The Origin of the Solar

System
Solar –Nebular Hypothesis




Our Solar System
Our solar system consists of eight planets
only excluding Pluto.
The inner four planets are called terrestrial
and the outer four planets are Jovian planets.

(i) What is the difference in the formation of
the inner and outer planets?
(i) By what criteria are the planets placed
into either the terrestrial or Jovian groups




• After the big bang, matter in the universe
separated into galaxies.
• Gas and dust spread throughout space in our
galaxy. Where the solar system is now, there was
only cold, dark gas and dust.
• About 5 billion years ago, a giant cloud of gas and
dust or nebula form a spinning disk.
• As gravity pulled some of the gas into the centre of
the disk, the gas become hot and dense enough
for nuclear fusion to begin.
• The Sun was born.
Formation of the Solar system
• The remaining gas and dust form solid spheres
smaller than the Sun. The spheres closest to the
Sun lost most of their gases and became the inner
planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.
• The spheres farthest from the Sun became the
gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
• Between the inner planets and the gas giants the
asteroid formed.
• Beyond the gas giants, a huge cloud of ice and
other substances formed, Kuiper belt (short-orbital
comets) and Oort Cloud (long-orbital comets).
• This cloud is probably the main source of comets.
Formation of the Solar system
Evolutionary
hypothesis.
Catastrophic
hypotheses
Nebular
hypothesis
Solar-Nebula
hypothesis
Rene Descartes
(1596-1650)
Georges-Louis de
Buffon (1707-1788)
Pierre –Simon de
Laplace (1749-1827)
Through careful
observations of
astronomers.
He believed that the
entire universe was filled
with vortices of whirling
invisible particles.
The sun and planets
formed when a large
vortex contracted and
condensed
A passing comet pulled
matter out of the sun to
form the planets.
Later astronomers
replaced the comet with
a star to produce the
passing star hypothesis.
(combined Descartes
vortex & Newton’s
gravity to produce a
model of a rotating cloud
of matter (nebula- clouds
of dust and gas) that
contracted under its own
gravitation and flattened
into a disk.
Gradually part of the
nebula contracted into a
large, tightly pack
spinning disk. The disk‗s
centre was so hot and
dense that nuclear fusion
reactions began to occur
and the Sun was born
Eventually, the remaining
gas and dust in the disk
cooled enough to clump
into scattered solids
forming the planets.
Finally these clumps
collided and combined to
become the eight planets
that make up the solar
system today.
Most stars should
have planets!
Only few stars should
have planets!
Early Hypotheses- Evolutionary hypotheses
The first theory for Earth’s origin
proposed by French philosopher
and mathematician Rene
Descartes (1596-1650)
He believed that the entire universe
was filled with vortices of whirling
invisible particles. He proposed that
the sun and planets formed when a
large vortex contracted and
condensed
Evolutionary hypotheses predict: Most stars should have
planets!
Early Hypotheses- Catastrophic hypotheses
In 1745, the French naturalist Georges-
Louis de Buffon (1707-1788)
suggested that a passing comet pulled
matter out of the sun to form the
planets—a catastrophic hypothesis.
(passing star hypothesis)
Later astronomers replaced the comet
with a star to produce the passing star
hypothesis. (no longer considered)
Why?
Catastrophic hypotheses predict: Only few stars should have
planets!
• Material pulled out of the Sun would be too hot to condense.

• Planetary systems are common, whereas nearby star
collisions are rare.
Quiz Questions
1. Why do we reject the formation of planets as proposed by
Buffon (the passing star hypothesis)?

a. Material pulled out of the Sun would be too hot to condense.
b. Planetary systems are common, whereas nearby star
collisions are rare.
c. The angular momentum of the Sun is too low.
d. Both a and b above.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
1. Why do we reject the formation of planets as proposed by
Buffon (the passing star hypothesis)?

a. Material pulled out of the Sun would be too hot to condense.
b. Planetary systems are common, whereas nearby star
collisions are rare.
c. The angular momentum of the Sun is too low.
d. Both a and b above.
e. All of the above.
Condensation is the building of larger particles one atom (or
molecule) at a time, whereas accretion is the sticking together of
larger particles.
Early Hypotheses
The modern theory of the origin of solar system begin with
Pierre –Simon de Laplace (1749-1827) French astronomer and
mathematician (combined Descartes vortex & Newton’s gravity
to produce a model of a rotating cloud of matter (nebula- clouds
of dust and gas) that contracted under its own gravitation and
flattened into a disk – nebular hypothesis
Evolutionary hypotheses predict:
Most stars should have planets!
Catastrophic hypotheses predict:
Only few stars should have planets!
Nebular Hypothesis-
Pierre Simon de Laplace
As the disk (clouds of dust and gas) grew
smaller, it had to conserve angular
momentum and spin faster and faster.
When the disk spin faster, it will shed its
outer edge to leave behind a ring of matter.
Then the disk could contract further, speed
up again and leave another ring.
Rings of material separate from the spinning
cloud, carrying away angular momentum of
the cloud (become a planet)  cloud could
contract further (forming the sun)
According to nebular hypothesis the sun should be spinning very
rapidly ( have most of the angular momentum) . As astronomers
studied the planets they found that the sun rotated slowly and that the
planets moving in their orbits had most of the angular momentum in
the solar system. Because the nebular hypothesis could not explain
the sun’s low angular momentum (angular momentum problem), they
keep refining the details on the origin of the solar system.
Quiz Questions
2. What was the major problem for the solar nebula hypothesis
that was proposed by Pierre-Simon Laplace?

a. It did not predict that inner planets orbit the Sun more quickly
than outer planets.
b. The Sun contains little of the angular momentum of the Solar
System.
c. It called for a catastrophic event to produce the Solar
System.
d. The Sun spins more rapidly than is expected.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
2. What was the major problem for the solar nebula hypothesis
that was proposed by Pierre-Simon Laplace?

a. It did not predict that inner planets orbit the Sun more quickly
than outer planets.
b. The Sun contains little of the angular momentum of the Solar
System.
c. It called for a catastrophic event to produce the Solar
System.
d. The Sun spins more rapidly than is expected.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
3. How do astronomers believe the Sun came to have less
angular momentum than its system of planets?

a. The solar wind mass outflow carries angular momentum
away from the Sun.
b. The Sun's magnetic field drags material out in the Solar
System, transferring angular momentum outward.
c. A large planetesimal impacted the Sun on its leading
hemisphere.
d. The planets gain angular momentum from passing stars.
e. Both a and b above.
Quiz Questions
3. How do astronomers believe the Sun came to have less
angular momentum than its system of planets?

a. The solar wind mass outflow carries angular momentum
away from the Sun.
b. The Sun's magnetic field drags material out in the Solar
System, transferring angular momentum outward.
c. A large planetesimal impacted the Sun on its leading
hemisphere.
d. The planets gain angular momentum from passing stars.
e. Both a and b above.
The Solar Nebula Hypothesis
About 4.6 billion years ago, the solar
system was a vast, swirling cloud of
gas, ice and dust.
Gradually part of the nebula contracted
into a large, tightly pack spinning disk.
The disk‗s centre was so hot and
dense that nuclear fusion reactions
began to occur and the Sun was born
Eventually, the remaining gas and dust
in the disk cooled enough to clump
into scattered solids forming the
planets.
Finally these clumps collided and
combined to become the eight planets
that make up the solar system today.
The Solar Nebula Hypothesis
Basis of modern theory of planet
formation is the solar nebula
theory
Planets form at the same time
from the same cloud as the
star.
Example:
Planet formation sites observed
today as dust disks of T Tauri
stars.
In 1940, astronomers begin to
understand how stars form and
how stars generate their energy
The solar nebula theory proposes
that the planets formed in a disk of
gas and dust around the protostar
that became the sun. Observations
show that these disks are common.
Quiz Questions
4.
(a) How may gravity have affected the formation of the solar
system?


(b) How would the solar system have been different if the disk‘s
centre had not been as hot and dense as it was.


Quiz Questions
4(a) How may gravity have affected the formation of the solar
system?

Gravity pulled the cloud of gas, ice and dust together causing
it to spin faster and then form the Sun and the planets.

(b) How would the solar system have been different if the disk‘s
centre had not been as hot and dense as it was.

Nuclear fusion reaction might not have occurred to form the
Sun. Without light and heat energy, life would not have been
possible anywhere in the solar system.

Quiz Questions
5. How is the solar nebula theory supported by the motion of
Solar System bodies?

a. All of the planets orbit the Sun near the Sun's equatorial
plane.
b. All of the planets orbit in the same direction that the Sun
rotates.
c. Six out of seven planets rotate in the same direction as the
Sun.
d. Most moons orbit their planets in the same direction that the
Sun rotates.
Quiz Questions
5. How is the solar nebula theory supported by the motion of
Solar System bodies?

a. All of the planets orbit the Sun near the Sun's equatorial
plane.
b. All of the planets orbit in the same direction that the Sun
rotates.
c. Six out of seven planets rotate in the same direction as the
Sun.
d. Most moons orbit their planets in the same direction that the
Sun rotates.
The Solar Nebula Hypothesis
SIMULATION -refer to GEOSYSTEMS
According to the solar nebula theory, our Earth,
and the other planets of the solar sysytem
formed billions of years ago as the sun
condensed from a a cloud of gas and dust.
Sun and our Solar system formed ~ 5 billion
years ago.
This means that planet formation is a natural
part of star formation, and most stars should
have planets
The End
Origin of Solar System
Concept map of the Solar system
Survey of the Solar System
Relative Sizes
of the Planets
Assume, we reduce all
bodies in the solar system
so that the Earth has
diameter 0.3 mm.
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars:
~ size of a grain of salt.
Sun: ~ size of a small plum.
Jupiter: ~ size of an apple seed.
Saturn: ~ slightly smaller than
Jupiter‘s ―apple seed‖.
Pluto: ~ Speck of pepper.
ACTIVITY 1 & 2
To see how widely scattered the planets are:-
• Act 1: Solar system distances and sizes
• Act 2: Solar system distances
• Act 3: Relative size and distance of the planets
from the sun
General view of the Solar System
Solar system is almost entirely empty
space. The planets are small and are
scattered far apart in a large disk
around the sun
There are 8 planets in the solar
system. Five planets are visible to the
naked eyes – Mercury, Venus, Mars,
Jupiter and Saturn but the other three
are so distant- seen through
telescopes
Humans have never set foot on any
planet. Some day! But we have
reached the Moon. Unmanned space
vehicles have visited all of the planets
From the research, there is a home
truth we should remember – the
Earth is just a small, isolated planet
in orbit around an ordinary, middle-
aged star
Planetary Orbits
Earth
Venus
Mercury
All planets in almost
circular (elliptical)
orbits around the
sun, in approx. the
same plane
(ecliptic).
Sense of revolution:
counter-clockwise
Sense of rotation:
counter-clockwise
(with exception of
Venus, and
Uranus)
Planets‘s
orbits
generally
inclined by no
more than
3.4
o
Venus rotates
backwards,
Uranus rotates
on its side –
equator almost
perpendicular
to its orbit
(Distances and times reproduced to scale)
Exceptions:
Mercury is
tipped (7
o
) to
the plane of
earth‘s orbit
Two Kinds of Planets
Planets of our solar system can be divided into
two very different kinds:
Terrestrial (earthlike)
planets: Mercury,
Venus, Earth, Mars Jovian (Jupiter-like) planets:
Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus,
Neptune
Terrestrial Planets
Four inner planets
of the solar system
Relatively small in
size and mass
(Earth is the largest
and most massive)
Surface of Venus cannot be seen
directly from Earth because of its
dense cloud cover.
Terrestrial planets - small, rocky, dense
Earthlike worlds. The terrestrial planets
have no visible rings and few moons.
Quiz Questions
6. Which of the following is NOT a property associated with
terrestrial planets?

a. They are located close to the Sun.
b. They are small in size.
c. They have low mass.
d. They have low density.
e. They have few moons.
Quiz Questions
6. Which of the following is NOT a property associated with
terrestrial planets?

a. They are located close to the Sun.
b. They are small in size.
c. They have low mass.
d. They have low density.
e. They have few moons.
The Jovian Planets
All have rings
(not only Saturn!)
and large families
of moons
Mostly gas; no
solid surface
Jovian planets are
large and have
much lower
average density.
Craters on Planets‘ Surfaces
Craters (like on
our Moon‘s
surface) are
common
throughout the
Solar System.
Not seen on
Jovian planets
because they
don‘t have a
solid surface.
Differences between Terrestrial &
Jovian Planets
• Location
• Size
• Density
• Rate of rotation
• Chemical makeup
• Craters
• Rings and moons
• Thickness of atmosphere
Quiz Questions
7. How does the solar nebula theory account for the drastic
differences between terrestrial and Jovian planets?

a. The temperature of the accretion disk was high close to the
Sun and low far from the Sun.
b. Terrestrial planets formed closer to the Sun, and are thus
made of high-density rocky materials.
c. Jovian planets are large and have high-mass because they
formed where both rocky and icy materials can condense.
d. Jovian planets captured nebular gas as they had stronger
gravity fields and are located where gases move more slowly.

Quiz Questions
7. How does the solar nebula theory account for the drastic
differences between terrestrial and Jovian planets?

a. The temperature of the accretion disk was high close to the
Sun and low far from the Sun.
b. Terrestrial planets formed closer to the Sun, and are thus
made of high-density rocky materials.
c. Jovian planets are large and have high-mass because they
formed where both rocky and icy materials can condense.
d. Jovian planets captured nebular gas as they had stronger
gravity fields and are located where gases move more slowly.

Quiz Questions
8. What is the difference between the processes of
condensation and accretion?

a. Both are processes that collect particles together.
b. Condensation is the building of larger particles one atom (or
molecule) at a time, whereas accretion is the sticking together
of larger particles.
c. Accretion is the building of larger particles one atom (or
molecule) at a time, whereas condensation is the sticking
together of larger particles.
d. Both a and b above.
e. Both a and c above.
Quiz Questions
8. What is the difference between the processes of
condensation and accretion?

a. Both are processes that collect particles together.
b. Condensation is the building of larger particles one atom (or
molecule) at a time, whereas accretion is the sticking together
of larger particles.
c. Accretion is the building of larger particles one atom (or
molecule) at a time, whereas condensation is the sticking
together of larger particles.
d. Both a and b above.
e. Both a and c above.
Jadual Data Sistem Suria
Solar System Data
9. Self-Test
1. Which of these planet‘s orbits is farthest from
Earth‘s orbit?
a. Mars b. Jupiter c. Uranus d. Neptune
2. Which planet has a ―day‖ that is most similar in
length to a day on Earth?
a. Mars b. Jupiter c. Uranus d. Neptune
3. Light takes about 8 minutes 20 seconds to
travel from the Sun to the Earth, 150 million km
away. About how long does it take light to travel
from the Sun to Jupiter?
a. 10 mins b. 25 mins c. 43 mins d. 112 mins



9. Self-Test
4. Which of the following conclusions about planets is
supported by the information in the Table?
A. As distance from the sun increases, period of rotation
increases
B. As distance from the sun increases, period of revolution
increases
C. As distance from the sun increases, period of revolution
decreases
D. There is no relationship between distance from the sun
and period of revolution


Space Debris (details in Chap.25)
In addition to planets, small bodies orbit the sun:
- Asteroids, comets and meteoroids
Asteroid Eros,
imaged by the
NEAR
spacecraft-
34km long
Area about
11km from top
to bottom
-irregular
rocky body
pocked by
craters
Impacts from
collisions with
other
asteroids
Asteroids
• Are small irregular rocky bodies, most of which
orbit the sun in a belt between the orbits of Mars
and Jupiter.
• Diameter can range from a few hundred
kilometers to less than a kilometer.
• They have orbital periods of three to six years.
• Common misconception that asteroids are the
remains of a planet that broke up.
• In fact planets are held together very tightly by
their gravity and do not break up.

Quiz Questions
10. Where are most of the asteroids located?

a. Inside the orbit of Mercury.
b. Between the orbits of Earth and Venus.
c. Between the orbits of Earth and Mars.
d. Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
e. Between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune.
Quiz Questions
10. Where are most of the asteroids located?

a. Inside the orbit of Mercury.
b. Between the orbits of Earth and Venus.
c. Between the orbits of Earth and Mars.
d. Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
e. Between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune.
Irregular orbits of asteroids
Comets
• Comets are icy bodies that fall into the inner solar
system along long elliptical orbits. As the ices vaporize
and release dust, the comet develops a tail that points
approximately away from the sun.
• Since the passage of Comet Halley in 1986,
astronomers found evidence that comet nuclei are made
of icy dirt not dirty ice. (at least 50 % rock and dust) –
icy mudball model
• The nuclei of comets are ice-rich bodies left over from
the formation of planets.
• These ices were important in the formation of the Jovian
planets.
Comets eg Hyakutake, Hale-Bopp, Halley
Mostly objects in highly elliptical orbits,
occasionally coming close to the sun.
Icy nucleus, which
evaporates and gets
blown into space by solar
wind and solar radiation
Quiz Questions
11. How do asteroids and comets differ?

a. Asteroids orbit in the opposite direction that the Sun rotates.
b. Comets are younger than asteroids.
c. Asteroids have lower reflectivity.
d. Comets contain ices.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
11. How do asteroids and comets differ?

a. Asteroids orbit in the opposite direction that the Sun rotates.
b. Comets are younger than asteroids.
c. Asteroids have lower reflectivity.
d. Comets contain ices.
e. All of the above.
Meteoroids
Small (mm – mm) sized
dust, grains of sand or
tiny pebbles
throughout the solar
system - meteoroid
If they collide with
Earth, they evaporate
in the atmosphere -
Visible as streaks of
light in the sky as
meteors.
and any part that reach
the earth‘s surface is
called meteorite
The Kuiper Belt
after Dutch –American astronomer Gerard Kuiper
Second source of small, dark, icy bodies in the outer solar
system beyond Neptune discovered since 1992
Kuiper belt, at ~ 30 – 100 AU
from the sun.
• Few Kuiper belt objects could be
observed directly by Hubble Space
Telescope.
• Some over 1000 km in diameter
but most are smaller.
•Pluto and Charon may be
captured Kuiper belt objects.
Can this belt generate short-period
comets?
Objects from the Kuiper belt that
fall into the inner solar system can
become short-period comets.
Kuiper belt
• Kuiper belt, at ~ 30 – 100 AU from the sun.
• Second source of small, dark, icy bodies in the outer
solar system beyond Neptune discovered since 1992
• Origin of short –period comet (< 200 years)
• The Kuiper belt is composed of small, icy bodies
that orbit the sun beyond the orbit of Neptune.
• The icy Kuiper belt objects appear to be ancient
planetesimals that formed in the outer solar
system but were never incorporated into a
planet.
56
More to come!
• Half a million Kuiper belt objects with
diameters greater than 30 kilometers.
• Beyond Neptune there are estimated to
be more than 100000 icy objects with
diameters over 100km.
• Are rich in ices & have similar physical
properties of comets
• With new telescopes (e.g PanStarrs)
coming on line more and more of these
will be discovered.
Oort Cloud –named after Dutch astronomer Jan Oort
Spherical cloud of several trillion icy bodies, ~ 10,000
– 100,000 AU from the sun. (1 AU = 150 million km
Oort Cloud
Gravitational influence of
occasional passing stars may
perturb some orbits and draw
them towards the inner solar
system.
Interactions with planets
may perturb orbits further,
capturing comets in short-
period orbits.
A few short-period comets
have been produced when
long-period comets passed
near Jupiter and had their
orbits changed.
The long period comets appear to originate in
the Oort cloud. Objects that fall into the solar
system from this cloud arrive from all directions.
Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud
58
Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud
• Oort Cloud – spherical cloud
enveloping solar system;
(named after Dutch
astronomer Jan Oort) source
of many comets.
• Sedna comes from Oort
Cloud. (origin of long-period
comets (10,000 X Earth-Sun
distances)
The Age of the Solar System
Sun and planets should
have about the same age.
Ages of rocks can be
measured through
radioactive dating:
Measure abundance of a
radioactively decaying
element to find the time
since formation of the
rock
Dating of rocks on Earth,
on the Moon, and
meteorites all give ages
of ~ 4.6 billion years.
Half-life
• The half-life of a radioactive element is the time
it takes for half of the atoms to decay.
• The age of an object can be found by analyzing
the abundance of radioactive elements with long
half-lives. The oldest rocks from Earth, the
moon, and Mars have ages approaching 4.6
billion years.
• The oldest objects in our solar system are the
meteorites, which have ages of 4.6 billion years.
This is taken to be the age of the solar system.
Quiz Questions
12. Radiometric dating of rock samples indicates that the Solar
System formed about 4.56 billion years ago. Which rock
samples have this age?

a. Earth rocks.
b. Moon rocks.
c. Meteorites.
d. Both a and b above.
e. Both b and c above.
Quiz Questions
12. Radiometric dating of rock samples indicates that the Solar
System formed about 4.56 billion years ago. Which rock
samples have this age?

a. Earth rocks.
b. Moon rocks.
c. Meteorites.
d. Both a and b above.
e. Both b and c above.
Radioactive Decay
(SLIDESHOW MODE ONLY)
Our Solar System
Explaining the characteristics of the solar system – read Pg 431
The Story of Planet Building
Planets formed from the same protostellar material
as the sun, still found in the Sun‘s atmosphere.
Rocky planet material formed from clumping
together of dust grains in the protostellar cloud.
Mass of less than ~ 15
Earth masses:
Planets can not grow by
gravitational collapse
Mass of more than ~ 15
Earth masses:
Planets can grow by
gravitationally attracting
material from the
protostellar cloud
Earthlike planets
Jovian planets (gas giants)
The Condensation of Solids
To compare densities of planets,
compensate for compression due
to the planet‘s gravity:
Only condensed materials
could stick together to form
planets
Temperature in the protostellar
cloud decreased outward.
Further out  Protostellar cloud
cooler  metals with lower
melting point condensed 
change of chemical composition
throughout solar system
Formation and Growth of Planetesimals
Planet formation
starts with clumping
together of grains of
solid matter:
Planetesimals
Planetesimals (few
cm to km in size)
collide to form
planets.
Planetesimal growth through condensation and accretion.
Gravitational instabilities may have helped in the growth of
planetesimals into protoplanets.
The Growth of Protoplanets
Simplest form of planet growth:
Unchanged composition of
accreted matter over time
As rocks melted, heavier
elements sink to the center
 differentiation
This also produces a
secondary atmosphere
 outgassing
Improvement of this scenario:
Gradual change of grain
composition due to cooling of
nebula and storing of heat from
potential energy
The Jovian Problem
Two problems for the theory of planet formation:
1) Observations of extrasolar planets indicate that
Jovian planets are common.
2) Protoplanetary disks tend to be evaporated quickly
(typically within ~ 100,000 years) by the radiation of
nearby massive stars.
 Too short for Jovian planets to grow!
Solution:
Computer simulations show that Jovian planets can
grow by direct gas accretion without forming rocky
planetesimals.
Clearing the Nebula
Remains of the protostellar nebula were cleared away by:
• Radiation pressure of the sun
• Solar wind
• Sweeping-up of space debris by planets
• Ejection by close encounters with planets
Surfaces of the Moon and Mercury show
evidence for heavy bombardment by asteroids.
passing star hypothesis
evolutionary hypothesis
catastrophic hypothesis
nebular hypothesis
angular momentum problem
solar nebula hypothesis
extrasolar planets
terrestrial planet
Jovian planet
Galilean satellites
asteroid
comet
meteor
meteoroid
meteorite
half-life
gravitational collapse

uncompressed density
condensation sequence
planetesimal
condensation
accretion
protoplanet
differentiation
outgassing
heat of formation
radiation pressure
heavy bombardment
New Terms
1. In your opinion, should all solar systems have
asteroid belts? Should all solar systems show evidence
of an age of heavy bombardment?

2. If the solar nebula hypothesis is correct, then there
are probably more planets in the universe than stars.
Do you agree? Why or why not?
Discussion Questions
Quiz Questions
1. What was the major problem for the solar nebula hypothesis
that was proposed by Pierre-Simon Laplace?

a. It did not predict that inner planets orbit the Sun more quickly
than outer planets.
b. The Sun contains little of the angular momentum of the Solar
System.
c. It called for a catastrophic event to produce the Solar
System.
d. The Sun spins more rapidly than is expected.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
2. Why do we reject the formation of planets as proposed by
Buffon (the passing star hypothesis)?

a. Material pulled out of the Sun would be too hot to condense.
b. Planetary systems are common, whereas nearby star
collisions are rare.
c. The angular momentum of the Sun is too low.
d. Both a and b above.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
3. How do astronomers believe the Sun came to have less
angular momentum than its system of planets?

a. The solar wind mass outflow carries angular momentum
away from the Sun.
b. The Sun's magnetic field drags material out in the Solar
System, transferring angular momentum outward.
c. A large planetesimal impacted the Sun on its leading
hemisphere.
d. The planets gain angular momentum from passing stars.
e. Both a and b above.
Quiz Questions
4. What is the origin of the atoms of hydrogen, oxygen, and
sodium in the perspiration that exits your body during an
astronomy exam?

a. All of these elements were synthesized inside stars more
than 4.6 billion years ago.
b. All of the elements were produced in the first few minutes
after the Big Bang event.
c. The hydrogen nuclei were produced few minutes after the
Big Bang event 13.7 billion years ago, and the oxygen and
sodium nuclei were synthesized inside stars more than 4.6
billion years ago.
d. They were all fused deep inside Earth.
e. None of the above.
Quiz Questions
5. What evidence do we have that planets form along with
other stars?

a. At radio wavelengths, we detect cool dust disks around
young stars.
b. At Infrared wavelengths, we detect large cool dust disks
around stars.
c. At visible wavelengths, we see disks around the majority of
single young stars in the Orion Nebula.
d. Both a and b above.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
6. How do we know that extrasolar planets are orbiting other
stars?

a. We see a star's light dim as a planet passes in front of the
star.
b. We detect alternating Doppler shifts in the spectra of some
stars.
c. We see a series of small faint points in line with stars, much
like Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter.
d. Both a and b above.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
7. What are the general characteristics of the extrasolar planets
discovered so far?

a. They have low mass and orbit close to their stars.
b. They have low mass and orbit far from their stars.
c. They have high mass and orbit close to their stars.
d. They have high mass and orbit far from their stars.
e. These extrasolar planetary systems are much like the Solar
System.
Quiz Questions
8. Why haven't we detected low-mass planets close to their
stars and high-mass planets far from their stars?

a. Our techniques are not yet sensitive enough.
b. We have not been observing for a long enough time.
c. We have not been looking at stars similar to our Sun.
d. Such systems cannot form, as the material in dust disks is
densest close to their stars.
e. Both a and b above.
Quiz Questions
9. How is the solar nebula theory supported by the motion of
Solar System bodies?

a. All of the planets orbit the Sun near the Sun's equatorial
plane.
b. All of the planets orbit in the same direction that the Sun
rotates.
c. Six out of seven planets rotate in the same direction as the
Sun.
d. Most moons orbit their planets in the same direction that the
Sun rotates.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
10. Which of the following is NOT a property associated with
terrestrial planets?

a. They are located close to the Sun.
b. They are small in size.
c. They have low mass.
d. They have low density.
e. They have few moons.
Quiz Questions
11. How do asteroids and comets differ?

a. Asteroids orbit in the opposite direction that the Sun rotates.
b. Comets are younger than asteroids.
c. Asteroids have lower reflectivity.
d. Comets contain ices.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
12. Where are most of the asteroids located?

a. Inside the orbit of Mercury.
b. Between the orbits of Earth and Venus.
c. Between the orbits of Earth and Mars.
d. Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
e. Between the orbits of Jupiter and Neptune.
Quiz Questions
13. Radiometric dating of rock samples indicates that the Solar
System formed about 4.56 billion years ago. Which rock
samples have this age?

a. Earth rocks.
b. Moon rocks.
c. Meteorites.
d. Both a and b above.
e. Both b and c above.
Quiz Questions
14. According to the solar nebula theory, why are Jupiter and
Saturn much more massive than Uranus and Neptune?

a. Jupiter and Saturn formed earlier and captured nebular gas
before it was cleared out.
b. Jupiter and Saturn contain more high-density planet building
materials.
c. Uranus and Neptune have suffered more interstellar wind
erosion.
d. Both a and b above.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
15. How does the solar nebula theory account for the drastic
differences between terrestrial and Jovian planets?

a. The temperature of the accretion disk was high close to the
Sun and low far from the Sun.
b. Terrestrial planets formed closer to the Sun, and are thus
made of high-density rocky materials.
c. Jovian planets are large and have high-mass because they
formed where both rocky and icy materials can condense.
d. Jovian planets captured nebular gas as they had stronger
gravity fields and are located where gases move more slowly.
e. All of the above.
Quiz Questions
16. What is the difference between the processes of
condensation and accretion?

a. Both are processes that collect particles together.
b. Condensation is the building of larger particles one atom (or
molecule) at a time, whereas accretion is the sticking together
of larger particles.
c. Accretion is the building of larger particles one atom (or
molecule) at a time, whereas condensation is the sticking
together of larger particles.
d. Both a and b above.
e. Both a and c above.
Quiz Questions
17. Which of the following is the most likely major heat source
that melted early-formed planetesimals?

a. Tidal flexing.
b. The impact of accreting bodies.
c. The decay of long-lived unstable isotopes.
d. The decay of short-lived unstable isotopes.
e. The transfer of gravitational energy into thermal energy.
Quiz Questions
18. How does the solar nebula theory explain the formation of
an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, rather than a planet
at this location?

a. A single planet formed here and was disrupted by an impact
with a large comet from the outer Solar System.
b. Jupiter swept up so much material that not enough was left
to form a planet.
c. Mars was once larger and collided with a large planetesimal
from the inner Solar System that sent debris outward.
d. Jupiter formed early, and its gravitational influence altered
the orbits of nearby accreting planetesimals such that their
collisions became destructive rather than constructive.
e. The asteroids were originally moons of the planets that were
perturbed by Jupiter's gravity, and now reside in the zone
between Mars and Jupiter.
Quiz Questions
19. Which of the following accurately describes the
differentiation process?

a. High-density materials sink toward the center and low-
density materials rise toward the surface of a molten body.
b. Low-density materials sink toward the center and high-
density materials rise toward the surface of a molten body.
c. Only rocky materials can condense close to the Sun,
whereas both rocky and icy materials can condense far from
the Sun.
d. Both rocky and icy materials can condense close to the Sun,
whereas only rocky materials can condense far from the Sun.
e. Small bodies stick together to form larger bodies.
Quiz Questions
20. How did the solar nebula get cleared of material?

a. The radiation pressure of sunlight pushed gas particles
outward.
b. The intense solar wind of the youthful Sun pushed gas and
dust outward.
c. The planets swept up gas, dust, and small particles.
d. Close gravitational encounters with Jovian planets ejected
material outward.
e. All of the above.

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