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Lecture 4

Earth Sciences 2123A/B Lecture 4: Solar System

5 Pages

Earth Sciences
Course Code
Earth Sciences 2123A/B
Catherine Neish

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Lesson 4 – Solar System September 27, 2016 Solar System Sun - A nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma with internal convective motion that generates a magnetic field via a dynamo process.  Its diameter is about 109 times that of Earth, and its mass is about 330,000 times that of Earth o Three quarters of the Sun's mass consists of hydrogen; the rest is mostly helium, with much smaller quantities of heavier elements, including oxygen, carbon, neon, and iron. o The Sun is a G-type main-sequence star known as a yellow dwarf. o A spot or patch appearing from time to time on the sun's surface, appearing dark by contrast with its surroundings. 8:  Radius – 6.9 x 10 109 times Earth 30  Mass – 2 x 10 : 300,000 Earths 26  Luminosity- 3.8 x 10 watts Mercury  It does not have natural satellites o It has no moons  Mercury is made of heavier materials, like iron and has a large iron core  Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and goes around the sun once every 88 Earth days. o A day on Mercury lasts a lot longer than a day on Earth.  The surface of Mercury looks like Earth's moon. It is covered with impact craters, made by rocks falling from space.  Mercury might have water on the shadowed side of the planet, near the poles o Onside of mercury never seen the sun due to its rotation  MESSENGER (Mercury surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging Mission) spacecraft flew by Mercury in 2008 and 2009. o In March 2011, it began to orbit Mercury and finished the mission in 2016 where it took full pictures of all of Mercury Venus  Venus has a slow rotation, rotating retrograde and no natural satellite  It is often called Earth’s sister planet because it is similar in size, mass, proximity to the sun  Radius of 0.95 RE and mass of 0.82M o Dense at 90 atm with Earth at 1 atm o It has a denser atmosphere than Earth with 96% carbon dioxide o Venus is known as the hottest planet and is surrounded with reflective sulfuric acid clouds  There is no magnetic field – any space ship would melt in about 2 hours in it’s presents as well as no plate tectonics  It also holds intense greenhouse effect o Venus has a dry volcanic landscape Mars  Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, o Surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. o The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those of Earth  Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano and second-highest known mountain in the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons in the Solar System.  Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped o These may be captured asteroids  At one point there was liquid water on the surface of Mars about 4000 million years ago o September 28, 2015, NASA announced the presence of briny flowing salt water on the Martian surface. o Mars has no magnetic field, so high energy particles can reach the atmosphere  The sky on Mars would be pink and Dunes would be black  There is a thin atmosphere of Co2  The step in research on Mars would be to get samples to test it and compare it to Earth  Radius – 0.54Re, Mass – 0.11Me Jupiter  Largest planet with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, o Radius – 11.2 Re, Mass – 318 Me o Jupiter is a gas giant  Jupiter is primarily composed of hydrogen with a quarter of its mass being helium, helium comprises only about a tenth of the number of molecules.  Jupiter may also have a rocky core of heavier elements but it lacks a well-defined solid surface o Because of its rapid rotation, the planet's shape is that of an oblate spheroid - but noticeable bulge around the equator.  The outer atmosphere is visibly segregated into several bands at different latitudes, resulting in turbulence an
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