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Solar System. Introduction. The Solar System consists mostly of empty space!. The Sun 1 M  The Nine Eight Planets (  0.001 M  ) Asteroids and Rocky Debris (Negligible mass) Comets (?). Planets in the Solar System come in two varieties. TERRESTRIAL. and.

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Solar System

Introduction


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The Solar System consists mostly of empty space!

  • The Sun 1 M

  • The Nine Eight Planets ( 0.001 M)

  • Asteroids and Rocky Debris (Negligible mass)

  • Comets (?)


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Planets in the Solar System come in

two varieties

TERRESTRIAL

and

JOVIAN


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Mars

TERRESTRIAL

(Earth-like)

Mercury

Earth

Venus


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Terrestrial Planets

  • Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars

  • Rocky: Densities 3 – 5 g/cm3

  • Small Radii: 0.4 – 1.0 R

  • Low Masses: 0.06 – 1.0 M

  • Few moons


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Jupiter

Neptune

JOVIAN

(Jupiter-like)

Uranus

Saturn


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Jovian Planets

  • Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune

  • Gaseous – No definite surface, low densities:

  • 0.7 – 1.75 g/cm3

  • Large: 4 – 11 R

  • Massive: 17 – 318 M

  • Numerous moons


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We might add a third type of “planet” --

Kuiper Belt Objects

Two “large” examples are:

2003 UB313, the

“10th planet”

= Eris

Pluto

2006: Both Pluto and 2003 UB313

are now called “Dwarf Planets”



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Characteristics of the Solar System:

The Planets orbit in nearly the same plane


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The Planets orbit around the sun in the

Counterclockwise Direction

And the JOVIAN planets are found in the outer solar system


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Any theory which claims to explain the origin of the

Solar system must account for these three basic

characteristics.

The Planets orbit in nearly the same plane

The Planets orbit around the sun in the

counterclockwise direction.

The Jovian planets are found in the outer solar system

and the Terrestrial planets are found in the inner solar

system.


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The Nebular Theory

The Solar System began as a rotating, contracting cloud

of interstellar gas:

As the cloud contracted gravitationally, it also flattened,

due to centrifugal force.


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As the cloud contracted and flattened,

the protosun formed at the center. In

the protoplanetary disk, planetisimals

formed. Through the process of

accretion, these built up into larger

and larger, and eventually planet-sized

bodies.



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Temperatures varied from very high values (a few

thousand Kelvin) in the inner protoplanetary disk

to very low values (10’s of Kelvin) at the outer edge.

This means that in the inner solar system, low melting point

materials (gases, ices = volatiles) were lost, leaving behind

only rocky (= refractory) materials.


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Thus, rocky, high density planets (the Terrestrial planets)

formed in the inner solar system.

In the outer protoplanetary disk, where temperatures were

much lower, volatiles were retained, leading to the

formation of the gas-giant (Jovian) planets. These giant

planets are made primarily of hydrogen.

Finally, icy bodies (comet nuclei) formed out at the very

fringes of the protoplanetary disk.


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This theory thus accounts for the three basic characteristics

of the solar system:

The Planets orbit in nearly the same plane

The Planets orbit around the sun in the

counterclockwise direction.

The Jovian planets are found in the outer solar system

and the Terrestrial planets are found in the inner solar

system.


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