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Chapter

Chapter Eight Review: Mercury/Moon

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Department
Astronomy
Course Code
ASTA01H3
Professor
Brian Wilson

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October 18th, 2010
ASTA01H
Intro to Astronomy and Astrology Part I
Chapter Eight: The Moon and Mercury
Orbital Properties
Mercury
Never strays far from the Sun
oOnly visible just before dawn or just after sunset
Physical Properties
Moons radius is 1738km
Mercurys radius is 2440km
The mass of the Moon is   
Mercurys mass is   
Measurements of Mercurys Spin
In 1965, astronomers used the Arecibo radio telescope, sending out pulses of
radio waves towards Mercury and waiting for the echoes to return
oIf the planet is rotating, the radiation reflected from the side moving
toward us returns at a slightly higher frequency than the radiation
reflected from the receding side
By measuring the spread of frequencies from either side of the
original wave length we can determine the planets rotational
speed
Mercurys rotational period is 59 days
oExactly two-thirds of the planets orbital period
Explanation of Mercurys Rotation
www.notesolution.com
Unlike the Earth-Moon relationship the Moon being tidally locked with the
Earth
Mercury is unable to become tidally locked with the Sun because of its quite
eccentric orbit
oBecause of this eccentric orbit, there is no way that the planet (rotating
at a constant speed) can remain in a synchronous orbit
Tidal forces always act so as to synchronize the rotation rate with the
instantaneous orbital speed, but such a synchronization cannot be
maintained over Mercurys entire (eccentric) orbit
Lunar Cratering and Surface Composition
Without the reoccurring phenomena of erosion and tectonic shifting,
reshaping Earths surface, the Moons surface features date back almost to
its formation
Meteoritic Impacts
The primary agent of change on the lunar surface is from the impacts of
interplanetary debris, in the form of meteoroids
On Earth, these rocky or metallic meteoroids burn up in the atmosphere, this
is not the cause on the Moon, as it has no atmosphere
Meteoroid Impact
A meteorite strikes the surface, releasing a large amount of energy
The resulting explosion ejects material from the surface at high-speeds and
sends a shock wave through the underlying surface (creating a pulverized
crust within the crater)
Eventually, a characteristic crater surrounded by an ejecta blanket results
Cratering History of the Moon
Astronomers can use the known ages (from radioactive dating) of Moon rocks
to estimate the rate of cratering in the past
The Moon was subject to a period of intense meteoritic bombardment roughly
4 billion years ago
www.notesolution.com

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Description
October 18 , 2010 ASTA01H Intro to Astronomy and Astrology Part I Chapter Eight: The Moon and Mercury Orbital Properties Mercury Never strays far from the Sun o Only visible just before dawn or just after sunset Physical Properties Moons radius is 1738km Mercurys radius is 2440km The mass of the Moon is Mercurys mass is Measurements of Mercurys Spin In 1965, astronomers used the Arecibo radio telescope, sending out pulses of radio waves towards Mercury and waiting for the echoes to return o If the planet is rotating, the radiation reflected from the side moving toward us returns at a slightly higher frequency than the radiation reflected from the receding side By measuring the spread of frequencies from either side of the original wave length we can determine the planets rotational speed Mercurys rotational period is 59 days o Exactly two-thirds of the planets orbital period Explanation of Mercurys Rotation www.notesolution.com
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