12.1 Diversity of the solar system

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2 Guiding Questions 1. Why are some elements (like gold) quite rare, while others (like carbon) are more common? 2. How do we know the age of the solar system? 3. How do astronomers think the solar system formed? 4. Did all of the planets form in the same way? 5. What must be included in a viable theory of the origin of the solar system? 6. Are there planets orbiting other stars? How do astronomers search for other planets?

3 12.1 Diversity of the solar system The diversity of the solar system is a result of its origin and evolution. A model of solar system origin shall explain it. Q1: compare terrestrial and Jovian planets and list prominent similarities and differences between the two groups. o Similarities: - motion o Differences: - distance - size - density and composition

4 Orbits of planets

5 Sizes of the planets in scale.

6 12.2 The abundances of the chemical elements Abundant H and He from the Big Bang Gravitational contraction of giant clouds generate proto-stars Heavy elements form from thermonuclear reaction in stellar cores A star ejecting its mass into cloud birth of new stars Stellar remnants returned to interstellar medium and recycled into new stars The solar system is born out of star dust. stars in old galaxies are metal poor, and stars in young galaxies are metal rich.

7 Abundances (# of atoms) of light elements in the Milky Way. Hydrogen and helium are dominant, and all other heavier elements are relatively rare. By mass, H and He make 98% of the Milky Way, and other elements only 2%. Therefore, terrestrial planets made of (rare) heavy elements are small, and Jovian planets made of abundant hydrogen and helium can be big.

8 By mass, heavy elements (excluding H and He) make 2% of the solar system (as well as the Milky Way). Jupiter s rocky core makes 2.6% of its total mass. Q1: Had the Earth retained hydrogen and helium in the same proportion to the heavier elements that exist elsewhere in the universe, (a) what would its mass be relative to its actual mass? (b) how does this compare to the masses of Jovian planets? However, Earth could not retain all the light elements to grow as big as Jovian planets.

9 12.3 Formation of the solar system (nebular hypothesis) The Birth of the Solar System o The solar system formed from a cloud of interstellar material, the solar nebula, 4.56 billion years ago. o The chemical composition of the solar nebula, by mass, was 98% hydrogen and helium and 2% heavier elements. o The nebula flattened into a disk (protoplanetary disk) in which all the material orbited the center in the same direction, just as do the planets today.

10 Protoplanetary Disks (proplyds)

11 A Disk around a Young Star

12 o The protosun formed by gravitational contraction of the center of the nebula. o After about 10 8 years, temperatures at the protosun s center became high enough to ignite thermonuclear reactions that convert hydrogen into helium, thus forming a true star, the Sun. o The planets formed by the accretion of planetesimals and the accumulation of gases in the solar nebula. Formation of the Sun and planets

13 Temperature distribution in the solar nebula Temperature (determined by distance to the center) is the key to explain the differences between terrestrial and Jovian planets. Terrestrial planets: close, hot, small, rocky, heavy elements Jovian planets: far, cold, big, gaseous, hydrogen and helium

14 Chondrules: remnants of planetesimals that did not form planets. (a crosssection of the interior of a meteorite) In the inner regions, only materials, iron,silicon, magnesium, sulfur etc., with high condensation temperatures remain solid. Computer simulation of formation of terrestrial planets. Accumulation of these materials, called accretion, form terrestrial planets. They are small because heavy elements are rare.

15 There are two models about formation of the Jovian planets. Core accretion model: dense iron core formed the same way as how terrestrial planets are formed. At low temperature, light gases of hydrogen and helium are captured and maintained by gravity. (6 v > v esc : gas escapes v = 3kT 1/ 2 v esc = 2GM ) m R Disk instability model: Jovian planets formed directly from the solar nebula gas, and rocky heavy core sank into the center by gravity. Asteroids, Kuiper belt objects, and comets are left-over debris from the original solar nebula. Their distributions are a result of gravitational force by Jovian planets.

16 Q2: how does gravity lead to formation of the solar system? Gravitational contraction shrinks the nebula, which then rotates faster and flattens. Gravitational contraction produces the protosun, converting gravitational energy into heat and producing the temperature profile in the protoplanetary disk. Gravitational accretion forms the terrestrial planets or cores of the Jovian planets. Gravity of Jovian cores retains large amounts of light elements. Gravity shapes the solar system and governs the motions in the solar system. Such may happen at numerous places in the Universe!

17 12.4. Discovery of extrasolar planets By measuring the Doppler effect in stars that wobble because of planets orbiting around them, astronomers have found more than 100 extrasolar planets since A brown dwarf

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19 Most of the extrasolar planets discovered to date are quite massive and have orbits that are very different from planets in our solar system. (www.exoplanets.org) More than 5000 found, and over 3000 of them confirmed. (www.nasa.gov/kepler)

20 Kepler's Planet Candidates: A Family Portrait

21 Earth-like Planet Candidates

22 Nearest exo-planet? Proxima Centauri, the star nearest the sun, has a planetary system consisting of at least one planet. The new study analyzes and supplements earlier observations. These new measurements show that this planet, named Proxima Centauri b or simply Proxima b, has a mass close to that of Earth (1.3 times Earth s mass) and orbits its star at a distance of 0.05 astronomical units (one tenth of the sun- Mercury distance). Contrary to what one might think, such a small distance does not imply a high temperature on the surface of Proxima b because the host star, Proxima Centauri, is a red dwarf with a mass and radius that are only one-tenth that of the Sun, and a brightness a thousand times smaller than the sun s. Hence Proxima b is in the habitable zone of its star and may harbor liquid water at its surface.

23 Key Words accretion atomic number chondrule condensation temperature conservation of angular momentum core accretion model disk instability model extrasolar planet half-life interstellar medium jets gravitational contraction nebular hypothesis planetesimal protoplanet protoplanetary disk (proplyd) protosun radioactive age-dating radioactive decay solar nebula

24 summary

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