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Carolyn L.

August 9, 2014
Faculty of Arts and Letters
Earth Science
Other Members of the
Solar System
International Astronomical Union (2006)
small solar system
dwarf planets
Asteroids: Leftover Planetesimals
small bodies (planetesimals)
remaining from the formation
of the solar system
leftover debris
4.6 billion years old
2,000 Earth-crossing
porous bodies (piles of
rubble loosely bound
Giuseppe Piazzi of Italy discovered the
very first asteroid (Ceres) in 1801
Floating Baked Potatoes
Chicxulub crater
Shiva crater
Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous Shoemaker
renamed after Eugene Shoemaker
landed successfully on Eros
fine debris tends to concentrate in the low areas
where it forms flat deposits resembling ponds;
surrounding the low areas are large boulders
boulder-strewn topography due to seismic
shaking (boulders move upward as the finer
materials sink)
INEVITABLY, Earth-asteroid collisions
will occur again.
Sooner or later it will be back.
Statistics show that collisions
with bodies larger than 1 kilometer
should be expected every few hundred
thousand years.
Collisions with bodies
larger than 6 kilometers, resulting in mass
extinctions, are anticipated every 100 million
Whats the difference between an
asteroid and meteoroid?
asteroids and meteoroids are composed
of rocky and/or metallic material which
are almost the same with terrestrial
asteroids are larger than 100 meters in
meteoroids have diameters less than
100 meters
interplanetary debris missed
by the gravitational sweep of
the planets during formation
of the solar system
material that is continually
being ejected from the
asteroid belt
the rocky and/or metallic
remains of comets that once
passed through Earths orbit
space object of planet, asteroid or comet origin
space object burning up in the atmosphere
("shooting star")
space object that made impact with the surface
of another place
remains of meteoroids, when found on Earth
Meteor Showers
swarm of meteoroids traveling in the same
direction at nearly the same speed as Earth

Meteor Crater (Arizona)
types of meteorites:
mostly iron with 520% nickel
withstand impacts better; weather more slowly; easily
distinguished from terrestrial rocks
stony (chondrites)
silicate minerals with inclusions of other minerals
most common meteoroid
carbonaceous chondrite (with organic compounds: carbon,
amino acid)
numerous organic compounds exist in outer space
mixtures of the two
used to know the internal structure of Earth and
the age of the solar system
meteorites represent the composition of the
terrestrial planets
Earth contain larger percentage of iron than
Earths core is mostly iron and nickel
radiometric dating of meteorites indicates the
age of our solar system is about 4.6 billion
Major Meteor Showers:

loose collections of rocky
material, dust, water ice
and frozen gases
(ammonia, methane and
carbon dioxide)
leftover material from the
formation of the solar
surfaces are dry and dusty
(ices are hidden beneath a
rocky layer)

reside in the outer reaches of the solar system
and take hundreds of thousands of years to
complete a single orbit around the Sun

short-period comets
orbital periods of less than 200 years
Halleys Comet (76 years)
Enckes Comet (3 years)
Kuiper Belt
Gerald Kuiper
hosts comets that orbit in the outer solar
system, beyond Neptune
Oort Cloud
Jan Oort
defines the cosmographical boundary of the
solar system
consists of comets that are distributed in all
directions from the Sun
central body
a highly reflective halo due to escaping gases from
vaporizing ices
heavier dust particles produce a slightly curved tail
that follows the comets orbit
extremely light ionized gases are pushed directly
away from the Sun, forming the second tail
points away from the Sun in a slightly curved
radiation pressure (radiant energy)
solar winds

celestial bodies that orbit the Sun
essentially spherical due to their own gravity
but are not large enough to sweep their orbits clear
of other debris
"cleared the neighborhood
become gravitationally dominant, and there are
no other bodies of comparable size other than its
own satellites or those otherwise under its
gravitational influence
Plutos reclassification was
not the first such demotion.
In the mid-1800s, astronomy textbooks listed as many
as 11 planets in our solar system, including the
asteroids Vesta, Juno, Ceres and Pallas.
Researchers now recognize that Pluto was unique among
the classical planetscompletely different from the four
rocky, innermost planets, as well as the four gaseous giants.
The new classification will give a home to the
hundreds of additional dwarf planets
astronomers assume exist in the solar system.
Its not the asteroid
Nor the comet
Or even the meteor
Its the impact winter.
(asteroid impact > atmospheric dust > blocks sunlight > colder climate)