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  • 1. The Solar System Earth Science 1st Semester
  • 2.
    • The sun is the central hub of a rotating wheel of planets, their moons, and many other smaller celestial objects, such as comets and asteroids.
    • The sun is estimated to contain 99.85% of the mass of our solar system .
  • 3.
    • The planets traveling outwards from the sun are as follows: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
    • Pluto is no longer considered a planet.
  • 4.
    • Due to the sun’s gravity , all planets move in an elliptical orbit in the same direction around the sun.
    • The closer a planet is to the sun, the faster it travels in its orbit.
  • 5. The Planets: An Overview
    • The planets fall into two groups – the terrestrial planets, and the Jovian planets.
  • 6.
    • The terrestrial planets include Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
    • They are relatively small and rocky .
    • Since they are closer to the sun they are also known as the inner planets .
  • 7.
    • The Jovian planets include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune .
    • They are huge planets made primarily of gas .
    • Since they are further from the sun, they are known as outer planets .
  • 8.
    • Size is the most notable difference between the terrestrial and Jovian planets.
    • Density, chemical makeup, and the rate of rotation are other ways in which the two groups of planets differ.
  • 9.
    • The planets have different densities because of their different chemical compositions.
  • 10. The Interiors of the Planets
    • The substances that make up the planets are divided into three groups based on their melting points.
    • Gases: Hydrogen and Helium – have melting points near absolute zero (-273  C or 0 kelvin)
    • Rocks : made from compounds of silicates and metallic iron , both of which have melting points above 700  C.
  • 11.
    • Ices: Include ices made from compounds of ammonia, methane, carbon dioxide , and water.
    • These particular ices have intermediate melting points.
  • 12.
    • Terrestrial planets are dense and consist mostly of rocky and metallic substances.
    • They have very little gas and ice .
  • 13.
    • The Jovian planets are less dense because they contain:
    • Large amounts of gases like hydrogen and helium.
    • Ices made from water, ammonia, and methane.
    • The outer planets cores contain rocky and metallic materials.
  • 14.  
  • 15. The Atmospheres of the Planets
    • A planet’s ability to hold onto an atmosphere depends on its mass and temperature .
    • Small, relatively warm planetary bodies , with small surface gravity cannot hold much gas.
  • 16.
    • Therefore, terrestrial planets have very thin atmospheres .
    • Jovian planets however, have very thick atmospheres composed of hydrogen, helium, methane and ammonia.
    • They are able to retain thick atmospheres due to their large mass, and low temperatures.
  • 17. Formation of the Solar System – Nebular Theory
    • Nebula are clouds of dust and gas in space.
    • These thin, gaseous clouds begin to rotate in space and collapse in upon themselves.
    • As they continue to contract , they begin to spin faster .
  • 18.
    • According to the nebular theory , the sun and planets formed from just such a rotating disk of dust and gases.
    • As the speed of rotation increased, the center of the disk began to flatten out and increase in temperature.
    • The sun eventually formed in this location.
  • 19. Planetesimals
    • Planets began to grow as solid bits of matter began to collide and clump together in a process known as accretion.
    • The colliding matter formed small irregularly shaped bodies known as planetesimals .
  • 20.
    • As the collisions increased , the planetesimals grew in size , eventually growing large enough to exert a gravitational pull on surrounding objects and pull them in.
    • In this fashion the planetesimals added more mass and grew into true planets.
  • 21.
    • In the inner solar system, only metals and rocks with high melting points and high densities could remain.
    • The sun is too hot for materials with low melting points to stay solid.
    • The sun does not attract items with low densities towards it.
  • 22.
    • Materials with low melting points and low densities (like gases) would be forced into the outer solar system due to the sun’s heat and the solar wind.
    • In the outer solar system, the colder temperatures allowed materials with low melting points to form up as ice.
  • 23.
    • The Jovian planets were able to form from accumulating solid bits of matter but also from large quantities of ice.
    • Eventually, the Jovian planets grew so large that they were able to attract even the lightest gases like hydrogen and helium.