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41 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
How far away is the sun and what is the diameter?
8.3 light minutes away and 109 times the earth
What is the compostion of the sun?
Mostly hydrogen some helium
What is another name for the inner planets?
Rocky planets or terrestrial planets (mostly rocky bodies)
How many satellites for each of the inner planets?
Mercury: None
Venus: None
Earth: 1
Mars: 2
What is the atmosphere compostition of the inner planets?
Mercury: None
Venus: Very dense, overwhelmingly carbon dioxide
Earth: Oxygen rich (Mostly nitrogen, some oxygen)
Mars: Very thin, overwhelmingly carbon dioxide
What are the inner planets physical characteristics?
Mercury: Only impact craters
Venus: Evidence of impact craters.
Earth: Evidence of impact craters
Mars: Evidence of impact craters
Is there water on the inner planets?
Mercury: No
Venus: No but there should be
Earth: 3/4 covered by liquid water
Mars: Evidence of liquid water in the past (Water is frozen now)
Any geological activities on the inner planets?
Mercury: No
Venus: Volcanic activity
Earth: Continental drift, volcanic activity, earthquakes, rift valleys
Mars: Volcanic Activity
What is the most abundant gas in the universe?
What is another name for the outer planets?
Jovian planets or gas giant planets
What is the atmosphere composed of for the outer planets?
Mostly hydrogen, some helium, but with relatively small rocky cores
How many satellites and rings do the outer planets have?
Jupiter: Many sat. including 4 major ones; has rings
Saturn:Many sat. including once major one; huge rings
Uranus: Numerous sat. and has rings
Neptune: Several sat.; has rings
What is the compostion of the outer planets?
Jupiter: Mostly hydrogen, some helium
Saturn: Mostly hydrogen, some helium
Uranus: Some hydrogen and helium, 60% ices, and a rocky core.
Neptune: Very similar to uranus.
Which planet has a runaway greenhouse effect?
How often does the sun rotate?
Once every 30 days
What direction do the planets spin?
All counter clockwise except venus.
How is our solar system believed to have begun?
As a huge, massive, irregular, cold, slowly moving cloud of interstellar material
When was the solar system created?
Well over 5 billion years ago
What was the size and mass of the interstellar cloud?
size: 1 LY across

Mass: At least one solar mass
What was the composition of this interstellar cloud?
Mostly hydrogen, some helium, traces of other elements
What is the first step in the interstellar cloud evolving into a solar system?
The cloud begins to slowly contract. Gravity begins to draw the cloud inward, contracting it. As the cloud contracts, conservation of angular momentum causes the swirling cloud to begin to slowly rotate.
The cloud continues to contract......
Gravitation contraction of the cloud continues. Angular momentum conservation continues to increase the rate of rotation.
Now the cloud has reached a critical stage....
Gravitational contraction of the cloud continues. Angular momentum conservation has now created a very rapid rate of rotation.
What is going on in the center of this cloud at this critical stage?
99.85% of the material has collected to form the protosun. The protosun is surrounded by a spherical shell of the remaining .15% of the material.
Gravity vs inertia....
For the .15% of the material in the spherical shell, inertia competes with gravity.
Whats the effect on this cloud when inertia competes with gravity?
A protoplanetary disk forms around the protosun. The competing effects of gravity and inertia pull the material in the spherical shell into a disk centered on the future star, the sun.
Part 2:
Summary of the compostion of this cloud so far.
99.85% of the cloud forms a central protostar. .15% of the cloud forms a thin disk.
What happens now?
Denser materials in the disk begin to collect into larger and larger objects. First microscopic particles form, then grown to size of dust grains, to small rocky bodies, and eventually into planetesimals.
Protoplanets form in the disk. The planetesimals are drawn together by their gravitational attraction to form protoplanets at regular intervals in the disk, except in one zone.
And then...
The protosun becomes a star. The inner planets are too close to the new star and have too little mass; radiation from the new star causes them to loose their first atmosphere of hydrogen and helium
And what happens to the outer planets?
The 4 outer planets are too far from the new star and too massive; they retain their original atmospheres of hydrogen and helium.
Last step of part 2?
For a time the inner planets are just cold rocky bodies.
Step 1 of part 3?
The inner planets begin to develop an internal structure. The decay of naturally occuring radioactive materials in the interiors of these planets begin to heat them from within; they develop a molten core surrounded by a plastic mantle and topped off with a relatively thin rigid crust.
Radioactive heating creates internal structure.
New atmospheres for venus, earth and mars. volcanic activity releases massive quantities of carbon dioxide, steam (water vapor), some other gases.
radiation from the sun causes venus' water to escape. (runaway greenhouse effect- carbon dioxide remains and water vapor escapes)
Earth experiences less heating. Water vapor condenses to form oceans
Beginning of earth's final transformation. Atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide with some nitrogen. Marine plant life slowly removes co2, releases free oxygen at a bi-product.
Final transformation of earth. CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and locked up in the living organisms, sea floor sediments, limestone, and fossil fuels.
Mars is the coldest. Water vapor condenses to form liquid water on the surface.
water eventually freezes on the surface of mars,