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Astronomy Exam 4 Study Guide

by: Abby Geiger

Astronomy Exam 4 Study Guide ASTR 101

Marketplace > Clemson University > Science > ASTR 101 > Astronomy Exam 4 Study Guide
Abby Geiger
GPA 3.2

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About this Document

I have constructed this study guide with the most important information from chapters 9-12
Solar System Astronomy
Dr. Sean Brittain
Study Guide
astronomy, Clemson, Clemson University, Study Guide, astronomy study guide, Exam 4, solar system astronomy
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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by Abby Geiger on Friday April 15, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to ASTR 101 at Clemson University taught by Dr. Sean Brittain in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 649 views. For similar materials see Solar System Astronomy in Science at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 04/15/16
ASTRONOMY EXAM 4 STUDY GUIDE Be sure to review previous study guides to study for cumulative questions CHAPTER 9: 1. What is a subduction zone? A place where a seafloor plate is sliding under a continental plate 2. What was the most important event on Venus in the past billion years? A global “repaving” that erased essentially all the surface features that had existed earlier. 3. How do we know that Mars once had abundant liquid water on its surface? The presence of “blueberries” made of hematite, the presence of very old craters that appear to have been eroded by rain, and the presence of features that look like dried-up riverbeds 4. What are the basic requirements for a terrestrial world to have a global magnetic field? A core layer of molten, convecting material, and sufficiently rapid rotation 5. Lithosphere: a layer of relatively strong, rigid rock, encompassing the crust and part of the mantle a. Small planet would have the thickest lithosphere 6. Major processes that heat the interiors of the terrestrial worlds: a. 1. Heat deposited as the planets were built from planetesimals b. 2. Heat deposited as the planets underwent differentiation c. 3. Heat released by radioactive decay 7. Lunar maria: relatively smooth, flat plains on the Moon 8. Examples of tectonics: a. The slow movement of Earth’s lithospheric plates b. The stretching of the crust by underlying mantle convection c. The formation of a cliff when the lithosphere shrinks 9. Differentiation: When a terrestrial world’s interior was molten, denser materials sank toward its center and lighter material rose toward its surface 10. Earth’s interior (center to surface): a. Core: highest density; made of nickel and iron b. Mantle: moderate density; made of silicon and oxygen c. Crust: least density; made of basalt and granite 11. Impact cratering and erosion are the most clearly evident geological processes 12. The Moon and Mercury are the two geologically dead terrestrial worlds 13. A planet’s size has the greatest effect on its level of volcanic and tectonic activity 14. Impact Cratering: impacts by asteroids or comets a. Old surface features on the lunar highlands 15. Volcanism: Eruption of molten rock onto surface a. Hawaii, smooth surfaces of the lunar maria, Mars’s Olympus Mons 16. Erosion: Surface changes made by wind, water or ice a. Earth’s Grand Canyon 17. Tectonics: disruption of a planet’s surface by internal stresses a. Current location of Earth’s continents, Mars’s Valles Marineris, Mercury’s many long and tall cliffs 18. The slowly increasing distance between South America and Africa is due to seafloor spreading 19. Planets in order from fastest to slowest cooling: Mercury, Mars, Venus, Earth 20. An impact crater 10 kilometers across was made by an object that is 1 kilometer across 21. Venus has so little wind erosion because of its slow rotation 22. What two geological features set Earth apart from all other terrestrial worlds? Plate tectonics and widespread erosion 23. What two factors are important to the existence of plate tectonics on Earth? Mantle convection and a thin lithosphere 24. The cores of the terrestrial worlds are made mostly of metal because metals sunk to the centers a long time ago when the interiors were molten throughout. 25. What is NOT generally true of all the terrestrial world lithospheres? The lithosphere is broken into a set of large plates that float upon the softer rock below 26. What explains why Mars lacks a global magnetic field? Mars’s interior has cooled so much that its molten core layer no longer undergoes convection 27. Why doesn’t Venus have a global magnetic field? Its rotation is too slow 28. Early in the histories of the Moon and Mercury, they suffered many impacts and experienced some volcanism and tectonics, but they now have little geological activity at all. They are geologically dead. 29. Venus has a stronger and thicker lithosphere than Earth because of Venus’s high surface temperature that has “baked out” all the liquid water from Venus’s crust and mantle 30. What is the fundamental reason that Mars has become virtually geologically dead? Its small size compared to Earth 31. What single factor appears to play the most important role in a terrestrial planet’s geological density? Its size 32. Which planet would you expect to have the hottest interior? Size: twice as big as Earth. Distance from Sun: same as Mercury. Rotation rate: once every 6 months 33. Which planet’s surface would you expect to be the most crowded with impact craters? Size: same as the Moon. Distance from the Sun: same as Mars. Rotation rate: once every 10 days. 34. Which planet would you expect to have the most features of erosion? Size: same as Venus. Distance from Sun: same as Mars. Rotation rate: once every 25 hours. 35. Origin of the magnetic field: a. Moving charges generate magnetic fields b. The outer core is molten iron in convective currents c. These currents contain free electrons which produce Earth’s magnetic field d. When the core solidifies the Earth’s magnetic field will go away CHAPTER 10: 1. What important change in the Sun over the past four billion years is thought to be very important to understanding the climates of Venus, Earth and Mars? A gradual brightening with time 2. Why is the sky blue (on Earth)? Because molecules scatter blue light more effectively than red light 3. Runaway greenhouse effect: a greenhouse effect that keeps getting stronger until all of a planet’s greenhouse gases are in its atmosphere 4. What is the importance of carbon dioxide (CO2) cycle? It regulates the carbon dioxide concentration of our atmosphere, keeping temperatures moderate 5. If the Earth’s atmosphere did not have greenhouse gases, the Earth’s average surface temperature would be well below the freezing point of water. 6. What is the most surprising aspect of Earth’s climate history? The fact that the temperature of our planet has remained relatively steady throughout our planet’s history 7. What are some consequences of global warming? Melting of polar ice and glaciers, an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes, an increase in the severity of winter blizzards. 8. Venus and Mars have an atmosphere that consists mostly of carbon dioxide. 9. Greenhouse gas: a gas that absorbs infrared light 10. Greenhouse effect occurs in the troposphere 11. What happens to most of the visible light headed toward Earth? It reaches Earth’s surface, where some is reflected and some is absorbed. 12. On a day with complete cloud cover, what happens to the visible light headed toward Earth? The clouds reflect much of it back to space, though some still reaches the surface 13. What happens to the energy that the ground absorbs in the form of visible sunlight? It is returned upward in the form of infrared light 14. The greenhouse effect raises Earth’s surface temperature (from what it would be otherwise) because the infrared light radiated by Earth’s surface is temporarily absorbed by greenhouse gases and then reemitted in random directions 15. What is the leading hypothesis for Venus’ lack of water? Its water molecules were broken apart, and hydrogen was lost to space 16. What kind of gas is most affected by thermal escape? Light gases 17. What causes the release of oxygen into Earth’s atmosphere? Photosynthesis 18. Which terrestrial world has the most atmosphere? Venus 19. What kind of light warms the stratosphere? Ultraviolet 20. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas 21. Atmospheric characteristics of Venus: runaway greenhouse effect, almost no surface winds, sulfuric acid clouds 22. Atmospheric characteristics of Earth: ultraviolet-absorbing stratosphere, atmosphere composed primarily of nitrogen 23. Atmospheric characteristics of Mars: global dust storms, extremely low density atmosphere 24. Most of the charged particles from the Sun are deflected around Earth by the magnetosphere. 25. Earth’s stratosphere absorbs most of the UV light arriving here from the Sun. 26. Most of the X-rays coming from the Sun are absorbed in the thermosphere 27. Gas particles in Earth’s atmosphere most easily escape from the exosphere. 28. The densest layer of the atmospheres of Venus, Earth and Mars is the troposphere 29. Terrestrial worlds in order from thickest atmosphere to thinnest atmosphere: Venus, Earth, Mars, Moon/Mercury CHAPTER 11: 1. General characteristic of the four jovian planets: they are lower in average density than are the terrestrial planets 2. Methane is responsible for the blue color of Uranus and Neptune 3. Io is the most volcanically active body in our solar system 4. Europa is considered likely to have a deep, subsurface ocean of liquid water 5. Titan has a thick atmosphere made mostly of nitrogen 6. Jupiter’s composition is most like that of the Sun 7. Jupiter’s wind speeds are much faster than hurricane winds on Earth 8. Smallest radius to largest radius: Earth, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter 9. Jupiter is denser than Saturn because its higher mass and gravity compress its interior 10. Io is more volcanically active than our moon because it has a different internal heat source 11. Triton orbits its planet backward 12. Io: volcanoes currently erupting, hot glowing lava is visible in some photos, source of ionized gas in the donut-shaped charged particle belt around Jupiter a. Io experiences tidal heating because its elliptical orbit causes the tidal force to vary as Io orbits Jupiter b. Io has the most geologically active surface 13. Ganymede: heavily cratered terrain adjacent to much younger terrain, largest moon in the solar system 14. Europa: ice covered surface with few impact craters, surface features provide evidence of a subsurface liquid ocean 15. Saturn’s rings are composed of individual particles of ice and rock a. They look bright because light from the Sun reflects off of the material in the rings 16. Particles in the inner rings orbit Saturn faster than particles in the outer rings 17. Jupiter and Saturn: mostly composed of hydrogen and helium, interior is mostly liquid or metallic hydrogen 18. Uranus and Neptune: blue color because of methane, composed mostly of hydrogen compounds 19. Callisto is the most distant of Jupiter’s moons 20. Jupiter is about 300x the size of Earth 21. Weather on Jovian planets: all have strong storms and strong winds 22. Jupiter has the largest magnetosphere CHAPTER 12: 1. Pluto is best explained as a large member of the Kuiper belt 2. A comet’s dust and plasma tails point generally away from the Sun. 3. A typical meteor is created by a particle about the size of a pea 4. A meteorite is a rock found on Earth that crashed down from space 5. The asteroid belt is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter 6. All comets are icy in composition, all comets orbit the sun, all comets are leftover planetesimals that originally condensed beyond the frost line in the solar nebula 7. Jupiter nudges the asteroids through the influence of orbital resonances. 8. Did a large terrestrial planet ever form in the region of the asteroid belt? No, because Jupiter prevented one from accreting 9. How big an object causes a typical shooting star? A grain of sand or a small pebble 10. Comets: form a coma when near the Sun, most are located wither in Kuiper belt or Oort cloud, visible in the sky as a fuzzy patch of light that rises and sets with the stars 11. Meteors: visible in the sky as a bright streak of light for only a few seconds, dust particles entering Earth’s atmosphere at high speed 12. Asteroids: compositions similar to that of the terrestrial planets, typically orbit the Sun at approximately 3 AU 13. Closest to farthest from the Sun and shortest to longest orbital period : a typical asteroid in the asteroid belt, a Trojan asteroid, a typical Kuiper belt object, a typical Oort cloud object 14. A comet entering the inner solar system from afar will form a coma and some time later form a tail 15. During the time that a comet passes through the inner solar system, the comet can appear quite bright because sunlight reflects off the comet’s tail and coma 16. A comet’s plasma tail always points directly away from the Sun because of pressure exerted by the fast-moving charged particles in the solar wind 17. Kuiper belt comets are thought to have formed farthest from the Sun 18. Pluto most closely resembles a comet 19. Oort cloud comets have the most elliptical and tilted orbits 20. A 1-kilometer object strikes earth every million years 21. What would happen if a 1-kilometer object struck Earth? It would cause widespread devastation and climate change 22. The asteroid belt lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter 23. Can an asteroid be pure metal? Yes, it must have been the core of a shattered asteroid 24. About a trillion comets are thought to be located far, far beyond Pluto in the Oort cloud 25. The bright spherical part of a comet observed when it is close to the Sun is the coma 26. A comet’s plasma tail stretches directly away from the Sun 27. A comet’s nucleus is the frozen portion of a comet 28. Particles ejected from a comet can cause a meteor shower on Earth 29. The Kuiper belt extends from about beyond the orbit of Neptune to about twice the distance of Neptune from the Sun 30. Kuiper belt objects contain large amounts of ice 31. A meteorite is a rock found on Earth that crashed down from space 32. A typical meteor is created by a particle about the size of a pea 33. Primitive meteorite: a meteorite that is essentially unchanged since it first condensed and accreted in the solar nebula some 4.6 billion years ago 34. All comets are icy in composition, all comets have leftover planetesimals that originally condensed beyond the frost line in the solar nebula, all comets orbit the sun 35. A comet’s dust and plasma tails point generally away from the sun 36. The coma: when a comet passes near the Sun, part of it takes on the appearance of a large, bright ball from which the tail extends 37. The total number of comets orbiting the Sun is estimated to be about 1 trillion 38. Charon: the largest of Pluto’s three known moons 39. Pluto is best described as a large member of the Kuiper belt 40. Eris: an icy object that orbits in the Kuiper belt and is larger than Pluto 41. Mass extinction: the extinction of a large fraction of the world’s plant and animal species in a relatively short period of time


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