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University of Toronto St. George
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Michael Reid

September 15 , 2011 AST101 - all assignments due Tuesday at 11:59 pm  The solar system is HUGE and the vast majority of it is empty (tiny quantities of gas and dust fill the space)  1 AU (distance between sun and earth) = 1 Astronomical Unit  (Mercury is 0.4 AU, Venus is 0.7 AU, Mars is 1.5 AU) 1 AU = 1 Astronomical Unit = 1.5 x 1011m = average distance between Earth and the Sun  light year is measure of distance (distance light travels in a year)  sun and nearest start – 4.4 light years  1 ly= 1 light year = 9.46 x 10^12 km = distance light travels in one year  1 AU = 8 light minutes (for light to get from earth to sun)  light travels at a finite speed  so, no matter where you look, you are looking back in time  The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million ly away. o It’s the nearest large galaxy to the Milky Way  The galaxy NGC 4696 is about 150 million light years away  Stars are balls of plasmawhich produce energy by nuclear fusion.  Planets are rocky, icy, or gassy, and they don’t prod
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