Astronomy and Solar System Questions

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1) Make sure to include a cover sheet with your name, class name, date of submission, and course instructor name. Also be sure to write a one or two paragraph introduction that tells what you think the lab will teach you. Finally there should also be a one or two paragraph conclusion. Briefly discuss what you did, what you learned by doing this lab, and any topics that are still confusing.

2) For the next few questions we will estimate what portion of the collapsing material ends up in the debris field. All masses should be given in kilograms and can be found easily with most search engines.

What is the mass of our Sun?

3) What is the mass of the four inner planets?

Mass of Mercury:
Mass of Venus:
Mass of Earth:
Mass of Mars:

4) What is the mass of the four outer planets?

Mass of Jupiter:
Mass of Saturn:
Mass of Uranus:
Mass of Neptune:

5) Find the total mass of the eight planets in our solar system. Compare this with the mass of the Sun. Are the two masses comparable? If not, which one is larger?

6) There are three features of our Solar System that should also be included here.

Mass of Asteroid Belt:
Mass of Kuiper Belt:
Mass of Oort Cloud:

Now include these along with the mass of the planets found in question (5). This will be an estimate for the mass of the debris field.

The mass of our solar system is the mass of the Sun plus the mass just found for the debris field. What percentage of the mass of our solar system is contained in the Sun?

7) Current estimates for the distribution of mass in our solar system is that the Sun contains 99.8 to 99.9 percent of the total mass. Is this close to what you got? If not, what might be some other sources of mass in our solar system?

8) Notice that the inner planets are smaller and have thin atmospheres. Conversely, the outer planets are considerably larger and have thick atmospheres. Recall from the discussion of particle type in the debris field that ice behaves like a fluid at room temperature and like a solid at low temperature. Using the search engine of your choice, review a few articles about the frost line and write a two or three paragraph overview on how this might affect planet formation.

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