# Solar System Scales. PTYS/ASTR 206 The Golden Age of Planetary Exploration Shane Byrne

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1 Solar System Scales PTYS/ASTR 206 The Golden Age of Planetary Exploration Shane Byrne

2 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 2 In this lecture Measuring length, mass and time Angular sizes and real sizes Distances between solar system objects Timescales of the solar system Scientific notation

3 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 3 Length, Time and Mass Units are vital! E.g. How far away is it? Two hundred a meaningless answer! Two hundred meters this means something How old is it? 46 means nothing Seconds or years?? In science we use the metric system (SI units) Length is in meters (1m = ) Time is in seconds Mass is in kilograms (1Kg = 2.2 pounds on Earth) MKS units We ll use these throughout the course CGS units Metric system using centimeters, grams, seconds We won t use this.

4 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 4 Length, Time and Mass 1s 1m The time needed for a cesium-133 atom to perform 9,192,631,770 complete oscillations. Originally 1/10,000,000 of the distance between the equator the pole 1983: The distance traveled by light in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 sec 1 Kg (1000g) Originally defined as the mass of 1 liter (0.1m x 0.1m x 0.1m) of pure water Now defined by a standard platinum-iridium block in Paris. Temperature in Kelvin Starts at absolute zero ( Celsius), directly measures thermal energy Interval is the same as Celsius, 1/ of the triple point of water You can make any other units by combining these basic ones Speed = distance/time or m/s Acceleration = Change-in-speed / time or m/s 2 Weight (or force) = mass * acceleration or Kg * m / s 2

5 freemars.org PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 5

6 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales M 1 M M 0.11 M 318 M 95 M 14.5 M 17.2 M

7 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 7 Small things can appear large Angular size depends on physical size and distance Lunar Transit - Stereo mission i Real Lunar Size

8 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 8 Small angle formula angular_size = size / distance Moon = 1737km / 384,440 km radians Sun = km / 149,000,000 km radians

9 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 9 Distances Measured in astronomical units for convenience 1 AU is the Earth-Sun distance That s pretty hard to measure Relative distances are easy E.g. Mars is 1.5 AU from the Sun. SUN E M First measured by Richer & Domenico 1672 using parallax of Mars and size of the Earth Later methods used transits of Venus Value of 149,597,870,700 m

10 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 10 Solar system structure Inner rocky planets Mercury Venus Earth Mars Asteroid belt 0.39 AU 0.72 AU 1.00 AU 1.52 AU Hundreds of members Several groups Gas Giant planets Jupiter Saturn Ice giant planets Uranus Neptune 5.2 AU 96AU 9.6AU 19.2 AU 30.1 AU Kuiper Belt (> 30 AU) Contains Pluto Several groups Oort cloud (50,000 AU) Long period comet reservoir 1/5 of the distance to the nearest star.

11 Solar system timescales Numbers to keep in mind PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 11 The universe is probably about billion years old The solar system is ~4.5 billion years old middle aged The Sun rotates every 30 days Most planets rotate in a day or less Mercury and Venus are special cases Terrestrial planets orbit the sun in 1/4 2 years Gas giants orbit the sun in yrs Most moons orbit their host planets in a few days to 1 month

12 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 12 Scientific Notation Full numbers in planetary science are awkward The sun is 150,000,000,000 meters away The wavelength of visible light is meters The solar system is 4,600,000, years old Much more convenient to say The sun is 1.5 x m away The wavelength of visible light is 5 x 10-7 m The solar system is 4.6 x 10 9 years old How about a useful example? There are about 31 million seconds in one year (1 yr=3.1 x10 7 s) We can replace 4.6 x 10 9 years with 4.6 x 10 9 x 3.1 x10 7 s The solar system is x s old. (or x s) More replacements 10-3 m = mm 10 9 yr = Gyr etc..

13 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 13 Not all the answers are known. There are plenty of exciting mysteries out there

14 PYTS/ASTR 206 Solar System Scales 14 In this lecture Measuring length, mass and time Angular sizes and real sizes Distances between solar system objects Timescales of the solar system Scientific notation Next: Exploring the solar system from the Earth Reading Chapter 1 to revise this lecture Chapter 3 for next Tuesday

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