# 1. Solar System Overview

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1 Astronomy 241: Foundations of Astrophysics I 1. Solar System Overview 0. Units and Precision 1. Constituents of the Solar System 2. Motions: Rotation and Revolution 3. Formation Scenario

2 Units Text uses MKS units (meter, kilo-gram, second); e.g. G kg 1 m 3 s 2 (gravitational constant). Astronomers also use non-standard units: AU m ( average Earth-Sun distance) yr s (Earth s orbital period) M kg (Sun s mass)

3 Order of Magnitude & Dimensional Analysis: Example Given that Jupiter s average density is roughly equal to the density of water, estimate the orbital period of a satellite circling just above the planet. ρj ~ 1000 kg m 3 G ~ kg 1 m 3 s 2 GρJ ~ 10 7 s 2 (GρJ ) 1/2 ~ s ~ 1 hour (More accurate calculation gives ~3.3 hours.)

4 Precision For most calculations, uncertainties of ~1% are OK. This requires two or three significant figures. e.g., let X = a 10 b magnitude of a 10% uncertainty 1% uncertainty a 5 1 signif. figure 2 signif. figures a < 5 2 signif. figures 3 signif. figures Don t exaggerate the precision of your results! Remember some operations magnify uncertainty; e.g., if X has 1% uncertainty, X 3 has 3% uncertainty.

5 Overview: Structure Inner system: terrestrial planets, asteroids. Outer system: jovian planets and moons, KBOs. Oort Cloud: comets.

6 Overview: Contents terrestrial planets: solid surface; high density; rock+metal giant planets: no definite surface; low density; H, He, H2O, CH4, NH3, H asteroids: D <10 6 m; rock+metal eccentric orbits Distance from Sun (AU) KBOs : D < m; ices+rock; eccentric orbits Foundations of Astrophysics, Fig. 8.1

7 Overview: The Sun Largely H and He Over 99.8% of solar system s mass Self-regulating nuclear furnace

8 Diurnal Motion Due to rotation of Earth. Sidereal Day: 86,162 s ( 23 h 56 m ) Solar Day: 86,400 s (= 24 h )

9 Planetary Motion The Sun & Moon always move westto-east relative to the stars. The planets usually move west-to-east as well, but sometimes they move the other way!

10 Copernican model 1. Heavenly motions are uniform, eternal, and circular or compounded of several circles. 2. The center of the universe is near the Sun. 3. Around the Sun, in order, are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and the fixed stars. two 4. The Earth has three motions: daily rotation, annual revolution, and annual tilting of its axis. 5. Retrograde motion of the planets is explained by the Earth's motion. 6. The distance from the Earth to the Sun is small compared to the distance to the stars.

11 Revolution and Rotation All planets and most moons revolve in the same direction and stay close to the same plane. The sun and most planets also rotate in this direction. This provides a clue to the Solar System s formation.

12 Formation Scenario

13 Collapse: From Cloud to Disk 1. A gas cloud starts to collapse due to its own gravity. 2. It spins faster and heats up as it collapses. 3. Vertical motions die out, leaving a spinning disk. 4. The solar system still spins in the same direction.

14 Collapse: Angular Momentum and Energy 1. Angular momentum conservation causes the cloud to spin faster as it contracts: (rotation speed) 1 (cloud diameter) Collapse stops when the cloud spins at orbital speed. 2. Energy conservation causes the cloud to heat up: potential energy kinetic energy thermal energy gravitational collapse gas shocks

15 Planet Formation: The Frost Line The disk was hot at the center, and cool further out. Inside the frost line, only rocks & metals can condense. Outside, hydrogen compounds (e.g., H2O) can also condense. The frost line was ~4 AU from the Sun between the present orbits of Mars and Jupiter.

16 Planet Formation: Terrestrial Planets 1. Within the frost line, bits of rock and metal clumped together to make planetesimals. 2. As the planetesimals grew, they became large enough to attract each other. 3. Finally, only a few planets were left.

17 Planet Formation: Jovian Planets 1. Outside the frost line, icy planetesimals were very common, forming planets about 10 times the mass of Earth. 2. These planets attracted nearby gas, building up giant planets composed mostly of H and He. 3. The disks around these planets produced moons.

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