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41 Cards in this Set

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Jovian planets composition

Jupiter and Saturn: made almost entirely of hydrogen and helium

Uranus and Neptune: made mostly of hydrogen compounds mixed with metal and rock

Jovian planets interior structures

Core 10x as dense as Earth, consisting of hydrogen compounds, metals, and rock

Jovian planets atmospheres

Multiple cloud layers

Jovian planet moons

Medium and large moons formed in the disks of gas surrounding the Jovian planets, small moons often captured asteroids or comets


Volcanically active, interior kept hot by tidal heating


Deep, liquid water ocean under thick ice crust; interior kept hot by tidal heating


Thick atmosphere made of methane and ammonia gas


Orbits Neptune "backward", has the same composition as Pluto

Why are the Jovian planet moons geologically active?

Tidal heating

What are Saturn's rings made of?

Individual particles orbiting Saturn independently like a tiny moon

How were Saturn's rings formed?

Tiny impacts on the surfaces of nearby moons and impacts that shatter the moons altogether

What are asteroids like?

Small, rocky leftovers from planetary formation

Why is there an asteroid belt?

Orbital resonance pushed these asteroids together

What are meteorites?

Pieces of asteroids

What is the structure of comets and how do they get their tails?

Comets are icy leftovers from planetary formation. When it gets close to the sun, its nucleus heats up and forms two tails

Where do comets come from?

Leftovers from planetary formation

What are Pluto and other large objects of the Kuiper Belt like?

Icy planetesimals

How great is the impact risk?

It is unlikely that there will be a major impact within our lifetimes

How do jovian planets affect impact rates and life on earth?

Impacts are almost always linked to the gravitational influences of the jovian planets

How do we detect extrasolar planets?

We can look for a planet's gravitational effect on its star using the astrometric method or the Doppler method

What properties of extrasolar planets can we measure?

We can determine a planet's orbital period and distance from its star

How do extrasolar planets compare with planets in our own solar system?

Many orbit closer to their star, and some have properties indicating planetary types that are not terrestrial or jovian (like water worlds)

Do we need to modify our theory of solar system formation? How?

It's unlikely that we will have to change to the nebular theory

Why does the sun shine?

Gravitational equilibrium and energy balance

What is the sun's structure?

From the inside out: Core, Radiation Zone, Convection Zone, Photosphere, Chromsphere, Corona

How does nuclear fusion occur in the sun?

A proton-proton chain

How does energy from fusion get out of the sun?

It comes from the deepest layers and convection carries it to the photosphere, where it is radiated into space as sunlight

How do we know what is happening inside of the sun?

We do studies of solar vibrations and solar neutrinos, and observe the sun's size, energy output, and surface temperature

How do we measure stellar luminosities?

We calculate luminosity from apparent brightness and distance

How do we measure stellar temperatures?

By looking at a star's color spectrum (Red is cool, Blue is hot)

How do we measure stellar masses?

By using Newton's version of Kepler's third law

What is a Hertzsprung-Russell diagram (H-R diagram)?

Plots stars based on their surface temperatures and luminosities

What is the significance of the main sequence?

It determines a star's position based on its mass (Stars with higher masses live shorter lives)

How does a star's mass influence its life?

Stars with higher masses live shorter lives than stars with lower masses

What are giants, supergiants, and white dwarfs?

Giants and Supergiants: stars that have exhausted their central core supplies of hydrogen for fusion and are going through different forms of fusion near the end of their lives

White Dwarfs: the exposed cores of stars that have already died

What are two types of star clusters?

Open clusters: contain up to thousands of stars and are found in the disk of the galaxy

Globular clusters: contain hundreds of thousands of stars and are found in the halo of the galaxy

How do we measure the age of a star cluster?

We find the main sequence turn-off point on an H-R diagram of its stars

How do stars form?

They form in cold, dense molecular clouds and then become a protostar

How massive are newborn stars?

Can vary between 150Msun and 0.08Msun

What are life stages of a low-mass star?

When the core begins to shrink, it becomes a red giant with a hydrogen shell fusion happening

How does a low-mass star die?

It expels its outer layers into space and leaves its core behind as a white dwarf