ice, rock and cosmic dust loosely packed together.

  • They are sometimes referred to as “dirty snowballs” because of their composition.

  • They are most likely leftovers from the process of planet formation.

  • Scientists try to study comets to piece together the physical and chemical history of the solar system.


Comet tails

Comet Tails

  • When a comet passes close enough to the sun, solar radiation heats the water ice so that the comet gives off gas and dust.

  • Sometimes a comet shows two tails: an ion tail and a dust tail.

  • An ion tail consists of electrically charged particles called ions.

  • The dust tail are bits of rock particles.

  • The nucleus of the comet is the solid center of the comet.

  • Nuclei can range .5 – 100km in diameter.


Comet orbits

Comet Orbits

  • Comet orbits are highly elliptical; very elongated circles.

  • A comet’s ion tail always points directly away from the sun.

  • The sun gives of solar wind that blows the comet’s tail away from the sun.

  • The dust tail follows the comet’s orbit and does not always face away from the sun.


Comet origins

Comet Origins

  • Scientists think that comets come from a spherical region called the Oort cloud, that surrounds the solar system.

  • When the gravity of a passing planet or star disturbs part of the cloud, comets can be pulled toward the sun.

  • Another possible origin is just outside Neptune’s orbit called the Kuiper belt.


Asteroids

Asteroids

  • Asteroids are small rocky bodies in orbit around the sun.

  • They range in size from a few meters to 900km in diameter.

  • They have irregular shapes.

  • Most orbit the sun between Mars and Jupiter in an area called the Asteroid belt.


Types of asteroids

Types of Asteroids

  • Asteroids are classified based on where they are located within the asteroid belt.

  • Those in the outermost region of the belt are dark reddish brown to black in color, indicating organic matter.

  • Closer to the sun, they have dark gray surfaces, indicating carbon.

  • The innermost asteroids are light gray in color, indicating a stony/metallic composition


Meteoroids

Meteoroids

  • A meteoroid is a small rocky body orbiting the sun.

  • They are similar to asteroids but much smaller.

  • A meteorite is a meteoroid that enters Earth’s atmosphere and hits the ground.

  • As it falls to Earth, the atmosphere burns up much of a meteoroid’s matter.

  • If a meteoroid falls to Earth, but burns up before hitting the ground it is a meteor (shooting star).


Meteor showers

Meteor Showers

  • Meteors are small pebble sized rocks and can be seen on clear nights, away from city light.

  • At certain times of the year, large amount of dust particles enter the atmosphere forming meteor showers.


Types of meteorites

Types of Meteorites

  • The three types of meteorites are stony, metallic and stony-iron.

  • Scientists study the meteorites that fall to Earth in order to study the solar system and its building blocks.


The role of impacts in the solar system and earth

The Role of Impacts in the Solar System and Earth

  • Celestial bodies without atmospheres have more impact craters than those that do.

  • Earth has an atmosphere and tectonic motion allowing the meteoroids to burn up and reshape the surface of the Earth.

  • Scientists estimate that impacts powerful enough to cause a natural disaster might occur once every few thousand years.

  • An impact that would cause a global catastrophe occurs once every 30 – 50 million years


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