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The Solar System. How did the solar system form?. The nebular theory (or accretion hypothesis) is the most widely accepted explanation. NEBULAR THEORY A nebula is an extremely large cloud of dust and gas.

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how did the solar system form
How did the solar system form?
  • The nebular theory (or accretion hypothesis) is the most widely accepted explanation.
  • A nebula is an extremely large cloud of dust and gas.
  • The nebula is unstable, and begins to collapse around different regions because of an unequal distribution of matter.
nebular theory
Nebular Theory
  • As the nebula collapses around different areas of high mass, the gravitational attraction of these regions grows, which attracts more and more material.
  • These points where the matter collects become stars.
  • For this reason, nebulae are often called stellar nurseries.
nebular theory1
Nebular Theory
  • As matter collects unevenly around the center, it begins the whole mass spinning. (PROTOPLANETARY DISK)
  • Most of the mass (99%) collects in the center forming the Sun.
  • The rest of the mass (1%) flattens into a spinning disk of dust and gas around the Sun.
nebular theory2
Nebular Theory
  • Within the disk, areas of higher mass attract more and more material (accretion).
  • This accretion forms “planetessimals”, or the beginnings of planets.
nebular theory3
Nebular Theory
  • When accretion is finished, we are left with our solar system.
the sun
The Sun
  • The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system.
    • Made mostly of hydrogen (92.1%) and helium (7.8%)
    • Nuclear fusion produces the Sun’s energy
    • About 1.3 million Earth’s could fit inside the Sun
      • 1.4 million km in diameter (109 times larger than Earth)
    • 5500 °C (9900 °F)
  • Law of Universal Gravitation
  • All objects with mass exert a gravitational force on the objects around them.
  • Strength of force depends on the masses of the objects and the distance between them.
  • Because of the Sun’s great mass, all other objects in the solar system orbit around it.
  • A planet:
    • Orbits the Sun
    • Has a spherical shape
    • Is significantly more massive than the objects around it
  • There are 8 planets in our solar system
    • Inner planets
    • Outer planets
inner planets
Inner Planets
  • The four planets closest to the sun (inside the asteroid belt)
    • Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars
  • Smaller size (than the outer planets)
  • Rocky (Terrestrial)
    • Mostly iron core
    • Solid outer crust
outer planets
Outer Planets
  • The four planets farthest from the Sun (outside the asteroid belt)
    • Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune
  • Larger size (than the inner planets)
    • Called “gas giants”
  • Ice and gasses
dwarf planets
Dwarf Planets
  • Like a planet…
    • Made of rock and ice
    • Spherical shape
    • Orbits the Sun
  • But not a planet!
    • Orbits near other similarly sized objects.
  • Small, rocky objects that orbit the Sun
  • Millions found in the asteroid belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter
  • Between one meter and several hundred thousand meters in length
  • Usually not spherical
  • Relatively small ball of gas, dust, and ice
  • Orbits the Sun
    • Usually an extremely elliptical orbit
  • Come from outer parts of the solar system
  • Sometimes called a “shooting star”
    • NOT A STAR!!!
measuring distances
Measuring Distances
  • Because of the great distances between objects in our solar system, we use a larger than usual measurement…
  • AU – Astronomical Unit
    • The average distance between Earth and the Sun
    • 150 million kilometers (150,000,000 km)
geocentric model
Geocentric Model?
  • It was once believed that Earth was the center of the universe and all other objects revolved around it.
  • Geo = Earth
  • Centric = Center
heliocentric model
Heliocentric Model
  • Helio = Sun
  • Centric = Center
  • In the 1500’s, Copernicus proposed that Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun
    • Though the Sun was later observed NOT to be the center of the universe!
  • Supported by evidence collected as technology allowed further investigation.
planetary orbits
Planetary Orbits
  • Kepler discovered that planetary orbits are elliptical rather than circular
  • Planets move faster when they are closer to the Sun, and slower when they are farther from the Sun.
  • Sun at one focus.