solar system 05 terrestrial planets

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  • 1. Solar System 05: The Terrestrial Planets

2. The Terrestrial Planets

  • Terrestrial means earthlike
  • The terrestrial planets are Mercury, Venus, and Mars

3. 4. Mercury Data Surface Gravity if Earth = 1 0.38 Planet Symbol Mass if Earth = 1 0.055 Length of Day 58.65 Earth days Diameter if Earth = 1 0.38 Length of Year(revolution around the sun) 87.97 Earth days Diameter at the Equator 3,031 miles Moons None Mean Distance from the sun 36,000,000 miles 0.4 AU 5. Mercury is only Slightly Largerthan the Moon MERCURY OUR MOON 6. Discovery

  • Discovery : Mercury has been known since prehistoric times.
  • It was first mentioned in written records of the Sumerians (3000 BC).

7. Visibility

  • Mercury is visible either early in the evening just after sunset or early in the morning just before sunrise.
  • It is always close to the sun and can be seen for just a few minutes either at sunset or sunrise.

8. Phases of Mercury

  • As an inferior planet (between sun and earth), Mercury displays phases that resemble the phases of earths moon.
  • You need a telescope to observe the phases of Mercury.
  • Galileo first observed the phases of Mercury and Venus. This observation represented proof of the heliocentric (sun-centered), or Copernican solar system

9. Phases of Inferior Planets Telescope sketches of Mercury Orbit of an inferior planet 10. Eccentric Orbit

  • Mercurys eccentric orbit brings it close and far from the sun during its revolution.
  • This means that the orbital shape is much more oval or elliptical in appearance.
  • Mercurys orbit is one of the most eccentric in the solar system.
  • At its closest approach to the sun (perihelion), Mercury lies at a distance of 46 million km
  • At its farthest approach (aphelion) Mercury lies at a distance of 70 million km.

11. Planetary Eccentricities Which planet is most eccentric? 12. Mercurys Lobsided Orbit mercury_layers.jpg Mercurys Perihelion 13. Mercurys Temperature

  • The temperature changes on Mercury are the most extreme of the planets.
  • At perihelion, Mercurys temperature equals 427C.
  • At aphelion, Mercurys temperature equals -183C.
  • Mercury is still not the hottest planet in the solar system. Which planet is hotter?

14. Surface Features

  • Mercury most resembles earths moon in appearance.
  • Mercury has no substantial atmosphere. It is a naked ball of rock.
  • Mercurys surface is heavily cratered and very old.
  • The surface features enormous cliffs (scarps), some up to hundreds of kilometers in length and as high as 3 kilometers.
  • Beethoven is the largest crater on Mercury. At 402 mi, it is the largest crater in the solar system 15. Impact craters on Mercury have similar features to those on the Moon.CRATERS ON BOTH MERCURY AND THE MOON HAVE RINGS OF MOUNTAINS SURROUNDING THEM MERCURY OUR MOON Jumbled hills surrounding the Caloris Impact Basin 16. Mercury also has numerous long cliffs, called scarps, believed to have formed when the planet cooled 17. Caloris Basin

  • One huge impact feature on Mercury is named the Caloris Basin, it is about 800 miles in diameter and was created by the impact of a large comet or asteroid.
  • The Caloris Basin resembles the large impact basins (maria) on earths moon.
  • The impact that created this basin was so large that it created a warped surface area on the area of the planet directly behind the impact. Hot basin 18. Mercury Names

  • Features on Mercury have been named for famous writers, musicians, and painters.
  • For example, there are craters named after Beethoven, Homer, Mark Twain, and Matisse.
  • There are 297 named features on Mercury

19. 16 Largest Craters on Mercury

  • Beethoven
  • Tolstoy
  • Raphael
  • Goethe
  • Homer
  • Vyasa
  • Rodin
  • Monet
  • Haydn
  • Mozart
  • Bach
  • Valmiki
  • Renoir
  • Wren
  • Vivaldi
  • Matisse

20. Discovery Scarp 21. Shakespeare quadrangle of Mercury 22. Caloris Basin & Antipodal, Jumbled Terrain, Mercury 23. Interior

  • Mercury possesses a huge iron core that comprises about 80% of the planets mass.
  • Mercury could be described as a metal ball dipped in mud.

24. Mercurys iron core takes up a much larger percentage its volume than that of Earth. 25. Mercurys Strange Day

  • In 1962, it was discovered that Mercury rotates three times in two of its years.
  • Its day is 58.65 earth days long.
  • Its year is 87.97 earth days long.
  • In other words, Mercury experiences only three days in two of its years.
  • 3(58.65) = 175.95
  • 2(87.97) = 175.94

26. Mariner 10

  • Spacecraft : Mercury has been visited only by one spacecraft.
  • This mission was named Mariner 10, and it visited Mercury in 1975.
  • Only 45% of the planets surface was mapped by Mariner 10.
  • We are due for another Mercury mission.

27. Mariner 10sMercury (all images) 28. New Mission to Mercury (MESSENGER)

  • Mission launched in August 2004, will reach Mercury January 2008
  • The MESSENGER spacecraft will orbit and map Mercury after making three flybys of the planet.
  • The spacecraft will enter Mercury orbit in March 2011 and examine the planet for one Earth year. 29. Water on Mercury!?

  • Amazingly, radar observations of Mercurys north pole from the Aricebo dish in Puerto Rico provide evidence that water ice may exists in the always-shadowed areas of some craters.
  • These craters exist near the poles of Mercury, where sunlight never reaches. Similar deposits might also be present on our moon.
  • If true, these deposits could contain a record of much of the solar systems history.

30. Ice on Mercury? MERCURY/polar_ice.jpg White patches in the right image may represent deposits of ice at Mercurys south pole 31. Precession of Mercurys Orbit

  • Mercurys orbital path precesses (wobbles) in a manner that could not be explained by the theories of Isaac Newton
  • The planets perihelion position (closest approach to sun) drifts slowly as a result, and the rate of wobble is once per 30,140 years
  • Explaining Mercurys orbit was one of the first predicitons of Einsteins theory of General Relativity
  • Newtons Laws break down in the presence of an intense gravitational field, such as that of the suns
  • The warping of space by the suns gravity accounts for Mercurys anomalous precession

32. Mercurys Precession Perihelion position 33. Vulcan

  • LeVerrier, who along with Adams predicted the existence of Neptune, proposed that the mysterious precession of Mercurys revolution was caused by the gravity of an undiscovered planet that lay between Mercury and the sun.
  • This hypothetical planet was named Vulcan.
  • Some astronomers in the 1800s claimed to have observed this planet using telescopes, but these observations have never been confirmed, and it is unlikely that anything like Vulcan exists.

Live long and prosper 34. Transits of Mercury

  • A transit is the passage of an inferior planet (Venus or Mercury) across the face of the sun
  • On average, there are 13 transits of Mercury visible each century
  • In contrast, Venus transits are much rarer, they occur in pairs over a century apart
  • The last Mercury transit occur in November 2006

35. May 2003 Transit of Mercury 36. Nov 2006 Transit of Mercury Wheres Mercury? 37. November 2006 Mercury Transit

  • SpaceweatherLink

38. Lore of Mercury

  • Clay tablets written by the Sumerians show that these people kept very accurate records of the appearances of Mercury in the night sky. The Sumerians flourished around 5000 years ago in modern day Iraq
  • Wednesday, or Wodens Day, is named for the planet Mercury
  • According to legend, Copernicus never was able to see Mercury. Its not difficult, you just need to know when and where to look

39. Lore of Mercury, Cont.

  • The Greeks named the evening appearance of the planet Apollo, they named the morning app

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