# Patterns in the Solar System (Chapter 18)

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1 GEOLOGY 306 Laboratory Instructor: TERRY J. BOROUGHS NAME: Patterns in the Solar System (Chapter 18) For this assignment you will require: a calculator, colored pencils, a metric ruler, and meter stick. Objectives: you should be able to describe the appearance of the solar system when it is viewed along the plane of the ecliptic; summarize the distances and spacing of the planets in the Solar System; summarize and compare the physical characteristics of the terrestrial and Jovian planets; and describe the motions of the planets in the Solar System. THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS REFER TO CHAPTER 18 IN YOUR MANUAL (Read the questions from your manual and place your answers in the following spaces provided.) Table 18.1 Planetary Data: (Use this data to answer the following questions.) (I have included data for Pluto for comparison) 30 Pluto yr Mean Surface Temp. ( C) h 56 m h 30 m h 07 m 14 Pluto 6.4 d ~ * AU = astronomical unit, Earth s mean distance from the sun ** Includes all satellites discovered as of December 2013 Eccentricity is a measure of the amount an orbit deviates from a circular shape. The larger the number, the less circular the orbit. 1. Mercury s orbit is inclined within (4, 7 or 10) degrees? (Pick one) All of the other planets lie within (4, 7 or 10) degrees? (Pick one) 2. The orbit of the icy, dwarf planet Pluto is inclined 17 to the plane of the ecliptic. When compared to the eight major planets, Pluto s orbit is more elliptical and tilted (very little, similar to the major planets, or very much) (Pick One): 1

2 3. Considering the nebular origin of the solar system, do you think that rotation and flattening of the nebular disk had anything to do with the alignment of the major planets in our solar system? Refer to your Geology 305 lecture notes and/or handouts if necessary. 4. Describe the overall composition of the inner and outer planets, i.e. what kind of materials make up these planets? A. Inner Planets: B. Outer Planets: 5. Use the space provided for you below for your scale model of the inner Solar System (see question 8 also). Use large points to represent the four terrestrial planets and place them at the appropriate distance from the Sun. Use the mean distance from the Sun in AUs listed in table 18.1 on the first page of this packet. Measure the scale below in either cm or mm to produce the scale of this model, for example if the scale measures 1.6 cm then: 1.6 cm = 0.23 AU or 1 cm = AU (for example only!). Once you have your scale calculated, you can use it as a conversion factor and convert the mean distance between the terrestrial planets and the Sun into cm and plot their location on the strip provided. Don t forget to name each planet and to include arrows to represent the orbit and spin directions for each planet. Also, write the word Asteroids 258 million scale miles from the Sun, keeping in mind that 1AU =93 million miles. Sun AU scale 6. What feature of the solar system separates and/or is located between the Terrestrial planets and the Jovian planets? 7. Using the information from table 18.1 (planetary data) and describe the Spacing of the terrestrial planets, are the distances short or long? Are the distances relatively constant, variable, increasing, or decreasing? Describe the spacing of the Jovian planets, are the distances short or long? Are the distances relatively constant, variable, increasing, or decreasing? 2

4 9. Which planet is the largest of the Jovian planets and what is its radius? 10. Summarize the sizes (max vs. min) of the planets within each group, using MILES; A. Diameter of the Terrestrial Planets: Max: vs. Min: B. Diameter of the Jovian Planets: Max: vs. Min: 11. Write a general statement that compares the sizes of the terrestrial planets to those of the Jovian planets. 12. Complete the following statement: The Sun is times larger than the Earth and times larger than Uranus. You can use radius or diameter, just be consistent. 13. The diameter of the icy, dwarf planet Pluto is approximately 1,500 miles, which is about (1/3. ½, or twice) the diameter of the smallest Terrestrial planet. (Pick one) Mass is a measure of the quantity of matter an object contains. In table 18.1 the masses of the planets are given in relation to the mass of the Earth. For example, the mass of Mercury is given as 0.056, which means that it consists of only a small fraction of the quantity of matter that Earth contains. On the other hand, the Jovian planets all contain several times more matter than Earth. Density is the mass per unit volume of a substance. In table 18.1 the average densities of the planets are expressed in grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm 3 ). As a reference, the density of water is approximately one gram per cubic centimeter. Using the relative masses, etc. of the planets given in table 18.1 answer the following questions. 14. Complete the following statements: A. The planet is the most massive planet in the Solar System. It is times more massive than Earth. B. The least massive Terrestrial planet is which contains only as much mass as the Earth. The gravitational attraction of a planet is directly related to the mass of the planet 15. Which planet exerts the greatest pull of gravity? Which planet exerts the least pull of gravity? 16. Name two planets there were massive enough to attract and retain large quantities of hydrogen and helium, the lightest elements. A. B. 4

6 27. Write a general statement comparing the densities of the Terrestrial planets to the Jovian planets. 28. Why are the densities of the Terrestrial and the Jovian planets so different? 29. The terrestrial planets are all composed of the same types of materials, in various concentrations. What could explain the fact that Mars has a somewhat lower average density than the other terrestrial planets or that the Earth has a somewhat higher average density than the other terrestrial planets? 30. The mass of Pluto, about that of Earth s, although Pluto is different than both the Terrestrial or Jovian planets it is somewhat similar to the masses of the (Terrestrial or Jovian) planets (pick one), while its density of approximately 2.0 g/cm 3 is somewhat similar to the (Terrestrial or Jovian) planets (pick one),. This suggests that this dwarf planet is made of (solid rock, a rock and ice mixture, or all gas) (Pick One) 31. Write a brief statement comparing the number of known moons of the Terrestrial planets to the number orbiting the Jovian Planets. 32. What is the general relationship between the numbers of moons orbiting a planet compared to the planets mass? Suggest a reason for the relationship. The giant planet Jupiter rotates once on its axis approximately every 10 hours. If an object were on the equator of the planet and rotating with it, it would travel approximately 280,000 miles (the equatorial circumference or distance around the equator) in about 10 hours. 33. Using the above information, calculate the equatorial rotational velocity of Jupiter using the following formula: Velocity = (distance/time) = ( miles) / ( hour) = mi/hr 6

7 34. The equatorial circumference of Earth is about 24,000 miles. What is the approximate equatorial rotational velocity of Earth per hour? Hint: think about the number of hours in one day! Velocity = (distance/time) = ( miles) / ( hour) = mi/hr 35. How many times faster is Jupiter s equatorial rotational velocity than Earth s? times faster 36. Compare the planet s periods of rotation to their period of revolution and then complete the following statement by circling the correct responses. The Terrestrial planets all have (Long or Short) days and (Long or Short) years, while the Jovian planets all have (Long or Short) days and (Long or Short) years. Circle the correct answers. 37. In one Earth year, how many revolutions will the planet Venus complete and what fraction of a revolution will Uranus accomplish? Venus: Revolutions in one Earth Year Uranus: of a revolution in one Earth year. 38. Using Kepler s third law (a planet s orbital period squared is equal to its mean solar distance cubed) or (p 2 = d 3 ), calculate the period of revolution of a hypothetical planet that is 10 Aus from the Sun. 39. How many rotations on its axis will Venus complete in 1 of its years? 40. Explain the relationship between a planet s period of rotation and period of revolution that would cause one side of a planet to face the Sun throughout its year. (Hint: think about our Moon, we typically only see one side of it each night.) (Rotation < Revolution; Rotation > Revolution; Rotation = Revolution) Circle the best answer. Extra Credit Questions from the (Summary / Report Page) at the end of chapter 18: 1. This question is similar to #5 from the first couple of pages of this packet. Once again, you will be making a scale model of the four inner Terrestrial planets of the Solar System. Use large points to represent the four terrestrial planets and place them at the appropriate distance from the Sun. Use the mean distance from the Sun in AUs listed in table 18.1 on the first page of this packet. Measure the scale below in either cm or mm to produce the scale of this model, i.e. 1cm = so many AUs or 0.18 AU = so many cm. Once you have your scale calculated you can convert the mean distance between the terrestrial planets and the Sun into mm or cm and plot their location on the strip provided. Don t forget to name each planet and to include arrows to represent the orbit and spin directions for each planet. Sun AU scale 7

8 2. In regards to the spacing of the planets, which Jovian planet varies the most from the general pattern of spacing? 3. Using Kepler s third law (a planet s orbital period squared is equal to its mean solar distance cubed) or (p 2 = d 3 ), calculate the period of revolution of a hypothetical planet that is 20 Aus from the Sun. 4. Define the following (Keep in mind that you should not define something by itself!): Revolution: Years Rotation: Mass: Diameter: Astronomical Unit: The End!!! 8

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