Major Satellites in the Solar System

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1 Lec 25: 5 December 2011 Chap. 13: Satellites of the Jovian Planets TODAY - Small Worlds in the Outer Solar System Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, Titan, Triton Intermediate Sized Satellites of Saturn & Uranus Ring systems Major Satellites in the Solar System Moon (Earth), Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto (Jupiter), Titan (Saturn), Triton (Neptune) all but Triton are tidally-locked (or almost so) all large enough to have (or have had) internal heat, differentiation, geological activity, etc. recent/ongoing activity on at least 3 of them high proportion of water ice (except Moon) hemispheric asymmetries are common at least 2 of them have atmospheres! weak magnetic fields (slow rotators) The Galilean Satellites of Jupiter Io has a bizarre, young surface! 1

2 Volcanoes continuously erupt on Io Volcanoes continuously resurface Io The Io Plasma Torus Europa is covered with a smooth layer of ice that may cover a worldwide ocean Ring of electrically charged particles circling Jupiter around Io s orbit Interactions between this ring and Jupiter s magnetic field produce strong radio emissions Io may have a magnetic field While composed primarily of rock, Europa is covered with a smooth layer of water ice The surface has hardly any craters, indicating a geologically active history Tidal heating is responsible for Europa s internal heat Minerals dissolved in this ocean may explain Europa s induced magnetic field May harbor life! Worldwide network of long cracks and ice rafts on Europa 2

3 Ganymede Ganymede has a surprisingly strong magnetic field and magnetosphere While there is at present little tidal heating of Ganymede, it may have been heated in this fashion in the past Magnetic field suggests that it, too, has a layer of liquid water beneath the surface Callisto has a heavily-cratered crust of water ice Two types of terrain on Ganymede: dark, ancient, heavily cratered surface heavily grooved, lighter-colored, younger terrain Interior Structure of the Galilean Satellites The surface shows little sign of geologic activity, because there was never any significant tidal heating of Callisto However, some unknown processes have erased the smallest craters and blanketed the surface with a dark, dusty substance (and light, young craters) Magnetic field data suggest that Callisto has a shallow subsurface ocean 3

4 Titan Cassini/Huygens To Learn More See... saturn.jpl.nasa.gov Triton Triton has a young, icy surface indicative of tectonic activity Triton and Pluto probably members a new class of Trans-Neptunian Objects Triton orbits Neptune the WRONG WAY The energy for this activity may have been provided by tidal heating that occurred when Triton was captured by Neptune s gravity into a retrograde orbit Triton has a tenuous nitrogen atmosphere 4

5 Minor Satellites in the Outer Solar system Saturn has 6 medium sized satellites on regular equatorial orbits Uranus and Neptune each have a few medium sized satellites on regular orbits many others are small, non-spherical, and on irregular orbits (retrograde, chaotic, highly inclined, not tidally locked) these may be captured debris, not stuff that formed with the planets small satellites control structure of ring systems Intermediate-sized satellites of Saturn CONGRATULATIONS!!! First Semester: (ASTR129) How the Sky Appears from Earth How and Why things move in the sky Formation and Evolution of the Solar System Properties of the Planets Earth as a Planet Second Semester: (ASTR130) The Sun as a Star Measuring basic properties of Stars Birth, Life, and Death of Stars Properties of Galaxies Exotic things (like black holes) Formation and Evolution of the Universe Exam #3 Results: median 72 max 92 Good Job!! Should you take the final? If one of your 3 exam scores was significantly lower than the others, taking the final exam is likely to improve your grade. Taking the final will NOT lower your grade. Grade Scale: A >85 A-/B B C D <55 Grade Weights: 75% exams (lowest score can be replaced with final exam score) 25% in-class (quizzes, in-class exercises, attendance, participation) 5

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