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Astronomy 2021A/B Lecture Notes - Giovanni Schiaparelli, Axial Tilt, Red

Course Code
ASTR 2021A/B
William Fisher

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Chapter 8
Slide 4: Lowell heard Giovanni Schiaparelli saw “Canals” when he really meant “Channels” and
build an observatory with maps of mars claimed a dying civilization used the canal’s to
transport water
Slide 8: Alfred Russell said that it was impossible for canals to run for hundreds of thousands of
Slide 19: The earth’s seasons are completely due to axial tilt and nothing to do with distance, but
because Mars has a similar axial tilt but a much more elliptical (less circular) orbit distance
matters a lot
Slide 22: The change in mars’ pressure cause extremely strong pole-to-pole winds that cause
dust storms
Slide 24: The red colour of mars is because of rust, and the dust that covers it absorbs blue and
reflects red, giving its red hue
Slide 38: The phoenix lander mission accidently lands right on top of a patch of ice hiding
beneath the sand that was blown off during landing
Slide 47: Basically a multitude of factors worked to remove Mars’ atmosphere causing it to cool
and freeze the liquid water
o So Mars could have been habitable for 2 billion years but then have died
Slide 48: Earth’s axial tilt is stable because we have a large moon that keeps us in place, but
mars has two small moons resulting in a far more unstable axial tilt
Slide 57: Methane is destroyed within a few centuries, but why is methane in Mars’ atmosphere
possibly life producing it? Possibly comet impacts? Possibly volcanic activity (most likely
volcanic activity)
o If it is volcanic activity, which means Mars’ isn’t completely dead, and there is some sort
of internal heat that can produce water!