13 remnants of rock and ice asteroids comets and pluto l.
Download
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
13. Remnants of Rock and Ice: Asteroids, Comets, and Pluto PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
13. Remnants of Rock and Ice: Asteroids, Comets, and Pluto

Loading in 2 Seconds...

play fullscreen
1 / 45

13. Remnants of Rock and Ice: Asteroids, Comets, and Pluto - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 146 Views
  • Uploaded on

13. Remnants of Rock and Ice: Asteroids, Comets, and Pluto. As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming. Freeman Dyson (1923 – )

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about '13. Remnants of Rock and Ice: Asteroids, Comets, and Pluto' - skip


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
13 remnants of rock and ice asteroids comets and pluto
13. Remnants of Rock and Ice: Asteroids, Comets, and Pluto

As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.

Freeman Dyson (1923 – )

physicist

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

13 1 remnants from birth
13.1 Remnants from Birth

Our goals for learning:

  • What are the three major groups of small bodies in the Solar System?

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

small bodies in the solar system
Small Bodies in the Solar System
  • Small bodies, the leftover “scraps” from the formation of the Solar System, fall into three distinct groups:
    • asteroids
      • rocky or metallic in composition
      • most are located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

slide4

Small Bodies in the Solar System

  • Kuiper belt comets
    • made mostly of ice
    • orbit the Sun beyond Neptune
    • orbit in same direction and plane as the planets
  • Oort cloud comets
    • made mostly of ice
    • orbit at the outer fringe of the Solar System
    • spherically distributed about the Sun

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

a note on names
asteroid – a rocky leftover planetesimal orbiting the Sun

comet – an icy leftover planetesimal orbiting the Sun, regardless of its size or whether it has a tail

meteor – a flash of light in the sky caused by a particle entering the atmosphere, regardless of its origin

meteorite – any piece of rock that fell to the ground from space, regardless of its origin

A Note on Names

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

13 2 asteroids
13.2 Asteroids

Our goals for learning:

  • Describe asteroid sizes, shapes, and orbits.
  • Why didn’t a planet form in the region of the asteroid belt?
  • How do we measure asteroid properties?

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

properties of asteroids
Properties of Asteroids
  • They are small in size.
    • the largest one, Ceres, is only 1,000 km across
  • They are not spherical in shape.
    • shaped more like “potatoes”
    • gravity not strong enough to compress rocky material
    • odd shapes imply that some are fragments from asteroid collisions

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

properties of asteroids8
Properties of Asteroids
  • Asteroid orbits are more elliptical & inclined than planetary orbits.
  • Most asteroids are located in the asteroid belt.
    • between the orbits of Mars & Jupiter
  • Some share Jupiter’s orbit.
    • two swarms at 60º in front of and behind Jupiter
    • known as Trojan asteroids
  • A few cross Earth’s orbit.
    • they are called Near-Earth asteroids

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

the asteroid belt
Jupiter’s gravity disrupted the orbits of those asteroids whose periods were an integer fraction of Jupiter’s.

orbital resonances created gaps… like in Saturn’s rings

known as the Kirkwood gaps

This explains why no planet formed in the asteroid belt.

tugs from Jupiter’s gravity prevented the planetesimals from accreting into a planet

The Asteroid Belt

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

measuring asteroid properties
Size

the larger the asteroid, the more sunlight it will reflect

measuring the brightness and knowing reflectivity & distance gives us the size.

reflectivity is calculated from the visual & IR brightness

Mass

measure the effect gravity has on a passing spacecraft or a moon

use Kepler’s & Newton’s laws

Density

calculate from mass & size

mass  volume

Measuring Asteroid Properties

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

measuring asteroid properties11
Shapes

measure the asteroid’s changes in brightness as it rotates

the asteroid’s shape can be reconstructed from this

we can bounce radar signals off of Near-Earth asteroids

Measuring Asteroid Properties

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

measuring asteroid properties12
Composition

examine the spectrum of sunlight reflected off the asteroid

look for non-Solar absorption lines in the spectrum

Three categories of asteroid composition:

very dark asteroids which contain Carbon-rich materials

found in outer regions of the asteroid belt

brighter asteroids which contain rocky materials

found in inner regions of the asteroid belt

asteroids which contain metals such as Iron

Measuring Asteroid Properties

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

13 3 meteorites
13.3 Meteorites

Our goals for learning:

  • How is a meteor different from a meteorite?
  • How are meteorites categorized?
  • Why do meteorites differ from one another?

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

rocks falling from the sky
Rocks Falling from the Sky
  • meteor – a flash of light caused by a particle which enters Earth’s atmosphere.
    • most of these particles are the size of a pea
    • they completely burn up in Earth’s atmosphere
  • meteorite – a rock which is large enough to have survived its fall to Earth
    • they caused a brighter meteor…sometimes called a fireball
  • How can you tell that you have a meteorite?
    • they have a higher metal content than terrestrial rocks
    • they contain Iridium and other isotopes not found in terrestrial rocks

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

types of meteorites
primitive

about 4.6 billion years old

accreted in the Solar nebula

processed

younger than 4.6 billion years

matter has differentiated

fragments of a larger object which processed the original Solar nebula material

Each type of meteorite can be divided into two subcategories:

primitive meteorites can be either stony, containing rocky minerals & metals, or Carbon-rich, containing Carbon compounds or even water

processed meteorites can be either metallic, high-density Iron/Nickel like Earth’s core, or rocky, containing low-density material similar to earth’s crust

Types of Meteorites

Based on composition, meteorites fall into two basic categories:

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

origin of meteorites
Origin of Meteorites
  • Primitive meteorites condensed and accreted directly from the Solar nebula.
    • the stony ones formed closer than 3 AU from the Sun
    • the Carbon-rich ones formed beyond 3 AU from the Sun, where it was cold enough for Carbon compounds to condense
  • Processed meteorites come from large objects in the inner Solar System.
    • the metallic ones are fragments of the cores of asteroids which were shattered in collisions
    • the rocky ones were chipped off the surfaces of asteroids, Mars, and the Moon by impacts

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

13 4 comets
13.4 Comets

Our goals for learning:

  • What are comets made of?
  • What happens to a comet as it approaches the Sun?
  • How do we know that vast numbers of comets reside in the Oort cloud and Kuiper belt?

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

comets
One of the most beautiful sights in the sky.

Throughout human history, these “hairy” stars would appear.

like planets, they moved with respect to the fixed stars

unlike planets, they were not confined to the ecliptic and disappeared after several weeks

They were taken as omens of good or bad fortune.

Recent Comets:

1986 Halley’s Comet

1996 Comet Hyakutake

1997 Comet Hale-Bopp

Dozens per year too dim to be seen by eye

Comets

Hale-Bopp

Hyakutake

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

comets19
Comets
  • Edmund Halley (1656 – 1742)
    • first to realize that comets orbit the Sun
    • predicted the return of a comet which had been seen every 76 years
    • the comet returned in 1758 and now bears his name
  • The Orbits of Comets:

Movie. Click to play.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

composition and structure of comets
Comets are “dirty snowballs”…ice mixed with rock and dust.

ices are H2O, CO2, CO, NH3, CH4

nucleus

the “dirty snowball”

how the comet appears far from the Sun

coma

surrounds nucleus when near the Sun

sublimated gas & dust

plasma tail

ionized gas swept back by Solar wind

dust tail

dust particles swept back more slowly by radiation

Composition and Structure of Comets

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

a comet s journey
A Comet’s Journey

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

a comet s journey22
The SOHO telescope observed Comet NEAT (C/2002 V1) round the Sun on Feb 16, 2002.

courtesy of SOHO/LASCO consortium. SOHO is a project of ESA and NASA.

A comet can only visit the Sun a few hundred times before losing all its ice to sublimation.

the comet may then disintegrate

or the rocky remains may stick together as an asteroid

A Comet’s Journey

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

the origin of comets
The Origin of Comets
  • We can tell where comets originate by measuring their orbits as they visit the Sun.
  • Most approach from random directions and do not orbit in the same sense as the planets.
    • they come from the Oort cloud
  • Others orbit along the ecliptic plane in the same sense as the planets.
    • they come from the Kuiper belt

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

13 5 pluto lone dog or part of a pack
13.5 Pluto: Lone Dog or Part of a Pack?

Our goals for learning:

  • Why don’t Pluto and Neptune collide?
  • What is surprising about Pluto’s density, and how might it have come to be?
  • Why do we think Pluto is a Kuiper belt comet?

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

pluto and neptune
Pluto and Neptune
  • Pluto has the most elliptical and inclined orbit of any planet.
  • For 20 of its 248-year orbital period, it is actually closer to the Sun than Neptune.
    • such was the case between 1979 and 1999
  • An orbital resonance between the two planets keeps them from ever colliding!

Resonance

Neptune completes three orbits for every two orbits that Pluto makes.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

pluto and charon
Pluto’s moon, named Charon, was discovered in 1978.

it orbits Pluto every 6.4 days

This allows us to measure the mass of Pluto using Kepler’s Law #3.

Eclipses allow us to measure the diameters of both Pluto & Charon.

Pluto’s density (2 gm/cm3) is larger than expected for an icy world.

Charon is less dense (1.6 gm/cm3)

Explanation similar to Earth/Moon

Charon formed from large impact

Pluto lost lower density outer layers

Reconstructed image of Pluto

Pluto and Charon

Hubble ST image of Pluto & Charon

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

planet or kuiper belt comet
Planet or Kuiper Belt Comet?
  • The classification of Pluto has recently come into question.
  • Pluto has many properties in common with Kuiper belt comets.
    • it orbits in the vicinity of the Kuiper belt
    • several Kuiper belt comets have orbital resonances with Neptune
    • its composition of ice and rock is similar to comets
    • it has an atmosphere of Nitrogen which sublimes when Pluto is closest to the Sun
    • some Kuiper belt comets have moons
  • Pluto has some properties which differ from Kuiper belt comets.
    • its surface is much brighter; presumable because the Nitrogen atmosphere refreezes on the surface rather than escaping
    • it is much larger than most Kuiper belt comets
  • But…it is smaller than Triton, which presumably once roamed the Kuiper belt!

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

13 6 cosmic collisions small bodies versus the planets
13.6 Cosmic Collisions: Small Bodies Versus the Planets

Our goals for learning:

  • What happened to Jupiter in 1994?
  • How often do small particles impact Earth?
  • Why do we think the dinosaurs were driven extinct by an impact?
  • Do future impacts pose a real threat to our civilization?

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

comet shoemaker levy 9
This comet was discovered in orbit about Jupiter in 1992.

a previous encounter with Jupiter broke the nucleus into a string of fragments

the comet was on a collision course with Jupiter

Something similar had happened to Callisto.

This crater chain is evidence that a string of nuclei once impacted it.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

comet shoemaker levy 930
One by one, each fragment collided with Jupiter in July 1994.

infrared cameras observed hot plumes ejected from the planet

material from deep inside Jupiter was ejected, and fell… left dark spots

Such impacts probably occur on Jupiter once every 1,000 years.

Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

This was a reminder to us that impacts still occur in the present!!

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

meteor showers
Meteor Showers
  • Earth is impacted by an estimated 25 million small particles each day which cause meteors.
  • When the Earth passes through the trail of a comet, the number of particles impacting the Earth’s atmosphere increases.
  • We call this a meteor shower.
  • You can see upward of 1 meteor per minute from one location.
  • Showers occur on the same dates each year, corresponding to when the Earth crosses a given comet’s orbit.
  • The meteors appear to emanate from one point in the sky.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

meteor showers32
Meteor Showers

Meteors appear to shoot from the point directly ahead in the direction that the Earth is moving.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

meteor showers33
Meteor Showers
  • Meteor showers are named after the constellation from which the meteors appear to emanate
    • i.e., the constellation which lies in the direction of the Earth’s motion.

Halley

Swift - Tuttle

Halley

Encke

Temple - Tuttle

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

impacts and mass extinctions on earth
We know that larger objects have impacted Earth

Meteor Crater in northern Arizona

caused by a 50-meter asteroid

impact occurred 50,000 years ago

65 million years ago, many species, including dinosaurs, disappeared from earth

Sedimentary rock layer from that time shows:

Iridium, Osmium, Platinum

grains of “shocked quartz”

spherical rock droplets

soot from forest fires

Impacts and Mass Extinctions on Earth

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

impacts and mass extinctions on earth35
Elements like Iridium, rare on Earth, are found in meteorites.

Shocked quartz, found at Meteor Crater, forms in impacts.

Rock droplets would form from molten rock “rain.”

Forest fires would ensue from this hot rain.

All this evidence would imply that Earth was struck by an asteroid 65 million years ago.

In 1991, a 65 million year old impact crater was found on the coast of Mexico.

200 km in diameter

implies an asteroid size of about 10 km across

called the Chicxulub crater

Impacts and Mass Extinctions on Earth

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

impacts and mass extinctions on earth36
Impacts and Mass Extinctions on Earth
  • We have a plausible scenario of how the impact led to mass extinction.
    • debris in atmosphere blocks sunlight; plant die…animals starve
    • poisonous gases form in atmosphere

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

could it happen again
Could it happen again?
  • This chart shows how frequently objects of various sizes will impact Earth.
  • The odds of a large impact are small … but not zero!

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

what have we learned
What have we learned?
  • What are the three major groups of small bodies in the Solar System?
    • Asteroids, comets of the Kuiper belt, comets of the Oort cloud. The groups are distinguished by their orbits.
  • Describe asteroid sizes, shapes, and orbits.
    • Most asteroids are small, potato-shaped, and orbit in the asteroid belt. Trojan asteroids share Jupiter’s orbit. Near-Earth asteroids have orbits that pass near Earth’s orbit.
  • Why didn’t a planet form in the region of the asteroid belt?
    • Orbital resonances with Jupiter disrupted orbits of planetesimals, preventing them from accreting into a planet. Resonances also cause the gaps in the asteroid belt today.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

what have we learned39
What have we learned?
  • How do we measure asteroid properties?
    • Orbits from observations of asteroid motion and application of the law of gravity. Sizes by comparing infrared and visible brightness, combined with distance. Masses from gravitational effects on moons or passing spacecraft. Densities from size and mass. Shapes from brightness changes with rotation or radar. Composition from spectroscopy.
  • How is a meteor different from a meteorite?
    • meteor: a flash of light caused by a small particle entering our atmosphere. meteorite: a rock that survives the plunge from space to reach the ground.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

what have we learned40
What have we learned?
  • How are meteorites categorized?
    • Two major categories: primitive meteorites are remnants from the Solar nebula and processed meteorites are fragments of larger objects that underwent differentiation. Primitive meteorites may be either stony or carbon-rich. Processed meteorites may be similar in composition either to Earth’s crust or to its mantle or core.
  • Why do meteorites differ from one another?
    • Whether a primitive meteorite is stony or carbon-rich depends on where it formed. Carbon-rich meteorites formed farther from the Sun (beyond about 3 AU) where it was cool enough for carbon compounds to condense. Processed meteorites made of crust-like material are chips from the surface of larger objects. Processed meteorites made of mantle- or core-like material are fragments from the interior of a shattered asteroid.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

what have we learned41
What have we learned?
  • What are comets made of?
    • Ice mixed with rocky dust, giving them a “dirty snowball” composition.
  • What happens to a comet as it approaches the Sun?
    • The nucleus – all there is when the comet is far away and frozen – heats up and gases begin to sublime from its surface. Escaping gases carry some dust along. The gas and dust form a coma and tails: a plasma tail of ionized gas and a dust tail.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

what have we learned42
What have we learned?
  • How do we know that vast numbers of comets reside in the Oort cloud and Kuiper belt?
    • Analysis of orbits shows where comets in the inner Solar System have come from. Based on the number of comets seen in the inner Solar System and the relatively short times during which comets can survive in the inner Solar System, we conclude that the Oort cloud and Kuiper belt must contain enormous numbers of comets.
  • Why don’t Pluto and Neptune collide?
    • A stable orbital resonance ensures that Pluto always remains a safe distance from Neptune, even though it is sometimes closer to the Sun than Neptune.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

what have we learned43
What have we learned?
  • What is surprising about Pluto’s density, and how might it have come to be?
    • It is slightly higher than expected for material that condensed in the outer Solar System. It may be the result of a giant impact the blasted away Pluto’s low-density outer layers and led to the formation of its moon, Charon.
  • Why do we think Pluto is a Kuiper belt comet?
    • Both its composition and orbit are more similar to Kuiper belt comets than to other planets. Even its size is not that much bigger than other known Kuiper belt comets, and it is smaller than one object that almost certainly once roamed the Kuiper belt –Neptune’s moon Triton.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

what have we learned44
What have we learned?
  • What happened to Jupiter in 1994?
    • It was struck by a string of nuclei that were all fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. Such impacts probably occur on Jupiter only once every 1,000 years, on average.
  • How often do small particles impact Earth?
    • Constantly – an estimated 25 million small particles create meteors each day. Even more hit the Earth during meteor showers.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley

what have we learned45
What have we learned?
  • Why do we think the dinosaurs were driven extinct by an impact?
    • Careful analysis of sediments from the time of the dinosaurs’ demise shows evidence of a major impact. An impact crater has been found, and we have a plausible scenario to describe how the impact led to the mass extinction.
  • Do future impacts pose a real threat to our civilization?
    • The probability of a major impact in our lifetimes is very low, but not zero. The threat is still being assessed.

© 2004 Pearson Education Inc., publishing as Addison-Wesley