You are on page 1of 38

The

 Solar  System
AST  103  -­‐  Fall  2010
WCH  H107  -­‐  TR  2:00  p.m.

Lecture  04  -­‐  Developing  The  ScienFfic  Method


Question 8

1) during the NEW moon phase.


A total LUNAR 2) when the Sun blocks the Moon.
eclipse occurs 3) during FULL moon phase.
4) always around the summer
solstice.
Question 8

1) during the NEW moon phase.


A total LUNAR 2) when the Sun blocks the Moon.
eclipse occurs 3) during FULL moon phase.
4) always around the summer
solstice.
Question 7
1) one day
How long does it take 2) one hour
the Moon to go around 3) one week
the ecliptic? 4) one month
5) one year
Question 7
1) one day
How long does it take 2) one hour
the Moon to go around 3) one week
the ecliptic? 4) one month
5) one year

The Moon orbits Earth in a


month, and passes in front
of the constellations of the
zodiac which are arranged
around the ecliptic.
The Ecliptic
The  apparent  path  of  the  Sun  on  the  celesFal  sphere.

The Zodiac
The  constellaFons  the  Sun  appears  to  travel  through  
during  the  year.
Summary
1.  ScienFfic  Models
2.  The  Greeks
i)  Aristotle
ii)  Ptolemy
iii)  Aristarchus
iv)  Erestothenes

3.  Copernicus
4.  Tycho  Brahe
5.  Kepler
Criteria for Scientific Models

1. The model must fit the data.

2. The model must make testable predictions


that can disprove the model.

3. The model should be as simple as possible.


Aristotle  (384  BC  -­‐  322  BC  )
Greek  philosopher,  student  of  Plato  
and  teacher  of  Alexander  the  Great

• The  Earth  is  at  the  center  of  the  


Universe.

• The  Earth  and  Moon  are  spherical.

• The  Sun  and  planets  move  along  


spheres  centered  on  the  Earth.
Why think that the Earth is the center of the Universe?
Aristotle reasoned that if the Earth moved around the
Sun, the positions of nearby stars would appear to move.

Distant
Sun Nearby
Stars
Star

The apparent motion of nearby View from Earth


objects relative to distant ones
is known as Parallax.
The Geocentric Model
Star Sphere
• The Sun, planets and stars are
fixed to crystalline spheres.

• The Moon was on the sphere


closest to the Earth, and the
stars on the outermost sphere.

• Each object orbits the Earth on


a path along its sphere at a
uniform speed.

• This model appealed to the Sun Sphere


Greeks because it used
geometry to explain the motion
of the Sun and stars.
Ptolemy (90 AD - 168 AD)
Roman citizen who lived in Alexandria, Egypt.
Studied astronomy, geography, music and astrology.

• Adapted the geocentric model to explain the


motion of the planets.

• Used ‘Epicycles’ to explain the retrograde


motion of the planets.

• His model fitted available data, and predicted


the motion of the stars and planets.

• The model was complicated.


Retrograde Motion
Epicycles - Mercury and Venus
Aristarchus (310 BC - 230 BC)
The first person to argue that the Earth orbits the Sun,
after calculating that the Sun is larger than the Earth.

Was the first person to create a map of the Solar


System, but didn’t have the scale

Thought the Sun was about 7 times larger than


the Earth and 20 times larger than the Moon.
The relative distance of the Earth and Moon from the Sun.

Moon  (Third  Quarter)

90°

87°

90° Earth
Sun

Moon  (First  Quarter)


The relative Size of the Earth and the Moon.

Earth Moon
Light
from
the Sun

The Moon is about


3/8 of the width of
the Earth’s shadow
Erastothenes (276 BC to 195 BC)
The first person to understand the shape
and approximate size of the Earth.

Used the position of the Sun in the sky to


estimate the Earth’s circumference.

Erastothenes calculated the diameter of the


Earth to within 5% of the correct distance.
Measuring the size of the Earth

Lines to
the Sun Zenith at
Alexandria

Earth’s 360 7°
Circumference = ≈ 50 × d
7
Combining  the  calculaFons  of  Aristarchus  and  
Eratosthenes,  the  ancient  Greeks  had  for  
the  first  Fme  measurements  of  the  radii  of  
Earth,  Moon,  and  Sun  and  their  relaFve  
distances.

We  had  to  wait  unFl  1769  AD  to  observe  the  


actual  value  of  the  astronomical  unit  and  
thus  the  true  dimensions  of  the  solar  
system.
Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274)
• Introduced the philosophy
of Aristotle to Christianity.

• The idea of a central


immovable Earth became
part of Christian doctrine.

• People in the Middle Ages


relied greatly on established
authority.
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 - 1543)
• Polish astronomer
educated in Italy.

• Lived 100 years before


the invention of the
telescope.

• Spent 40 years working


on his model of the
Solar System
Copernicus developed his model for two reasons:

1. Ptolemy’s model had become less accurate over time


2. Ptolemy’s model was complex - not aesthetically
pleasing.

• Copernicus developed a heliocentric model, with the


Earth just another planet orbiting the Sun.

• This idea was so controversial at the time, his work


has become known as the Copernican Revolution
Relative orbital speeds of the planets
The apparent motion of the Sun through the Zodiac
Tycho Brahe (1546 - 1601)
• Decided to make accurate
measurements of planetary
motions.

• Built the largest and most


accurate instruments before
the invention if the telescope.

• He also recorded the


accuracy of each
measurement.
Tycho’s model:

• Tycho rejected the Copernican model because he


could not measure stellar parallax.

• His model was a mix between those of Ptolemy


and Copernicus.

• The Earth was at the center with the Sun


revolving around it.

• The other planets revolved around the Sun.


Johannes Kepler (1571 - 1630)
• Tycho hired Kepler as his
assistant a year before he died.

• Kepler was able to use Tycho’s


accurate measurements to
develop his own model.

• Spent four years trying to use


circular orbits, before
abandoning the circle and using
the ellipse instead.

• The ellipse worked for every


planet he had data for.
The Ellipse
Kepler devised three laws of planetary motion:

1. Each planet’s path around the Sun is an


ellipse, with the Sun at one focus of the
ellipse.

2. A planet moves along its elliptical path with


a speed that changes in such a way that a
line from the Sun to the planet sweeps out
equal areas in equal intervals of time.
Kepler’s third law:

3
a
2
= constant
p
a  is  the  semimajor  axis  (the  average  
distance  of  the  planet  from  the  Sun)  

p is the sidereal period of the planet


Kepler’s Contribution

• For  the  first  Fme,  the  Copernican  


model  worked  be`er  than  the  old  
geocentric  model.

• Kepler  used  data  to  decide  that  


ellipses  worked  be`er  than  circular  
orbits,  but  he  didn’t  know  why.