Source Nine Planets - A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System By Bill Arnett
3 The solar system
consists of the Sun
the nine planets
about 90 satellites of the planets
a large number of small bodies (the comets and asteroids)
and the interplanetary medium.
4 The nine planets are
5 The orbits of the planets
are ellipses with the Sun at one focus though all except Mercury and Pluto are very nearly circular.
The orbits of the planets are all more or less in the same plane (called the ecliptic and defined by the plane of the Earths orbit).
6 How do they orbit
They all orbit in the same direction (counter-clockwise looking down from above the Suns north pole)
all but Venus Uranus and Pluto also rotate in that same sense.
7 The Nine Planets 8 Classification
Traditionally the solar system has been divided into planets (the big bodies orbiting the Sun)
their satellites (a.k.a. moons variously sized objects orbiting the planets) asteroids (small dense objects orbiting the Sun) and comets (small icy objects with highly eccentric orbits).
9 The Big Questions
What is the origin of the solar system It is generally agreed that it condensed from a nebula of dust and gas. But the details are far from clear.
10 Big questions continued
What conditions allow the formation of terrestrial planets It seems unlikely that the Earth is totally unique but we still have no direct evidence one way or the other.
11 Big questions continued
Is there life elsewhere in the solar system If not why is Earth special
Is there life beyond the solar system Intelligent life
Is life a rare and unusual or even unique event in the evolution of the universe or is it adaptable widespread and common
12 The Earth 13 Earth
is the third planet from the Sun and the fifth largest.
orbit 149600000 km
(1.00 AU) from Sun
diameter 12756.3 km
mass 5.972e24 kg
14 The Earth is divided
into several layers which have distinct chemical and seismic properties
15 Earths division
(depths in km)
0- 40 Crust
40- 400 Upper mantle
400- 650 Transition region
650-2700 Lower mantle
2700-2890 D layer
2890-5150 Outer core
5150-6378 Inner core
16 The crust
varies considerably in thickness
it is thinner under the oceans
thicker under the continents.
The inner core and crust are solid the outer core and mantle layers are plastic or semi-fluid.
17 Most of the mass
of the Earth is in the mantle
most of the rest in the core
the part we inhabit is a tiny fraction of the whole
18 Parts of earth
(values below x1024 kilograms)
outer core 1.835
inner core 0.09675
19 71 of the Earths surface
is covered with water.
Earth is the only planet on which water can exist in liquid form on the surface.
20 Liquid water is essential
for life as we know it.
The heat capacity of the oceans is also very important in keeping the Earths temperature relatively stable.
21 Liquid water
is also responsible for most of the erosion and weathering of the Earths continents a process unique in the solar system today (though it may have occurred on Mars in the past).
22 The Earths atmosphere
is 77 nitrogen 21 oxygen with traces of argon carbon dioxide and water.
23 The tiny amount of
carbon dioxide resident in the atmosphere at any time is extremely important to the maintenance of the Earths surface temperature via the greenhouse effect.
24 The greenhouse effect
raises the average surface temperature about 35 degrees C above what it would otherwise be (from a frigid -21 C to a comfortable 14 C)
without it the oceans would freeze and life as we know it would be impossible.
25 The Moon 26 The Moon
is the only natural satellite of Earth
orbit 384400 km from Earth
diameter 3476 km
mass 7.35e22 kg
27 The moon
is the second brightest object in the sky after the Sun. As the Moon orbits around the Earth once per month the angle between the Earth the Moon and the Sun changes we see this as the cycle of the Moons phases. The time between successive new moons is 29.5 days (709 hours)
28 The Moon was first visited
by the Soviet spacecraft Luna 2 in 1959. It is the only extraterrestrial body to have been visited by humans.
The first landing was on July 20 1969 the last was in December 1972.
The Moon is also the only body from which samples have been returned to Earth.
29 The gravitational forces
between the Earth and the Moon cause some interesting effects. The most obvious is the tides.
30 The Moons gravitational attraction
is stronger on the side of the Earth nearest to the Moon and weaker on the opposite side.
Since the Earth and particularly the oceans is not perfectly rigid it is stretched out along the line toward the Moon.
31 The Moon has
no atmosphere. But evidence from suggested that there may be water ice in some deep craters near the Moons south pole which are permanently shaded. There is apparently ice at the north pole as well.
32 A piece of the moon 33 The End
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