AST 101 – Study Notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Michael Reid

AST 101 – The Sun & Its Neighbors * Earth is not vast and eternal , Space on the other hand is The Andromeda Galaxy is 2.5 million light years away from the Milky Way( Our Galaxy) - the Andromeda is the closest galaxy to ours , at least a few million light years away Light travels at a finite speed - no matter where you look, you are looking back in time The Sun is 8 minutes ahead of us in time 1AU away The light we see that left Andromeda left 2.5 million years ago (2.5 million light years) 70 million years ago, a very clever dinosaur fired his laser pointer at a mirror 35 million light years away. When would he see the reflected pulse? - The dinosaur would never see the reflected pulse- we would see it. Stars- are balls of plasma which produce energy by nuclear fusion Planets- are rocky, icy, or gassy, and they don’t produce much energy - Planets orbit stars, they don’t orbit other planets - Planets have to be massive enough for their own gravity to compress them into spherical shapes - Planets must have cleared their orbit. ( not share their orbit with other stuff) Pluto is a dwarf planet -The IAU recognizes only 5 dwarf planets A moon is any large body, which orbits a planet An asteroid is a chunk of ice and rock which not big enough to crush itself into a sphere. This one is called Eros A nebula is a cloud of gas (bright) and dust (dark) A solar system consists of a star the sun All planets orbit the solar system COUNTER clockwise north of the planets
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