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17 Cards in this Set

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Kepler's first law of planetary motion
each planet orbits around the Sun in an ellipse with the Sun at one focus
Kepler's second law of planetary motion
planets cover equal distances in equal times throughout their orbits
Kepler's third law of planetary motion
the time a planet takes to complete an orbit is related to its average distance from the Sun
Eccentricity
the ratio of the distance to the foci and the length of the major axis of an ellipse (how oval a shape is) - a perfect circle has an eccentricity of 0, and a straight line has an eccentricity of 1
Most elliptical orbits
Pluto and Mercury; although Pluto does sometimes cross into Neptune's orbit
coma
a spherical cloud of material surrounding the head of a comet that has a high eccentricity
Change in axial tilt (obliquity)
every 41,000 years, the axial tilt of the earth varies from 22.1 to 24.5 which creates a wider range of temperature in the seasons
precession
differences in gravitational pull create a wobble that takes about 25,725 years to change the timing of the seasons
orbital precession
the rotation of the earth's orbit around the sun (a wobble)
precession of the equinoxes
the combined axial and orbital precessions every 22,000 years which would change the timing of the seasons and make winters colder and summers warmer
event every 10,000 years
winter would occur during summer months and summer during winter months (winter would be from June to September)
orbital plane
the plane formed by the path of the earth around the sun
inclination
the angle between the orbital plane of the solar system and the actual orbit of an object around the sun (related to eccentricity)
asteroid belt
area between orbits of Mars and Jupiter with asteroids
effect of collision with comet's tail
this collision would not be too harmful to the earth because the tail of a comet is composed mainly of glowing gas with very little mass
perihelion
(January 5th - Northern Hemisphere winter) the point where the earth's axis is tilted away from the sun
aphelion
(July 5th - Northern Hempisphere summer) the point where the earth's axis is tilted towards the sun