Astronomy Study Guide Exam 3
Astronomy Study Guide Exam 3 AST 111
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Date Created: 11/02/15
Study Guide For Exam #3 Astronomy The Planets Questions: 1) Name the Planets in order and state whether they belong to the category of terrestrial or Jovian (exclude Pluto). 2) Define the characteristics of a terrestrial planet. 3) Describe the process of plate tectonics? What does this process mean for the surface of Earth? 4) What is the greenhouse effect? Why is it necessary for life on Earth? 5) Name five causes of Ice Ages: 6) What are some typical features seen on the moon? 7) Where did the moon come from? 8) Why is the moon the way it is (orbital plane, density)? 9) Identify one key feature about the planet Mercury: 10) Describe the surface conditions of Venus: 11) Name two interesting facts about Mars: 12) What are the surface conditions of Mars: 13) What are the characteristics of a Jovian planet: 14) Name the typical layers for a Jovian planet. 15) Which is more important to the Jovian planets, heat from the sun or the planets core? 16) What is the great red spot? 17) Do all the Jovian planets have rings? 18) What are typical rings? 19) Why are Jovian rings constant? 20) Without shepherd moons what would happen to the Jovian rings? True or False: 1) Jupiter and Saturn have a layer of liquid metal hydrogen as an inner layer. 2) The blue colors of Neptune and Uranus come from large quantities of ice in the upper atmosphere. 3) The planet with the largest magnetosphere is mercury because it is closer to the sun. 4) The shepherd moons orbit in a fixed distance away from the planet. 5) Rings on their own are quiet stable because they are attached to the planet they belong to. Study Guide Anwsers Questions: 1) Name the Planets in order and state whether they belong to the category of terrestrial or Jovian (exclude Pluto). a. Mercury – terrestrial b. Venus – terrestrial c. Earth – terrestrial d. Mars- terrestrial e. Jupiter – Jovian f. Saturn –Jovian g. Uranus – Jovian h. Neptune – Jovian 2) Define the characteristics of a terrestrial planet. a. Same basic interior – core, mantle, crust b. Close to the sun c. Low mass d. Made of mostly rock and metal e. Slow rotation and a weak magnetic field f. No rings g. Few or no moons 3) Describe the process of plate tectonics? What does this process mean for the surface of Earth? a. Plate tectonics is the process that the continental plates float on a layer of magma (mantle) their movement creates earthquake, volcanoes, mountains, and islands. This process means that the surface of earth is constantly changing, and that the continents rearrange themselves, the most famous arraignment was Pangaea (the supercontinent that existed around the time of the dinosaurs. 4) What is the greenhouse effect? Why is it necessary for life on Earth? a. The greenhouse effect is what warms and stabilizes the surface temperature of Earth. It also blocks harmful radiation in the upper atmosphere by allowing visible light to pass through to the ground but blocks/absorbs/redirects harmful radiation from the sun. 5) Name five causes of Ice Ages: a. Ice ages are natural occurrences (we are in one right now) but can be triggered by i. Positions of continents ii. Earth’s motion iii. Greenhouse gasses iv. Volcanic activity v. Albedo (reflectivity) vi. Solar Activity vii. Asteroid impacts 6) What are some typical features seen on the moon? a. Impact craters b. Terrae –lunar highlands c. Dark Material – “impact melt” dark regions of the moon d. Lunar seas – impact basins 7) Where did the moon come from? a. The leading theory is that the moon was once another planet that smashed into early (still forming) Earth. 8) Why is the moon the way it is (orbital plane, density)? a. The moon gets its features because of its origins. It obitins in the plane of the planets because it was once one, the density of the moon is low because it lost most of its mass in the collision. Earth and the moon also share the same isotope of lighter material because they shared with each other. 9) Identify one key feature about the planet Mercury: a. The surface is full of impact craters b. The planet has no Maria c. Has cliffs called “scarps” which all go from north to south d. No atmosphere e. Extreme temperatures f. Short orbital period 10) Describe the surface conditions of Venus: a. Thick atmosphere b. Several hundred volcanoes (dormant) c. Many impact craters d. Little surface weather (rain, wind) means little erosion e. Tall mountains 11) Name two interesting facts about Mars: a. The planet has mountains so large that several states would fit into them! b. There is evidence of once surface water in the northern part of the planet c. Even the thin air doesn’t stop the Martian weather, there still seasonal winds and dust storms. d. Occasionally liquid water breaks out onto the surface where it then either freezes or evaporates. 12) What are the surface conditions of Mars: a. Ice caps – made mostly of carbon dioxide b. Canyons c. Volcanoes d. Impact craters 13) What are the characteristics of a Jovian planet? a. Far from the sun b. Low density c. High mass d. Mostly comprised of Helium and Hydrogen gas e. Fast rotation f. Strong magnetism g. Rings h. Many moons 14) Name the typical layers of a Jovian planet: a. Rocky metallic core b. Layer of metallic hydrogen (Jupiter & Saturn only) c. Layer of thick Hydrogen and Helium gas 15) Which is more important to the Jovian planets, heat from the sun or the planets core? a. Heat emitted from the planets core. 16) What is the great red spot? a. The great red spot is a weather system (rather stable) on the planet Jupiter. It is about the size of Earth and is caused by convection currents in the planets atmosphere. 17) Do all the Jovian planets have rings? a. Yes 18) What are typical rings? a. Small objects (rocks, ice, or dust) captured by the planets gravity and are now trapped on its orbital plane 19) Why are Jovian rings constant? a. The rings are constant mostly because of shepherd moons, which confine rings to their gravity. (With the exception of Jupiter, which has moons because it is constantly being fed by the volcanic releases from its moon Io. 20) Without shepherd moons what would happen to the Jovian rings? a. They would either collapse into the planet or dissipate into space. True or False: 1) Jupiter and Saturn have a layer of liquid metal hydrogen as an inner layer. a. True 2) The blue colors of Neptune and Uranus come from large quantities of ice in the upper atmosphere. a. False – the color comes from large amounts of methane gas. 3) The planet with the largest magnetosphere is mercury because it is closer to the sun. a. False- it is the Jovian planet Jupiter and it is cause by the volcanic activity of its moon Io. 4) The shepherd moons orbit in a fixed distance away from the planet. a. False – the moons orbit in different locations from their planets and can even trade locations. 5) Rings on their own are quiet stable because they are attached to the planet they belong to. a. False – rings are not stable nor are they attached (or touching) the planet in any way Jovian Planets Continued* - Jovian Magnetospheres o The magnetic fields of the Jovian’s are each far stronger and further reaching than those of the terrestrial planets o o Jupiter is a special case Volcanic eruptions from its moon Io send charged matter into orbit about Jupiter extending its field by a factor of 3. Potential astronauts would need special shielding to keep them safe from the intense radiation churned up by these magnetic fields Bright aurora have been seen at the poles of the Jovian’s as well - Jovian Rings - o Each of the Jovian planets have some kind of rings o None of the terrestrial planets have rings at this time o The Dutch astronomer Christian Huyghens determined three centuries ago that the rings of Saturn do not touch the planet at any point. o The rings of the other three Jovian’s weren’t discovered until the 1970’s and 1980’s, Saturn’s rings are bright but the others are extremely dark Saturn’s rings are large (>70,000km across), thin (<1 km wide) and bright Rings are not solid objects. Rather, they consist of rocks, ice, and/or dust. Saturn’s rings are made from chunks of ice whose average size is that of a softball Saturn’s rings may have come from a small icy moon that wandered to close to Saturn The gravity tides of Saturn were stronger than the moon’s own gravity, and so it was ripped apart The rings of Uranus & Neptune may have formed in similar fashion o In their cases the objects ripped apart would have been smaller & rocky rather than icy and so they are quiet dark o Rings are unstable- they tend to disperse, either flying off into space or falling into the planet o So either rings must be continually replaced (as for Jupiter) or something must be keeping them in place - Shepherd Moon o The rings of Saturn and Uranus solve the need for food by using shepherd moons to keep the rings intact o o The shepherds are small moons that move on opposite sides of individual rings Their mutual gravity confines the rings The shepherds even take turns on opposite sides of the rings Shepherd moons haven’t been found in Neptune’s rings – which may be why they appear less defined than those of Saturn and Uranus
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