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The Size and Distance Scale Of The Solar System

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EARTH AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM The Size and Distance Scale Of The Solar System Our Earth is just one of several Planets that revolve around our Sun, the primary and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Size and Distance Scale Of The Solar System


1
The Size and Distance Scale Of The Solar System
EARTH AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM
  • Our Earth is just one of several Planets that
    revolve around our Sun, the primary and central
    object of our Solar System.
  • Since the entire Solar System, including our
    Earth, was created about the same time (about 4.6
    billion years ago), our understanding of the
    origin and properties of the Solar System, the
    Sun, and its other members are important to our
    understanding of Earth itself.
  • We consider the size of our Earth to be very
    large, in comparison with most sizes and
    distances we deal with in our daily lives.
  • However, the size of the Earth is very small
    compared to the size of the Solar System, which
    consists of the Sun and its family of planets, of
    which our Earth is only about average in size.

2
The Size and Distance Scale Of The Solar System
EARTH AND THE SOLAR SYSTEM
  • When we observe the night sky, the planets, stars
    and galaxies appear to be close together.
  • Remember
  • some objects are closer to the Earth than others
  • enormous distances separate us from other objects
    in the universe.
  • As we gather information from the farthest
    reaches of the universe, we can learn about the
    history of the universe.

3
The Size and Distance Scale Of The Solar System
  • In turn, the size of our Solar System is very
    large compared to the size of our Earth, or even
    the largest planet, Jupiter.
  • The distance from our Earth to the Moon
  • 238,000 miles or 384,000 kilometers
  • (nearly 100 times Earths diameter, or about 30
    times the distance around the Earth at its
    equator)
  • The distance from our Earth to the Sun
  • 93,000,000 miles or 149,600,000 kilometers
  • (more than 390 times the distance to the Moon)
  • The most distant major planet from the Sun,
    Neptune, is 30 times Earths distance from the
    Sun.
  • The nearest stars in our Galaxy, the star system
    of Alpha Centauri, is 9,000 times Neptunes
    distance from the Sun!

4
Why dont we use the kilometer?
  • kilometer is just too small to be useful
  • numbers become so large that it becomes hard to
    write and hard to interpret
  • so astronomers use other units of distance.
  • next nearest big galaxy- the Andromeda Galaxy
  • 21 quintillion km
  • 21,000,000,000,000,000,000 km.

5
Units of Measurements
  • light-year
  • AU
  • parsec

6
light-year
  • A light-year is a unit of distance.
  • distance that light can travel in one year.
  • Light moves at a velocity of about
  • 300,000 kilometers km/ second (299,792 km/second)
  • 186,000 miles/second (186,282 miles/second)
  • In one year, it can travel about
  • 10 trillion km or
  • 5.8 trillion miles
  • More precisely, one light-year is equal to
    9,460,000,000,000 km
  • 9.46 x 1012 kilometers

7
http//www.youtube.com/watch?vRj1sDWjvgjM
  • light units

8
Units of Light Measurement
  • Visible light travels 186,000 miles per second
  • Light second

9
Units of Light Measurement
  • Visible light travels 186,000 miles per second
  • Light minute

10
Units of Light Measurement
  • Visible light travels 186,000 miles per second
  • Light hour

11
Units of Light Measurement
  • Visible light travels 186,000 miles per second
  • Light day

12
Units of Light Measurement
  • Visible light travels 186,000 miles per second
  • Light week

13
Units of Light Measurement
  • Visible light travels 186,000 miles per second
  • Light month

14
Units of Light Measurement
  • Visible light travels 186,000 miles per second
  • Light year

15
AU
  • astronomical unit (AU)
  • used only in our solar system
  • average distance between the Earth and the Sun
  • approximately 150 million km (93 million miles)
  • Earth is 1 AU from the Sun
  • Mercury is 1/3 of an AU from the Sun
  • Pluto averages about 40 AU from the Sun

16
parsec
  • used for distances to other parts of the Milky
    Way Galaxy (or even further)
  • equal to 3.3 light-years
  • Crab supernova remnant- 4,000 light-years away
  • Milky Way Galaxy- 150,000 light-years across
  • Andromeda Galaxy- 2.3 million light-years away

17
SIZES AND DISTANCES IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM
  • Sizes
  • Diameters of Solar System Members
  • Sun 1,392,000 km
  • Mercury 4,878 km
  • Venus 12,104 km
  • Earth 12,756 km
  • Mars 6,794 km
  • Jupiter 142,984 km
  • Saturn 120,536 km
  • Uranus 51,118 km
  • Neptune 49,530 km
  • Pluto 2,304 km

Mean Distance from Sun
57,900,000 km 0.387 AU 108,200,000 km
0.723 AU 149,600,000 km 1.000 AU
227,900,000 km 1.524 AU 778,300,000 km
5.203 AU 1,427,000,000 km 10.07
AU 2,871,000,000 km 19.19 AU 4,497,000,000 km
30.06 AU 5,914,000,000 km 39.53 AU
Earths Moon 3,476 km Mean Distance
from Earth 384,400 km
18
Earth and Moon to Scale
19
Sizes and Distances in the Earth-Moon System
20
Relative Sizes of Planets in Our Solar System
21
The Planets of Our Solar System The Inner
Planets Sizes to Scale
Mercury Venus Earth and Moon
Mars
22
The Planets of Our Solar System
The Outer Planets
Jupiter
Saturn
Earth Included for Scale.
Uranus
Pluto
Neptune
23
Size Comparisons In Our Solar System
24
THE SIZE AND DISTANCE SCALE OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
  • The distances between the members of our Solar
    System are much larger than the sizes of the
    members (even the Sun).
  • The distance from the Earth to the Sun is
  • 150,000,000 km (about 93,000,000 miles) in
    comparison to the Suns diameter of about
    1,392,000 km (about 110 times that of Earth).
  • The region beyond the orbit of Neptune, called
    the Kuiper Belt, contains a large number of
    smaller objects (including Pluto and at least one
    recently discovered slightly larger object), all
    (as yet known) smaller than our Moon.
  • The Kuiper Belt objects known to date can reach
    distances of more than 90 times Earths distance
    from the Sun.

25
SIZES AND DISTANCES IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM
  • Sizes
  • Diameters of Solar System Members
  • Sun 1,392,000 km
  • Mercury 4,878 km
  • Venus 12,104 km
  • Earth 12,756 km
  • Mars 6,794 km
  • Jupiter 142,984 km
  • Saturn 120,536 km
  • Uranus 51,118 km
  • Neptune 49,530 km
  • Pluto 2,304 km

Mean Distance from Sun
57,900,000 km 0.387 AU 108,200,000 km
0.723 AU 149,600,000 km 1.000 AU
227,900,000 km 1.524 AU 778,300,000 km
5.203 AU 1,427,000,000 km 10.07
AU 2,871,000,000 km 19.19 AU 4,497,000,000 km
30.06 AU 5,914,000,000 km 39.53 AU
Earths Moon 3,476 km Mean
Distance from Earth 384,400 km
26
Orbits of the Inner Planets
27
Orbits of Jupiter and Saturn
28
Orbits of the Outer Planets
29
The Kuiper Belt
  • The Kuiper Belt is a zone beyond the outermost
    major planet, Neptune, in which many of the
    comets that pass through the inner part of the
    solar system travel, and may have originated in
    the early years of our solar system.
  • Surveys of the outer part of the solar system,
    beyond the orbit of Pluto, have recently found
    several additional objects comparable to Pluto in
    size.
  • Most recently, an object apparently larger than
    Pluto has been found, which would (if verified)
    make it the 10th planet of our solar system.
  • The detection of this (as yet un-named) object,
    called (temporarily) UB313, was made using the
    ground-based 48-inch Samuel Oschin telescope at
    Palomar Observatory.
  • The object is 97 times Earths distance from the
    Sun, or more than twice Plutos greatest
    distance.
  • It is likely that, with continuing very deep sky
    surveys with both ground-based and space-based
    telescopes, that more objects of these types will
    be discovered.

30
Orbit of the newly discovered object, 2003 UB313,
compared to those of Pluto and the giant outer
planets. Note, the orbits of Pluto and UB313, in
red, are tilted relative to the plane of the
inner giant planet orbits.
31
The Size and Distance Scale of The Solar System
  • The size of our Solar System, if defined by the
    diameter of Plutos orbit, is about 40 times the
    diameter of Earths orbit around the Sun.
  • If we consider also the most distant Kuiper Belt
    objects discovered to date, up to 90 times
    Earths distance from the Sun, the diameter of
    our solar system would be increased accordingly.
  • However, the distance to the nearest star other
    than our Sun is vastly larger than the size of
    our Solar System.
  • The distances to stars can be estimated by
    comparing their observed brightnesses with that
    of our Sun, if they are known to be similar to
    our Sun in other respects (as determined, for
    example, by spectroscopic measurements).
  • The nearest stars to our solar system, the star
    system Alpha Centauri, is at a distance about
    9000 times Neptunes distance, or 6800 times
    Plutos maximum distance, from our Sun!
  • If our solar system were scaled to the size of a
    quarter (with Plutos orbit about 1 inch in
    diameter) the Alpha Centauri system would be at a
    distance of about 285 feet!
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