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Chapter 12

Astronomy Chapter 12 Notes.pdf

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Department
Astronomy
Course
Astronomy 1021
Professor
Trevor Kirsh
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 12: Asteroids, Comets, •The other asteroids follow Jupiter’s orbit and Dwarf Planets called Trojan asteroids The small objects can have big Why is there an asteroid belt? consequences •Orbital resonances with Jupiter disrupted the orbits of planetesimals in • Asteroids, comets, and meteorites may the asteroid belt, preventing them from be small compared to planets, but they accreting into a planet provide evidence that has helped us •Many were ejected but some remained understand how the solar system and make up the asteroid belt today formed •Most asteroids in other regions of the • The small bodies are subject to the inner solar system accreted into one of gravitational whims of the largest the planets • The jovian planets shaped the asteroid belt, the Kuiper belt, and the Oort Where do meteorites come from? cloud, and they continue to nudge •Primitive meteorites are remnants of the objects onto collision course with the solar nebula, containing intermixed planets rock and metal flakes • Collisions not only bring meteorites and Processed meteorites are fragments of leave impact craters but also can • larger asteroids and therefore can be profoundly affect life on Earth metallic like a planet’s core or rocky like • These impact are responsible for its mantle or crust wiping out the dinosaurs, and future •A meteor is a flash of light caused by a impacts pose a thread we cannot particle entering our atmosphere, they ignore burn up before reaching the ground •They’re usually blasted apart before reaching the ground 12.1 •Some are rich in carbon compounds What are asteroids like? • Asteroids are rocky leftover from the 12.2 era of planetary formation • Meteorites are pieces of asteroids that What comets like? orbited the sun before falling to Earth •Comets are icy leftovers from the era of • Most are small despite, their enormous planet formation, and most orbit far numbers their total mass is less than from the Sun that of any terrestrial planet •They’re dirty snowballs of hydrogen • Bigger asteroids are more spherical and water etc. because the force of gravity is stronger If a comet approaches the Sun, its so it can get pulled into a sphere • nucleus heats up and its ice sublimates • Mostly made of metal and rock, mostly into gas, the nucleus is the central condensed within the frost line chunk of ice • Most are located in the asteroid belt •The escaping gases carry along some and orbits the Sun between Mars and dust, forming a coma and 2 tails, a Jupiter plasma tail of ionized gas and a dust tail • A coma is the huge dusty atmosphere it What are the large objects like Kuiper forms from the escaping gas of the belt like? nucleus • Like smaller comets, these objects are • As the comet comes closer to the inner
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