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Our Unique Planet * With notes provided by David McDonald-Christa McAuliffe Planetarium. http://www.d21c.com/AAALynx/CB/pl/earth.jpg. What is the most unique characteristic of the Earth?. The presence and diversity of life. What factors allow this diversity?.

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our unique planet with notes provided by david mcdonald christa mcauliffe planetarium

Our Unique Planet* With notes provided by David McDonald-Christa McAuliffe Planetarium

http://www.d21c.com/AAALynx/CB/pl/earth.jpg

what is the most unique characteristic of the earth
What is the most unique characteristic of the Earth?
  • The presence and diversity of life

What factors allow this diversity?

i star solar system characteristics
I. Star/ Solar System Characteristics

http://www.mallorcaweb.net/masm/Planetas/nuevosplanetas.jpg

a star solar system birth date
a. Star/Solar System Birth Date
  • Very long ago planets would not contain enough heavy elements.
  • We need to have elements past the first generation star level for living things.

(need supernova for fusion of elements heavier than iron)

http://www.atomicarchive.com/Fusion/Images/fusion.jpg

b age of our sun
b. Age of our Sun
  • The Sun needs to be in a stable burning phase (main sequence) for constant radiation and luminosity (heat and energy source).

http://helios.augustana.edu/~lc/sunxray.gif

http://www.highwaygirl.com/hwg/images/star.jpg

http://www.pd.astro.it/education/PlanetV/planetarium/icons/EQUI.GIF

ii earth characteristics

II.Earth Characteristics

http://www.d21c.com/AAALynx/CB/pl/earth.jpg

a the earth lies within the habitable zone of the sun
a. The Earth lies within the habitable zone of the Sun.

Habitable Zone (HZ):

The distance from the star where the average temperature of the planet allows liquid water to exist.

http://www.mallorcaweb.net/masm/Planetas/nuevosplanetas.jpg

right distance from parent star
Right Distance From Parent Star
  • Too great= too cool for stable water cycle
  • Too close= too hot for stable water cycle
  • This is the main aspect of Habitable Zone
  • Also, most life needs 0-100 Degrees Celsius

http://ag.arizona.edu/extension/riparian/images/ch3_hydro-cycle.jpg

slide9

b. Right Mass/Gravity of the Planet.- Without the right mass/gravity, the atmosphere which surrounds us would move into space as well as us or we wouldn’t be able to breathe. - This also allowed the Iron Catastrophe to occur which allowed the earths’ inner layers to form.

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/hot-air-balloon-atmosphere.jpg

http://teachertech.rice.edu/Participants/louviere/Images/profile.gif

c right carbon dioxide and water vapor levels in the atmosphere
c. Right Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor Levels in the Atmosphere
  • If greater amounts= runaway greenhouse effect (warming of the earth).
  • If lesser amounts= insufficient greenhouse effect (cooling of the earth).

http://www.n-ergise.net/cnt/txt/40/1/greenhouse_effect.gif

d right ozone level in atmosphere
d. Right Ozone Level in Atmosphere
  • If greater amounts of ozone= surface temperatures too low.
  • If less amounts of ozone= surface temperatures too high and too much UV radiation at surface.

http://www.epcc.pref.osaka.jp/apec/eng/earth/ozone_layer_depletion/image/zu_g01.gif

e right thickness of crust
e. Right Thickness of Crust
  • If Thicker= More oxygen in crust.
  • If Thinner= More volcanic and tectonic plate activity.

http://www.pacificislandtravel.com/nature_gallery/volcanoes2.gif

http://geography.sierra.cc.ca.us/Booth/Physical/chp13_earth/crust_composition.gif

seismic activity
Seismic Activity
  • Greater= destruction of life forms
  • Less= nutrients on ocean floors (from river runoff) would not be recycled by tectonic uplift.

http://rst.gsfc.nasa.gov/Sect2/platespread.jpg

slide14
f. Right Internal Earth Layers – Convection currents in the outer core produce the “Magnetic Field” surrounding the earth.

This provides protection from hard stellar radiation (ex. Solar Wind ) for us as well as keeping the atmosphere from being swept away.

http://www.instituteforinquiry.org/inquiries/graphics/electrostorm.jpg

g right rotation period
g. Right Rotation Period
  • If days (rotation period) were longer the diurnal temperature differences would be too great (temperature between night and day).
  • If days were shorter, atmospheric wind speed would be too great. (due to pressure differences caused by different temperature air masses)

http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/images/heatingwind.GIF

http://old.grotte-de-han.be/expo/effetserre.jpg

h right gravitational interaction with the moon
h. Right Gravitational Interaction with the Moon

Affects climate and weather patterns due to influencing the earth’s spin as well as reduces the wobbling motion of the Earth.

http://www.esru.strath.ac.uk/EandE/Web_sites/01-02/RE_info/Tidal%20power%20files/image002.jpg

i right axial tilt
i. Right Axial Tilt
  • If too much greater - the surface temperature differences would be too great. Ice and water vapor would travel to the poles, no water anywhere else.
  • If much less - the habitable zone would shrink in size (think narrow band around equator)
  • The tilt also allows the seasons to occur.

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/images/imageshtml/earth-tilt.gif

think about this
Think About This……
  • In 1999 Hubble space telescope indicated 125 billion galaxies.
  • Times that by a factor of 8 =1 trillion (1012) galaxies
  • There are approximately 100 billion stars per galaxy (1011)
  • (1011) stars x (1012) galaxies = 1023 stars in the universe
probability
Probability
  • If we consider (on average) a 1% chance of each of the previously mentioned factors occurring favorable to life, that is….
  • One chance in 1040
  • Compared to “only” 1022 stars in the Universe
  • Therefore… we have a pretty unique home 