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Physics in Astronomy Report (Assessment)

Contrasting the orbits of Comets and Asteroids

Asteroids have short, circular orbits which tend to form cluster belts, but comets have elongated and extended orbits. Again, Asteroid orbits are closer to the sun and are much more numerous, as compared to comet orbits which are farther from the sun and few.

The reason as to why the Moon plays a larger role in tides than the Sun

Sea and Ocean tides on Earth are primarily caused by gravitational pull, especially due to the Moon and the Sun. Although the Sun is very massive, its gravitational pull on the earth is relatively small, owing to the great distance of separation between the Earth and the Sun.

On the other hand, the Moon, though less massive is nearer the Earth and exerts a greater gravitational pull, thus playing a larger role in tides than the Sun.

Reasons as to why the largest telescopes are reflectors

Largest telescopes are reflectors because they; are cheaper to design than refractors of the same dimensions – the relative cost of making a large refractor telescope is higher, can be made large to collect more light enhancing clear view of very distant stars and do not suffer from chromatic aberration since incident rays from a distant object are brought into a single focus.

The reason as to why detecting Earths could be more difficult than finding Jupiters around other stars

Jupiter is not only a good reflector of Sun’s radiation, but it is also self-luminous; it radiates more energy than it gets from the sun.

This radiation makes it easily detectable by telescopes. The Earth, on the other hand, is; non-luminous, a poor reflector and a good absorber of Sun’s radiation. This makes it difficult for Earth’s around other stars to be detected.

The unique layer of the six layers of the Earth to us

The layers of the Earth are, the; crust, upper mantle, transition region, lower mantle, D” layer, outer core and the inner core. The one which is unique to us is the inner core.

This is because in it is the center of gravity of the earth, and all bodies on the Earth’s surface and its environs are attracted towards the inner core.

The reason as to why Saturn’s rings appeared very different in 1995 and 2003

Saturn’s rings appeared very different in 1995 and 2003 because of chaotic resonance in the rotation of Prometheus and Pandora and surrounding satellites.

It involved the overlapping transfer of angular momentum in an unpredictable manner, with the effect that Saturn’s rings were fully inclined towards the Earth in 2003. It also caused the perfect linear arrangement of the rings with the sun in 1995. (Netting 1)

Ways in which Saturn’s rings system is unique

Saturn’s ring system is the most extensive and complex in the solar system, extending hundreds of thousands of kilometers from the planet.

The rings are made up of many ice particles and are of varied sizes. The most striking feature is the pattern of arrangement of the rings with many being braided, others having spokes and ringlets. (Netting 1)

Comparing the differential rotation rates of the four Jovians.

The orbital speeds of the four Jovians are; Jupiter – 13.1 km/s with a revolution period of 11.9 years, Saturn – 9.64 km/s with a revolution period of 29.4 years, Uranus – 6.81 km/s with a revolution period of 84.0 years and Neptune – 5.43 km/s with a revolution period of 165 years.

Thus Jupiter is the fastest of the four Jovians. (Halliday 4)

What is happening to the mass of the Sun over time?

The mass of the sun is decreasing over time; this is because of fusion reactions within the sun; which convert hydrogen to helium -releasing large amounts of radiant energy.

It is estimated that about 1020 grams of Sun’s mass are lost annually. The radiant energy once emitted is absorbed by different forms of matter in space. (Noyes 1)

The reason as to why the spectra of stars differ, though they are chiefly hydrogen and helium?

Most stars are engulfed with layers of gases of varied thickness, which subsequently absorbs some of the continuous spectra from the star.

Hence the resultant absorption spectrum emitted is varied from star to star. It is also depended on the relative position of the observer as pertains to the visibility of the sky.

Works Cited

Halliday, David. Fundamentals of Physics. Sixth Edition, New York. Wiley Inc, 2004. Print.

Netting, Ruth. The Varnishing Rings of Saturn. 2010. Web.

Noyes, Warner. Does the location of the Earth’s orbit change when the Sun evolves into a Red Giant? 1990. Web.

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Marsh, Khalil. "Physics in Astronomy." IvyPanda (blog), January 10, 2020.


Marsh, Khalil. 2020. "Physics in Astronomy." IvyPanda (blog), January 10, 2020.


Marsh, K. (2020) 'Physics in Astronomy'. IvyPanda, 10 January.

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