Astronomy 161 - Introduction To Solar System Astronomy - Autumn 2007

Try it Now Firm without compromise. Cancel whenever you want.

Synopsis

Astronomy 161, Introduction to the Solar System, is the first quarter ofa 2-quarter introductory Astronomy for non-science majors taught at TheOhio State University. This podcast presents audio recordings ofProfessor Richard Pogge's lectures from his Autumn Quarter 2007 class.All of the lectures were recorded live in 1000 McPherson Laboratory onthe OSU Main Campus in Columbus, Ohio.

Episodes

  • Astronomy 141 Podcast Teaser

    Astronomy 141 Podcast Teaser

    06/12/2009

    A new podcast, Astronomy 141, Life in the Universe, is available for those interested in continuing an exploration of topics in modern astronomy.

  • Lecture 46: Are We Alone? Life in the Universe

    Lecture 46: Are We Alone? Life in the Universe

    30/11/2007

    Are we alone in the Universe? This lecture explores the question of how we might go about finding life on planets around other stars. Rather than talking about speculative ideas, like the Drake Equation or SETI, I am instead taking the approach of posing it as a problem of what to look for among the exoplanets we have been discovering in huge numbers in the last decade. I describe the basic requirements for life, and how life on Earth is surprisingly tough (extremophiles). I then give a definition of the Habitable Zone around a star, and present the Goldilocks Problem of how a planet must be neither too hot, too cold (for liquid water) or too big or too small to be hospitable to life. From there I then review the problem of how to go about finding Earth-like planets (Pale Blue Dots) around other stars, and if we do find them, what spectroscopic signatures of life, called biomarkers, we can look for to see if they have some form of life like we understand it on them. Recorded on 2007 Nov 30 in 1000 McPhe

  • Lecture 45: Exoplanets - Planets Around Other Stars

    Lecture 45: Exoplanets - Planets Around Other Stars

    29/11/2007

    Are there planets around other stars? Are there Earth-like planets around other stars? Do any of those harbor life? Intelligent life? We'd like to know the answers to all of these questions, and in recent years we've made great progress towards at least answering the first. To date, more than 260 planets have been found around more than 200 other stars, most in the interstellar neighborhood of the Sun, but a few at great distance. This lecture reviews the search for ExoPlanets, discussing the successful Radial Velocity, Transit, and Microlensing techniques. What we have found so far are very suprising systems, especially Jupiter-size or bigger planets orbiting very close (few hundredths of an AU) from their parent stars. Recorded 2007 Nov 29 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 44: Comets

    Lecture 44: Comets

    28/11/2007

    Comets are chance visitors from the icy reaches of the outer Solar System. In this lecture I describe the properties of comets, their historical importance, and introduce the "dirty snowball" model of a comet nucleus. At the end of class I created a model of a comet nucleus from common household and office materials, unfortunately I could not arrange for a videographer in time. Recorded 2007 Nov 28 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 43: Icy Worlds of the Outer Solar System

    Lecture 43: Icy Worlds of the Outer Solar System

    27/11/2007

    Beyond the orbit of Neptune lies the realm of the icy worlds, ranging in size from Neptune's giant moon Triton and the dwarf planets Pluto and Eris, all the way down to the nuclei of comets a few kilometers across. This lecture discussed the icy bodies of the Trans-Neptunian regions of the Solar System, discussing the basic properties of Triton (the best studied such object), Pluto, Eris, and the Kuiper Belt, introducing the dynamical families of Trans-Neptunian Objects that record in their orbits the slow migration of Neptune outwards during the early history of the Solar System. The Kuiper Belt is the icy analog of the main Asteroid Belt of the inner Solar System: both are shaped by their gravitational interaction with giant gas planets (Jupiter for the asteroids, Neptune for the KBOs), and are composed of leftover raw materials from the formation of their respective regions of the Solar System. Recorded 2007 Nov 27 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 42: Asteroids

    Lecture 42: Asteroids

    26/11/2007

    Asteroids are the leftover rocky materials from the formation of the Solar System that reside primarily in a broad belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. This lecture reviews the physical and orbital properties of Asteroids, and discusses the role of Jupiter and orbital resonances in dynamically sculpting the Main Belt of Asteroids. Once again, we see how the history of the dynamical evolution of our Solar System is written in the orbits of its members. Recorded 2007 Nov 26 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 41: Planetary Rings

    Lecture 41: Planetary Rings

    21/11/2007

    All Jovian planets have rings. We are most familiar with the bright, spectacular rings of Saturn, but the other Jovian planets have rings systems around them. This lecture describes the different ring systems and their properties, and discusses their origin, formation, and the gravitational interactions - resonances, perturbations, and shepherd moons - that govern their evolution. Recorded 2007 Nov 21 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 40: The Saturn System

    Lecture 40: The Saturn System

    20/11/2007

    Saturn is attended by a system of 60 known moons and bright, beautiful rings. Today we will explore the moons of Saturn. Among the highlights are Saturn's lone giant moon, Titan, the 2nd largest moon in the Solar System and the only one with a heavy atmosphere. The atmosphere of Titan is mostly nitrogen with a little methane, but the temperature and pressure are such that methane plays the same role on Titan that water plays on the Earth: it can be either a solid, gas, or liquid. The Cassini and Huygens probes have recently shown that there is evidence of liquid methane flows and mudflats, and even liquid methane lakes as big as the Great Lakes or Caspian seas on Earth. The other moon of interest is Enceladus. The shiniest object in the Solar System, Enceladus has spectacular fountains - cryovolcanos - that spew water vapor from reservoirs created in its tidally-heated interior. This ice repaves much of the surface of Enceladus, giving it a young, shiny surface, and builds the E ring of Saturn. Recorde

  • Lecture 39: The Moons of Jupiter

    Lecture 39: The Moons of Jupiter

    19/11/2007

    Jupiter has its own personal solar system in miniature of 63 known moons. Most are tiny, irregular bodies that are a combination of captured asteroids and comets, but it is the 4 largest, the giant Galilean Moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, that is of greatest interest to us in this lecture. Each is a fascinating world of its own, with a unique history and properties: volcanically active Io, icy Europa which may hide an ocean of liquid water beneath the surface, the grooved terrain of Ganymede, and frozen dirty Callisto with the most ancient surface of the four. Recorded 2007 Nov 19 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 38: The Ice Giants - Uranus and Neptune

    Lecture 38: The Ice Giants - Uranus and Neptune

    15/11/2007

    The Ice Giants Uranus and Neptune are the outermost major planets of our Solar System. Internally they small rocky cores surrounded by deep, slushy ice mantles and shallow hydrogen atmospheres, quite unlike the massive cores and deep metallic hydrogen mantles of Jupiter and Saturn. This lecture describes their basic properties: the origin of their vivid blue/green colors, their composition, structure, and weather. At the end we'll contrast and compare their properties to those of the Gas Giants. Recorded 2007 Nov 15 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 37: The Gas Giants - Jupiter and Saturn

    Lecture 37: The Gas Giants - Jupiter and Saturn

    14/11/2007

    The Gas Giants Jupiter and Saturn are the largest planets in the Solar System. Internally they are deep, heavy Hydrogen/Helium atmospheres on top of dense rock/ice cores without solid surfaces. What we see in our telescopes are just the tops of the clouds. This lecture describes the basic properties of the planets: their composition, atmospheres, weather, and internal structures. Recorded 2007 Nov 14 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 36: Worlds in Comparison - The Terrestrial Planets

    Lecture 36: Worlds in Comparison - The Terrestrial Planets

    13/11/2007

    Having completed our tour of the Terrestrial Planets, we want to step back and compare their properties. In particular, we will wi review the processes that drive the evolution of their surfaces, their interiors, and their atmospheres. Recorded 2007 Nov 13 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 35: The Deserts of Mars

    Lecture 35: The Deserts of Mars

    09/11/2007

    Mars is a cold desert planet with a thin, dry carbon-dioxide atmosphere. The geology of Mars, however, shows signs of an active past, with hot-spot volcanism, and tantalizing signs of ancient water flows. While a cold, dead desert planet today, Mars' past may have been warmer and wetter, with liquid water during the first third of its history. This lecture reviews the properties of Mars, and describes the evidence for its active past. Recorded 2007 Nov 9 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 34: Venus Unveiled

    Lecture 34: Venus Unveiled

    08/11/2007

    Venus, the second planet from the Sun, is perpetually veiled behind opaque clouds of sulfuric acid droplets atop a hot, heavy, carbon dioxide atmosphere. In size and apparent composition, however, it is a near twin-sister of the Earth. Why is it do different? In this lecture I review the basic properties of Venus, and examine the similarties and differences with the Earth. Recorded 2007 Nov 8 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 33: Battered Mercury

    Lecture 33: Battered Mercury

    07/11/2007

    Mercury, innermost of the planets, is a hot, dead world that has been heavily battered by impacts. In this lecture I review the properties of Mercury, its orbit, rotation, surface, and interior structure. Recorded 2007 Nov 7 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 32: The Origin of the Solar System

    Lecture 32: The Origin of the Solar System

    06/11/2007

    How did the Solar System form? In this lecture I review the clues for the formation of the solar system in the present-day dynamics (orbital and rotation motions) and compositions of the planets and small bodies. I then describe the standard accretion model for solar system formation, whereby grains condense out of the primordial solar nebula, grains aggregate by collisions into planetesimals, then gravity begins to work and planetesimals grow into protoplanets. What kind of planet grows depends on where the protoplanets form within the primordial solar nebula: close to the Sun only rocky planets form, beyond the Frost Line ices and volatiles can condense out allowing the growth of the gas and ice giants. The whole process took about 100 million years, and we as we explore the solar system in subsequent lectures, we will look for traces of this process on the various worlds we visit. Recorded 2007 Nov 6 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 31: The Family of the Sun

    Lecture 31: The Family of the Sun

    05/11/2007

    Welcome to the Solar System! We begin our exploration of the Solar System with an overview of the planets, moons, and small bodies that make up our home system. In this lecture I'll introduce many of the themes that will encounter many times as we go through our detailed look at the Solar System in the coming weeks. Recorded 2007 Nov 5 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 30: The Moon

    Lecture 30: The Moon

    01/11/2007

    What physical processes have shaped the Moon? In this lecture, I describe the surface features of the Moon (the Maria and Highlands), how crater density tells us the relative ages of terrains, and what we have learned about Moon rocks returned by astronauts and robotic probes. I will also discuss what is known about the interior of the Moon, and review what we know about lunar history and formation. Like the Earth, the Moon gives us a useful point of comparison with bodies elsewhere in the Solar System. Recorded 2007 Nov 1 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 29: The Earths Atmosphere

    Lecture 29: The Earth's Atmosphere

    31/10/2007

    What is the composition and structure of the Earth's atmosphere? Why is it as warm as it is, and how did it form? Today I will describe the composition and structure of the atmosphere, the Greenhouse Effect, the Primordial Atmosphere, and Atmospheric Evolution. The Earth's atmosphere is a complex, dynamic, and evolving system, and we will use it as a point of comparison when we begin to examine other planetary atmospheres in future lectures. Recorded 2007 Oct 31 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

  • Lecture 28: Inside the Earth

    Lecture 28: Inside the Earth

    30/10/2007

    What is the interior structure of the Earth? We will start our exploration of the Solar System with our home planet Earth. This lecture discusses the interior structure of the Earth, introducing the idea of differentiation, how geologists map the interior of the Earth using seismic waves, and the origin of the Earth's magnetic field. I describe the basic properties of the crust of the Earth, its division into rigid tectonic plates, and describe how plate motions driven by convection in the upper mantle have shaped the visible surface of our planet over its dynamic history. Recorded 2007 Oct 30 in 1000 McPherson Lab on the Columbus campus of The Ohio State University.

page 1 from 3