Astronomy Planet Study Guide Venus-Jupiter

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Planetary Study Guide

* As seen from Earth:
* Orbital period of 88 days; rotation to orbit is a 3:2 ratio * Distance from Sun: 0.31 AU to 0.46 AU from the Sun
* Eccentric orbit: close and far away (perihelion and aphelion) * 7 percent to the ecliptic
* Visible by the naked eye just before sunrise or just after sunset (when the Sun’s light is blotted out) * Never far from the Sun
* As a physical body:
* Small (about 0.055 Earth’s mass)
* No permanent atmosphere; thin envelope of gas temporarily trapped from the solar wind * Surface covered with craters (caused by meteoroids)
* Lacks maria like the moon, however
* Intercrater plains – craters are less densely packed than the moon * No evidence of plate tectonics like on Earth
* Scarps – surface ridges/cliffs (think shriveled apple effect) * Caloris Basin – huge circular basin more than half as wide as Mercury’s radius * Visited by Messenger and flyby done by Mariner 10

* Photographed scarps (ridges) on the surface
* Discovered weak magnetic field that suggests iron core

* As seen from Earth
* Orbital period of 225 days (Earth days)
* Distance from Sun: around 0.7 AU
* Slow, retrograde rotation
* Reflective cloud covering makes it appear very bright in the sky * Visible by the naked eye 2 hours before sunrise or after sunset * As a physical body:
* Size and mass similar to Earth (a little smaller)
* Extremely thick atmosphere; nearly opaque to visible light * Consists mostly of carbon dioxide
* Surface temperature like hell – greenhouse effect
* Surface mostly smooth, resembling rolling plains
* Mapped by radio telescopes from Earth
* Two elevated continent type regions
* Appears to have volcanoes but none confirmed to be active * Some craters
* Visited by Venus...
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