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The Solar System. Spectra of Science Amole 2013. Early Thought and Models. Aristotle (384 BC -322 BC)- explained the phases of the moon and eclipses by using a geocentric model Ptolemy ( 90 A.D -168 A.D .)- suggests planets, sun, and moon orbited Earth in perfect circles.

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The solar system

The Solar System

Spectra of Science



Early thought and models
Early Thought and Models

  • Aristotle (384 BC -322 BC)- explained the phases of the moon and eclipses by using a geocentric model

  • Ptolemy (90 A.D -168 A.D.)- suggests planets, sun, and moon orbited Earth in perfect circles

Early thought and models1
Early Thought and Models

  • Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543)- proposed the heliocentric model

  • Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)- propsed that the orbits around the sun were ellipses

What is an ellipse
What is an Ellipse?

  • An oval or egg-like shape created from the result of two foci

Early thought and models2
Early Thought and Models

  • In 1687, Isaac Newton put it all together explaining that the force responsible for keeping the planets and satellites (moons) in their orbits was…GRAVITY

  • First to propose that everything in the universe follows the same rules and acts in predictable ways

Bodies in our solar system the sun
Bodies in our Solar System:The Sun

  • At the center

  • It’s a medium sized star in the middle of its life cycle

  • Constantly creating energy from nuclear fusion

Bodies in our solar system planets
Bodies in our Solar System:Planets

  • Terrestrial Planets:

    • Small

    • Dense

    • Solid surfaces and cores

  • Gas Giants (Jovian):

    • Large

    • No solid surface

    • Very light

The solar system

  • Saturn is the least dense of the planets. It is actually less dense than water. That means, if you could find a tub big enough….it would float!

The solar system

  • We really are so small!


Bodies in our solar system comets
Bodies in our Solar System:Comets

  • Composed of dust and ice (dirty snowballs)

  • When it passes near the sun, the heat begins to melt the ice and it gives off gases forming the long tail

  • Tail always point away from the sun

Bodies in our solar system comets1
Bodies in our Solar System:Comets

  • Most likely left-over material from when the solar systems formed

  • Come from the Oort Cloud and Kuiper belt

The solar system

  • Halley’s comet is perhaps the most popular comet. It passes by every 76 years. Its last pass occurred in 1986, so expect to see it again in 2061!

  • Miss Amole will be 76 next time it is here!

Bodies in our solar system asteroids
Bodies in our Solar System:Asteroids

  • Most found in the Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter

  • Meteoroids small pieces that reach our atmosphere

  • Meteors-meteoroids that burn up in atmosphere

  • Meteorites- make it to Earth

The solar system

  • Many scientists believe that it was a 10-15 km asteroid or comet that hit the Earth 65 million years ago that is responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs

The solar system

  • The best preserved meteorite crater is located in Arizona. It is over a mile wide, 2.4 miles in circumference, and over 550 feet deep!

Bodies in our solar system planetesimals
Bodies in our Solar System:Planetesimals

  • Pieces of rocks that accumulated to form planets

  • Left over planetesimals are in the Kuiper belt beyond the orbit of Neptune

  • Pluto may actually just be the largest object in this belt

Bodies in our solar system dwarf planets
Bodies in our Solar System:Dwarf Planets

  • Unlike planets, dwarf planets lack the gravitational muscle to sweep up or scatter objects near their orbits

  • They orbit the sun in zones of similar objects such as the asteroid and Kuiper belts.

  • Pluto, Eris and the asteroid Ceres became the first

The solar system

  • Pluto was still a planet when Miss Amole sat in your seat.

  • Pluto was added as a planet in 1930

  • In 2005 Eris, about the same size as Pluto, was found in the Kuiper belt

  • In 2006 the new system of classification…

How it all began

How it all Began…

The Formation of the Solar System

Nebular theory
Nebular Theory

  • According to the dating of rocks, the solar system is 4.6 billion years old

  • Most scientist accept the Nebular Theory, or Nebular Model, as the best supported explanation

  • It explains why…

    • Planets are so far apart

    • In the same plane

    • orbit in the same direction

    • They have nearly circular orbits

    • Why some are terrestrial and some gaseous

Nebular theory step 1
Nebular Theory: Step 1

  • Started as a nebula- huge cloud or gas and dust

  • It begins to collapse because of its own gravity

  • Gravity drew much of the matter towards the center

Nebular theory step 2
Nebular Theory: Step 2

  • The nebula began to flatten out into a disk and rotate

  • Getting hotter and hotter towards the center

  • After 10 million years, the star becomes hot enough to fuse Hydrogen

  • A star, our sun, is born

Nebular theory step 3
Nebular Theory: Step 3

  • Planetesimals began to form in the swirling disk through accretion

  • Accretion = accumulation of matter

Nebular theory step 4
Nebular Theory: Step 4

  • The largest planetesimals began to collect the dust and gas from the nebula because they had greater gravitational pulls

  • Remember that gravity depends on mass and distance

Nebular theory step 5
Nebular Theory: Step 5

  • Smaller planetesimals collide with the large ones and the planets grow

Nebular theory step 6
Nebular Theory: Step 6

  • The remaining dust and gas is removed or settles into the Asteroid and Kuiper belts and Oort Cloud

  • A solar system is born

What about the moon

What about the Moon?

The Formation of the Moon


  • When Earth was still very hot and molten, a large body crashed into it and blasted part of the mantle into space


  • The resulting debris began to orbit Earth being held by Earth’s gravity


  • The debris began to accumulate to form the moon

The solar system

  • Formation of Earth and Moon


  • Formation of Solar System


  • Formation of Solar System (dramatic)