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Chapter 1

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University of Toronto Mississauga
John Lester

Chapter One - Our Place in the Universe (Sept. 9) Lecture Notes - Only concentrate on the relevant topics discussed in lectures - Glossary: G1-G14 at the end of textbook Where is Earth? - Earth is not the centre of the Universe, Universe is not “geocentric” - geo = Earth; centric = centered on - Believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe from the time of Greek astronomy (2200 years ago) until about the year 1500 - HOW have we learned the correct view? - Earth is insignificant, except that we live here What is the Solar System? - The Sun and all objects orbiting around the Sun - The whole system formed billions of years ago - There are many other “solar systems”, far beyond our system Members of the Solar System - Sun = heart of the Solar System, but it is just an ordinary star, like billions of others - Plants (Earth, Mars, Jupiter, . . .) - Dwarf planets (Pluto, Eris, . . .) - Natural satellites (moons) orbiting planets - Minor planets = asteroids - Comets - Meteoroids = rocks, ice, dust How “big” is the Solar System? - Words like “big” do not have enough information, we need to use numbers (no memorization required... learn HOW we know the number and what it means) - We use numbers to connect and characterize the objects we study How “big” is Earth? - Diameter = 12,756 km; Radius = 6,378 - Include units in numbers - How did we learn Earth’s diameter? What would change if the numbers were different? Numbers in ratios - Ratios
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