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Midterm

Test #3 Study Notes This is the study note for the information starting from the beginning of the winter term with The Kuiper Belt and Asteroids and ending with black holes and the death of a star. Important aspects bolded.

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Department
Natural Science
Course
NATS 1880
Professor
Mary- Helen Armour
Semester
Winter

Description
Life beyond Earth Study NotesTest 3Kuiper BeltThe material in the kuiper belt is probably the remains of material in the solar disk that did not get incorporated into a planet This is a reservoir of icy rocky bodies that orbit between 50500 AU from the sun They are coplanar on the same plane as the planets This is where short period comets orbits of less than 200 years mostly come fromOort CloudAnother large reservoir of material is the Oort This is a globe of icy rocky bodies that completely surrounds the solar system This may be the remains of the cloud out of which our sun first formed This is the likely source of long period comets The oort cloud may extend out as far as 15000 AUAlthough the asteroids comets and meteors we see are too small to be likely to carry life they can provide important evidence in our study of lifes origins since many are unchanged since the formation of our solar systemCometsThese are icy rocky bodies which have elliptical orbits that bring them close enough to the sun to melt some of the icy material Cometary impacts early on in history of earth may have been a significant contributor of water and organic materials Both these are abundant in comets The amino acids we find in comets seem to be both left and right handed This means both are available though life on earth uses only the left handed ones Comets are also interesting to study since the materials in them would be preserved from the earliest time in lifeComets appear as the ices melt and outgas the body of the nucleus The average cometary nucleus is 1030km across This small part cannot be seen by the observer The coma is the halo of outgases material that forms around the nucleus The tails form when the material is blown back by the solar wind The ion tail forms when the gasses of there tail are ionized by the solar wind while the dust tail is visible due to reflected sunlight The tails will always point away from the sun irrelevant of whether the comet is coming or going The tails can extend to thousands of milesAsteroidsThere are several main groups of asteroids in our solar system Most asteroids are found in the asteroid belt between mars and Jupiter This extends from about 24 AU The mass of all the asteroids in the belt is only at most a few percent of total mass of earth This is not a destroyed planet though possibly a planet could have formed here but the gravity of Jupiter prevented it
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