ASTR 102 - TEST - MC08 & SA&TF

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What percentage of the mass of the solar nebula consisted of elements other than hydrogen and helium?

A) 0 percent
B) 0.1 percent
C) 2 percent
D) 20 percent
E) 80 percent

C) 2 percent

Where did the elements heavier than hydrogen and helium come from?

A) They were produced in the Big Bang.
B) They evolved from hydrogen and helium shortly after the Big Bang.
C) They were produced inside stars.
D) They were produced inside dense interstellar gas.
E) all of the above

C) They were produced inside stars.

Why did the solar nebula heat up as it collapsed?

A) Nuclear fusion occurring in the core of the protosun produced energy that heated the nebula.
B) As the cloud shrank, its gravitational potential energy was converted to kinetic energy and then into thermal energy.
C) Radiation from other nearby stars that had formed earlier heated the nebula.
D) The shock wave from a nearby supernova heated the gas.
E) Collisions among planetesimals generated friction and heat.

B) As the cloud shrank, its gravitational potential energy was converted to kinetic energy and then into thermal energy.

Why did the solar nebula flatten into a disk?

A) The interstellar cloud from which the solar nebula formed was originally somewhat flat.
B) The force of gravity pulled the material downward into a flat disk.
C) As the nebula cooled, the gas and dust settled onto a disk.
D) It flattened as a natural consequence of collisions between particles in the nebula, changing random motions into more orderly ones.

D) It flattened as a natural consequence of collisions between particles in the nebula, changing random motions into more orderly ones.

What happened during the accretion phase of the early solar system?

A) Atoms and molecules in the gas bonded together and solidified.
B) Particles grew by colliding and sticking together.
C) The solar nebula differentiated into metals inside of the frost line and ices beyond.
D) Large planetesimals captured atmospheres from the solar nebula.
E) Earth gained its oceans from icy planetesimal capture.

B) Particles grew by colliding and sticking together.

According to our theory of solar system formation, why do all the planets orbit the Sun in the same direction and in nearly the same plane?

A) The original solar nebula happened to be disk-shaped by chance.
B) Any planets that once orbited in the opposite direction or a different plane were ejected from the solar system.
C) The laws of conservation of energy and conservation of angular momentum ensure that any rotating, collapsing cloud will end up as a spinning disk.
D) The Sun formed first, and as it grew in size it spread into a disk, rather like the way a ball of dough can be flattened into a pizza by spinning it.
E) Luck explains it, as we would expect that most other solar systems would not have all their planets orbiting in such a pattern.

C) The laws of conservation of energy and conservation of angular momentum ensure that any rotating, collapsing cloud will end up as a spinning disk.

Which of the following lists the ingredients of the solar nebula from highest to lowest percentage of mass of the nebula?

A) light gases (H, He), hydrogen compounds (H2O, CH4, NH3), rocks, metals
B) hydrogen compounds (H2O, CH4, NH3), light gases (H, He), rocks, metals
C) light gases (H, He), hydrogen compounds (H2O, CH4, NH3), metals, rocks
D) hydrogen compounds (H2O, CH4, NH3), light gases (H, He), metals, rocks
E) hydrogen compounds (H2O, CH4, NH3), rocks, metals, light gases (H, He)

A) light gases (H, He), hydrogen compounds (H2O, CH4, NH3), rocks, metals

What percentage of the solar nebula's mass consisted of hydrogen and helium gases?

A) 0.5 percent
B) 5 percent
C) 50 percent
D) 98 percent
E) 100 percent

D) 98 percent

What percentage of the solar nebula's mass consisted of rocky material?

A) 0 percent
B) 0.4 percent
C) 2 percent
D) 20 percent
E) 80 percent

B) 0.4 percent

What kind of material in the solar nebula could remain solid at temperatures as high as 1,500 K, such as existed in the inner regions of the nebula?

A) rocks
B) metals
C) silicon-based minerals
D) hydrogen compounds
E) molecules such as methane and ammonia

B) metals

What was the frost line of the solar system?

A) the distance from the Sun where temperatures were low enough for metals to condense, between the Sun and the present-day orbit of Mercury
B) the distance from the Sun where temperatures were low enough for rocks to condense, between the present-day orbits of Mercury and Venus
C) the distance from the Sun where temperatures were low enough for hydrogen compounds to condense into ices, between the present-day orbits of Mars and Jupiter
D) the distance from the Sun where temperatures were low enough for asteroids to form, between the present-day orbits of Venus and Earth
E) the distance from the Sun where temperatures were low enough for hydrogen and helium to condense, between the present-day orbits of Jupiter and Saturn

C) the distance from the Sun where temperatures were low enough for hydrogen compounds to condense into ices, between the present-day orbits of Mars and Jupiter

Why are the inner planets made of denser materials than the outer planets?

A) The Sun's gravity pulled denser materials toward the inner part of the solar nebula, while lighter gases escaped more easily.
B) Denser materials were heavier and sank to the center of the nebula.
C) In the inner part of the nebula only metals and rocks were able to condense because of the high temperatures, whereas hydrogen compounds, although more abundant, were only able to condense in the cooler outer regions.
D) When the solar nebula formed a disk, materials naturally segregated into bands, and in our particular solar system the denser materials settled nearer the Sun while lighter materials are found in the outer part.
E) In the beginning, when the protoplanetary disk was spinning faster, centrifugal forces flung the lighter materials toward the outer parts of the solar nebula.

C) In the inner part of the nebula only metals and rocks were able to condense because of the high temperatures, whereas hydrogen compounds, although more abundant, were only able to condense in the cooler outer regions.

Which of the following is the origin of almost all the large moons around the jovian planets?

A) They are captured asteroids.
B) They are captured comets.
C) They are captured planets.
D) They were formed by condensation and accretion in a disk of gas around the planet.
E) They were formed by giant impacts.

D) They were formed by condensation and accretion in a disk of gas around the planet.

What is the most likely reason that there are no giant planets beyond Neptune?

A) Any planets forming beyond Neptune would have drifted out of the solar system due to the weakness of the Sun's gravity at this distance.
B) There was no material to create planetesimals beyond the orbit of Neptune.
C) By the time planetesimals grew to a large enough mass to hold onto an atmosphere, the solar nebula had been blown away.
D) Any planet forming beyond Neptune's orbit would have been scattered outside of the solar system by gravitational encounters.
E) There may be, but they would be so faint that astronomers have not found them yet.

C) By the time planetesimals grew to a large enough mass to hold onto an atmosphere, the solar nebula had been blown away.

Observations of young stars (as well as theory) tell us that when the Sun was young the solar wind

A) was weaker than it is today.
B) was stronger than it is today.
C) was about the same strength as it is today. D) was nonexistent.
E) blew outward only along the Sun's poles

B) was stronger than it is today.

Which of the following has not been detected around other stars in the Galaxy?

A) a collapsing nebula of gas
B) flattened, spinning disks
C) jovian planets
D) terrestrial planets
E) strong stellar winds

D) terrestrial planets

At first, the Sun's present-day rotation seems to contradict the prediction of the nebular theory because

A) the theory predicts that the axis of rotation should not be perpendicular to the orbital plane of the planets, but it is.
B) the axis of rotation precesses slowly, which the theory does not predict.
C) the present-day rotation is in the opposite direction from that predicted by the theory.
D) the theory predicts that the Sun should have been rotating fast when it formed, but the actual rotation is fairly slow.
E) the theory predicts that the Sun should not have been rotating when it formed, but the Sun actually rotates today.

D) the theory predicts that the Sun should have been rotating fast when it formed, but the actual rotation
is fairly slow.

According to our theory of solar system formation, why does the Sun rotate slowly today?

A) The Sun once rotated much faster, but it transferred angular momentum to charged particles caught in its magnetic field and then blew the particles away with its strong solar wind.
B) The Sun once rotated much faster, but it transferred angular momentum to planets and other objects
during close encounters.
C) The Sun once rotated much faster, but it lost angular momentum due to internal friction.
D) The Sun once rotated much faster, but it lost angular momentum because everything slows down with time.
E) The Sun was born rotating slowly because the solar nebula had very little angular momentum.

A) The Sun once rotated much faster, but it transferred angular momentum to charged particles caught in its magnetic field and then blew the particles away with its strong solar wind.

Which of the following are relatively unchanged fragments from the early period of planet building in the solar system?

A) the moons of Mars
B) asteroids
C) Kuiper belt comets
D) Oort cloud comets
E) All of the above

E) All of the above

According to the nebular theory, what are asteroids and comets?

A) They are the shattered remains of collisions between planets.
B) They are the shattered remains of collisions between moons.
C) They are leftover planetesimals that never accreted into planets.
D) They are chunks of rock or ice that condensed long after the planets and moons had formed
E) They are chunks of rock or ice that were expelled from planets by volcanoes.

C) They are leftover planetesimals that never accreted into planets.

According to the nebular theory, how did the Kuiper belt form?

A) It is material left over from the interstellar cloud that never contracted with the rest of the gases to form the solar nebula.
B) It is made of planetesimals that formed beyond Neptune's orbit and never accreted to form a planet.
C) It consists of objects that fragmented from the protosun during a catastrophic collision early in the formation of the solar system.
D) It is made of planetesimals between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter that never formed into a planet.
E) It is made of planetesimals formed in the outer solar system that were flung into distant orbits by encounters with the jovian planets.

B) It is made of planetesimals that formed beyond Neptune's orbit and never accreted to form a planet.

According to the nebular theory, how did the Oort cloud form?

A) It is material left over from the interstellar cloud that never contracted with the rest of the gases to form the solar nebula.
B) It is made of planetesimals that formed beyond Neptune's orbit and never accreted to form a planet.
C) It consists of objects that fragmented from the protosun during a catastrophic collision early in the formation of the solar system.
D) It is made of planetesimals between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter that never formed into a planet.
E) It is made of planetesimals formed in the outer solar system that were flung into distant orbits by encounters with the jovian planets.

E) It is made of planetesimals formed in the outer solar system that were flung into distant orbits by encounters with the jovian planets.

According to our theory of solar system formation, why do we find some exceptions to the general rules and patterns of the planets?

A) Our theory is not quite correct because it cannot explain these exceptions.
B) Most of the exceptions are the result of giant impacts.
C) The exceptions probably represent objects that formed recently, rather than early in the history of the solar system.
D) The exceptions probably represent objects that were captured by our solar system from interstellar space.
E) The exceptions exist because, even though our theory is as correct as possible, nature never follows rules precisely.

B) Most of the exceptions are the result of giant impacts.

According to our theory of solar system formation, what is Pluto?

A) Pluto is a terrestrial planet that was shot out from the inner solar system to its present location.
B) Pluto is a terrestrial planet that happened to form at a large distance from the Sun.
C) Pluto is a very small jovian planet.
D) Pluto is a large Kuiper-belt comet.
E) Pluto is simply an oddball, and thus represents one of the "exceptions" that the nebular theory cannot explain.

D) Pluto is a large Kuiper-belt comet.

Based on our current theory of Earth's formation, the water we drink comes from

A) ice that condensed in the solar nebula in the region where Earth formed.
B) chemical reactions that occurred in Earth's crust after Earth formed.
C) chemical reactions that occurred in Earth's core after Earth formed.
D) material left behind during the giant impact that formed the Moon.
E) comets that impacted Earth.

E) comets that impacted Earth.

The heavy bombardment phase of the solar system lasted

A) several million years.
B) several tens of millions of years.
C) several hundreds of millions of years.
D) about a billion years.
E) to the present time.

C) several hundreds of millions of years.

Which of the following is not evidence supporting the giant impact theory for the formation of the Moon?

A) Computer simulations show that the Moon could really have formed in this way.
B) The composition of the Moon is similar to that of Earth's outer layers.
C) The Moon is depleted of easily vaporized materials, as we would expect from the heat of an impact.
D) Scientists have found several meteorites that appear to be the remains of the object that caused the giant impact.

D) Scientists have found several meteorites that appear to be the remains of the object that caused the giant impact.

Which of the following puzzles in the solar system cannot be explained by a giant impact event?

A) the formation of the Moon
B) the large metallic core of Mercury
C) the backward rotation of Venus
D) the extreme axis tilt of Uranus
E) the orbit of Triton in the opposite direction to Neptune's rotation

E) the orbit of Triton in the opposite direction to Neptune's rotation

The nebular theory of the formation of the solar system successfully predicts all but one of the following. Which one does the theory not predict?

A) Planets orbit around the Sun in nearly circular orbits in a flattened disk.
B) the compositional differences between the terrestrial and jovian planets
C) the equal number of terrestrial and jovian planets
D) asteroids, Kuiper-belt comets, and the Oort cloud E) the craters on the Moon

C) the equal number of terrestrial and jovian planets

The age of our solar system is approximately A) 10,000 years.
B) 3.8 million years.
C) 4.6 million years.
D) 4.6 billion years.
E) 14 billion years.

D) 4.6 billion years.

The age of the solar system can be established by radioactive dating of

A) the oldest Earth rocks.
B) the oldest rocks on the Moon.
C) the oldest meteorites.
D) the atmosphere of Mars.
E) It hasn't been done yet, but the age of the solar system could be obtained from a sample of Io's surface.

C) the oldest meteorites.

What do meteorites reveal about the solar system?

A) They reveal that meteorites are much older than the comets and planets.
B) Nothing, because they come from other star systems.
C) They reveal that the solar system once contained 10 planets.
D) They reveal that the age of the solar system is approximately 4.6 billion years.
E) They reveal that the early solar system consisted mostly of hydrogen and helium gas.

D) They reveal that the age of the solar system is approximately 4.6 billion years.

Suppose you find a rock that contains some potassium-40 (half-life of 1.3 billion years). You measure the amount and determine that there are 5 grams of potassium-40 in the rock. By measuring the amount of its decay product (argon-40) present in the rock, you realize that there must have been 40 grams of potassium- 40 when the rock solidified. How old is the rock?

A) 1.3 billion years
B) 2.6 billion years
C) 3.9 billion years
D) 5.2 billion years
E) none of the above

C) 3.9 billion years

In essence, the nebular theory holds that ________.

A) our solar system formed from the collapse of an interstellar cloud of gas and dust
B) nebulae are clouds of gas and dust in space
C) the planets each formed from the collapse of its own separate nebula
D) The nebular theory is a discarded idea that imagined planets forming as a result of a near-collision between our Sun and another star.

A) our solar system formed from the collapse of an interstellar cloud of gas and dust

According to modern science, what was the approximate chemical composition of the solar nebula?

A) 50% hydrogen and helium, 50% everything else
B) 98% hydrogen and helium, 2% everything else
C) 98% hydrogen, 2% helium
D) roughly equal proportions of hydrogen, helium, water, and methane

B) 98% hydrogen and helium, 2% everything else

The terrestrial planets are made almost entirely of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium. According to modern science, where did these elements come from?

A) They were produced by stars that lived and died before our solar system was born.
B) They were produced by gravity in the solar nebula as it collapsed.
C) They have been present in the universe since its birth.
D) They were made by chemical reactions in interstellar gas.

A) They were produced by stars that lived and died before our solar system was born.

According to our theory of solar system formation, what three major changes occurred in the solar nebula as it shrank in size?

A) It got hotter, its rate of rotation increased, and it flattened into a disk.
B) Its mass, temperature, and density all increased.
C) It gained energy, it gained angular momentum, and it flattened into a disk.
D) Its gas clumped up to form the terrestrial planets, nuclear fusion produced heavy elements to make the jovian planets, and central temperatures rose to more than a trillion Kelvin.

A) It got hotter, its rate of rotation increased, and it flattened into a disk.

Which of the following types of material can condense into what we call ice at low temperatures?

A) hydrogen and helium
B) rock
C) metal
D) hydrogen compounds

D) hydrogen compounds

According to our present theory of solar system formation, which of the following lists the major ingredients of the solar nebula in order from the most abundant to the least abundant?

A) hydrogen compounds; hydrogen and helium gas; metal; rock
B) hydrogen and helium gas; rock; metal; hydrogen compounds
C) hydrogen and helium gas; hydrogen compounds; rock; metal
D) hydrogen, water, methane, helium

C) hydrogen and helium gas; hydrogen compounds; rock; metal

What do we mean by the frost line when we discuss the formation of planets in the solar nebula?

A) It is a circle at a particular distance from the Sun, beyond which the temperature was low enough for ices to condense.
B) It is another way of stating the temperature at which water freezes into ice.
C) It marks the special distance from the Sun at which hydrogen compounds become abundant; closer to the Sun, there are no hydrogen compounds.
D) It is the altitude in a planet's atmosphere at which snow can form.

A) It is a circle at a particular distance from the Sun, beyond which the temperature was low enough for ices to condense.

What do we mean by accretion in the context of planet formation?

A) the formation of moons around planets
B) the growth of planetesimals from smaller solid particles that collided and stuck together C) the solidification of ices, rocks, and metal from the gas of the solar nebular
D) the growth of the Sun as the density of gas increased in the center of the solar nebula

B) the growth of planetesimals from smaller solid particles that collided and stuck together

According to our present theory of solar system formation, why were solid planetesimals able to grow larger in the outer solar system than in the inner solar system?

A) because the Sun's gravity was stronger in the outer solar system, allowing more solid material to collect
B) because only metal and rock could condense in the inner solar system, while ice also condensed in the outer solar system
C) because gas in the outer solar system contained a larger proportion of rock, metal, and hydrogen compounds than the gas in the inner solar system
D) because only the outer planets captured hydrogen and helium gas from the solar nebula

B) because only metal and rock could condense in the inner solar system, while ice also condensed in the outer solar system

According to our basic scenario of solar system formation, why do the jovian planets have numerous large moons?

A) As the growing jovian planets captured gas from the solar nebula, the gas formed swirling disks around them, and moons formed from condensation accretion within these disks.
B) Because of their strong gravity, the jovian planets were able to capture numerous asteroids that happened to be passing nearby, and these became the major moons of the jovian planets.
C) The large moons of the jovian planets originally formed in the inner solar system and these moons then migrated out to join up with the jovian planets.
D) The many moons of the jovian planets remains one of the unexplained mysteries of the formation of our solar system.

A) As the growing jovian planets captured gas from the solar nebula, the gas formed swirling disks around them, and moons formed from condensation accretion within these disks.

According to our theory of solar system formation, what are asteroids and comets?

A) the shattered remains of collisions between planets
B) chunks of rock or ice that condensed after the planets and moons finished forming
C) chunks of rock or ice that were expelled from planets by volcanoes
D) leftover planetesimals that never accreted into planets

D) leftover planetesimals that never accreted into planets

According to our theory of solar system formation, where did the comets of the Oort cloud form?

A) in the inner solar system
B) far beyond the orbit of Pluto
C) in the region of the jovian planets
D) in the asteroid belt

C) in the region of the jovian planets

What do we mean by the period of heavy bombardment in the context of the history of our solar system?

A) the first few hundred million years after the planets formed, which is when most impact craters were formed
B) the time before planetesimals finished accreting into planets, during which many growing
planetesimals must have shattered in collisions
C) the time during which heavy elements condensed into rock and metal in the solar nebula
D) the period about 65 million years ago when an impact is thought to have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs

A) the first few hundred million years after the planets formed, which is when most impact craters were formed

What is the giant impact hypothesis for the origin of the Moon?

A) The Moon formed when two gigantic asteroids collided with one another.
B) The Moon originally was about the same size as Earth, but a giant impact blasted most of it away so that it ended up much smaller than Earth.
C) The Moon formed from material blasted out of the Earth's mantle and crust by the impact of a Mars- size object.
D) The Moon formed just like Earth, from accretion in the solar nebula.

C) The Moon formed from material blasted out of the Earth's mantle and crust by the impact of a Mars- size object.

Suppose you start with 1 kilogram of a radioactive substance that has a half-life of 10 years. Which of the following statements will be true after 20 years pass?

A) You'll have 0.25 kilogram of the radioactive substance remaining.
B) All the material will have completely decayed.
C) You'll have 0.75 kilogram of the radioactive substance remaining.
D) You'll have 0.5 kilogram of the radioactive substance remaining.

A) You'll have 0.25 kilogram of the radioactive substance remaining.

According to modern scientific dating techniques, approximately how old is the solar system?

A) 10,000 years
B) 4.6 million years
C) 4.5 billion years
D) 14 billion years

C) 4.5 billion years

Which of the following best explains why we can rule out the idea that planets are usually formed by near- collisions between stars?

A) Studies of the trajectories of nearby stars relative to the Sun show that the Sun is not in danger of a near-collision with any of them.
B) Stellar near-collisions are far too rare to explain all the planets now known to orbit nearby stars.
C) A near collision might have created planets, but it could not have created moons, asteroids, or comets.
D) A near collision should have left a trail of gas extending out behind the Sun, and we see no evidence of such a trail.

B) Stellar near-collisions are far too rare to explain all the planets now known to orbit nearby stars.

According to our modern science, which of the following best explains why the vast majority of the mass of our solar system consists of hydrogen and helium gas?

A) Hydrogen and helium are the most common elements throughout the universe, because they were the only elements present when the universe was young.
B) Hydrogen and helium are produced in stars by nuclear fusion.
C) All the other elements escaped from the solar nebula before the Sun and planets formed.
D) All the other elements were swept out of the solar system by the solar wind.

A) Hydrogen and helium are the most common elements throughout the universe, because they were the only elements present when the universe was young.

According to our theory of solar system formation, which law best explains why the central regions of the solar nebula got hotter as the nebula shrank in size?

A) the law of conservation of angular momentum
B) Newton's third law
C) the two laws of thermal radiation
D) the law of conservation of energy

D) the law of conservation of energy

According to our theory of solar system formation, which law best explains why the solar nebula spun faster as it shrank in size?

A) the law of conservation of angular momentum
B) the law of conservation of energy
C) the law of universal gravitation
D) Einstein's law E = mc2

A) the law of conservation of angular momentum

According to our present theory of solar system formation, which of the following best explains why the solar nebula ended up with a disk shape as it collapsed?

A) It was fairly flat to begin with, and retained this flat shape as it collapsed.
B) The force of gravity pulled the material downward into a flat disk.
C) The law of conservation of energy
D) It flattened as a natural consequence of collisions between particles in the nebula.

D) It flattened as a natural consequence of collisions between particles in the nebula.

What is the primary basis upon which we divide the ingredients of the solar nebula into four categories (hydrogen/helium; hydrogen compound; rock; metal)?

A) the temperatures at which various materials will condense from gaseous form to solid form B) the atomic mass numbers of various materials
C) the locations of various materials in the solar nebula
D) the amounts of energy required to ionize various materials

A) the temperatures at which various materials will condense from gaseous form to solid form

According to our present theory of solar system formation, which of the following statements about the growth of terrestrial and jovian planets is not true?

A) Both types of planet begun with planetesimals growing through the process of accretion, but only the jovian planets were able to capture hydrogen and helium gas from the solar nebula.
B) The jovian planets began from planetesimals made only of ice, while the terrestrial planets began from planetesimals made only of rock and metal.
C) Swirling disks of gas, like the solar nebula in miniature, formed around the growing jovian planets but not around the growing terrestrial planets.
D) The terrestrial planets formed inside the frost line of the solar nebula and the jovian planets formed beyond it.

B) The jovian planets began from planetesimals made only of ice, while the terrestrial planets began from planetesimals made only of rock and metal.

Many meteorites appear to have formed very early in the solar system's history. How do these meteorites support our theory about how the terrestrial planets formed?

A) The meteorites sizes are just what we'd expect if metal and rock condensed and accreted as our theory suggests.
B) The meteorites appearance and composition is just what we'd expect if metal and rock condensed and accreted as our theory suggests.
C) Their overall composition is just what we believe the composition of the solar nebula to have been: mostly hydrogen and helium.
D) Their appearance and composition matches what we observe in comets today, suggesting that meteorites were once pieces of icy planetesimals.

B) The meteorites appearance and composition is just what we'd expect if metal and rock condensed and accreted as our theory suggests.

According to present understanding, which of the following statements about the solar wind is not true?

A) It is even stronger today than it was when the Sun was young.
B) It helped in the transfer of angular momentum from the young Sun to particles that blew into interstellar space, which explains why the Sun rotates so slowly today.
C) It swept vast amounts of gas from the solar nebula into interstellar space.
D) It consists of charged particles blown off the surface of the Sun.

A) It is even stronger today than it was when the Sun was young.

According to our present theory of solar system formation, how did Earth end up with enough water to make oceans?

A) The water was mixed in the other materials in the planetesimals that accreted at our distance from the Sun.
B) The water was formed by chemical reactions among the minerals in the Earth's core.
C) The water was brought to the forming Earth by planetesimals that accreted beyond the orbit of Mars.
D) Earth formed in the relatively narrow region of the solar nebular in which liquid water was plentiful.

C) The water was brought to the forming Earth by planetesimals that accreted beyond the orbit of Mars.

According to our present theory of solar system formation, which of the following objects now reside quite far from the place where they formed originally?

A) Oort cloud comets
B) Kuiper belt comets
C) asteroids of the asteroid belt
D) the terrestrial planets

A) Oort cloud comets

What is the primary reason that astronomers suspect that some jovian moons were captured into their current orbits?

A) Some moons have a composition that differs from the composition of the planets.
B) Astronomers have observed moons being captured.
C) Some moons are surprisingly large in size.
D) Some moons have orbits that are "backwards" (compared to their planet's rotation) or highly inclined to their planet's equator.

D) Some moons have orbits that are "backwards" (compared to their planet's rotation) or highly inclined to their planet's equator.

Which of the following is not a line of evidence supporting the hypothesis that our Moon formed as a result of a giant impact?

A) The Pacific Ocean appears to be a large craterprobably the one made by the giant impact.
B) Computer simulations show that the Moon could really have formed in this way.
C) The Moon's average density suggests it is made of rock much more like that of the Earth's outer layers
than that of Earth as a whole.
D) The Moon has a much smaller proportion of easily vaporized materials than Earth.

A) The Pacific Ocean appears to be a large craterprobably the one made by the giant impact.

Why are terrestrial planets denser than jovian planets?

A) Only dense materials could condense in the inner solar nebula.
B) The Sun's gravity gathered dense materials into the inner solar system.
C) Gravity compresses terrestrial planets to a higher degree, making them denser.
D) Actually, the jovian planets are denser than the terrestrial planets.

A) Only dense materials could condense in the inner solar nebula.

Suppose you find a rock that contains 10 micrograms of radioactive potassium-40, which has a half-life of 1. 25 billion years. By measuring the amount of its decay product (argon-40) present in the rock, you conclude that there must have been 80 micrograms of potassium-40 when the rock solidified. How old is the rock?

A) 1.25 billion years
B) 2.5 billion years
C) 3.75 billion years
D) 5.0 billion years

C) 3.75 billion years

How do scientists determine the age of the solar system?

A) radiometric dating of Moon rocks
B) radiometric dating of the oldest Earth rocks
C) radiometric dating of meteorites
D) Theoretical calculations tell us how long it has taken the planets to evolve to their present forms.

C) radiometric dating of meteorites

The region of our solar system between Mercury and Mars has very few asteroids, while the region between Mars and Jupiter has many asteroids. Based on what you have learned, what is the most likely explanation for the lack of asteroids between Mercury and Mars?

A) There were very few planetary leftovers in this region, because most of the solid material was accreted by the terrestrial planets as the planets formed.
B) It was too hot for asteroids to form in this part of the solar system.
C) Gravity was too weak to allow asteroids to form in this part of the solar system.
D) All the asteroids that formed between Mercury and Mars later migrated to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

A) There were very few planetary leftovers in this region, because most of the solid material was accreted by the terrestrial planets as the planets formed.

About 2% of our solar nebula consisted of elements besides hydrogen and helium. However, the very first generation of star systems in the universe probably consisted only of hydrogen and helium. Which of the following statements is most likely to have been true about these first-generation star systems?

A) There were no comets or asteroids in these first-generation star systems.
B) Jovian planets in these first-generation star systems had clouds made of water and other hydrogen compounds.
C) These first-generation star systems typically had several terrestrial planets in addition to jovian planets.
D) Like the jovian planets in our solar system, the jovian planets in these first-generation systems were orbited by rings.

A) There were no comets or asteroids in these first-generation star systems.

All the planets in the solar system rotate in the same direction as they orbit the Sun.

False

As viewed from above Earth's North Pole, all of the planets orbit the Sun in the same (counterclockwise) direction.

True

The more massive planets in the solar system tend to be less dense than the lower mass planets.

True

Within the frost line, planetesimals were composed entirely of rock and outside the frost line planetesimals were composed entirely of ice.

False

Impacts were extremely common in the young solar system but no longer occur today.

False

Earth's atmosphere resulted from the impact of icy planetesimals that originated in the outer regions of the Solar System.

True

The Moon probably formed at the same time that Earth formed, rather like the formation of a double planet.

False

Some radioactive isotopes found in meteorites suggest that the solar system may have been formed shortly after a supernova occurred nearby.

True

Based on our theory of how our own solar system formed, we would expect that other solar systems would be quite common.

True

Nebular theory predicts that other solar systems that formed in the same way should also have 8 planets.

False

Briefly summarize the observed patterns of motion in our solar system that are consistent with the nebular theory .

(a) All planets orbit the Sun counterclockwise when seen from above Earth's North Pole.
(b) All planetary orbits lie nearly in the same plane.
(c) Almost all planets travel on nearly circular orbits.
(d) The spacing between planetary orbits increases with distance from the Sun.
(e) Most planets orbit in the same direction in which they rotate, counterclockwise.
(f) Almost all moons orbit their planet in the same direction as the planet's rotation and near the planet's equatorial plane.
(g) The Sun rotates in the same direction in which the planets orbit.

List at least three of the notable exceptions to the general patterns of the solar system.
Several possibilities:

(a) Mercury and Pluto have large orbital eccentricities and inclinations.
(b) The rotational axes of Uranus and Pluto are substantially tilted.
(c) Venus rotates backward, that is, clockwise.
(d) Unlike other terrestrial planets, Earth has a large Moon.
(e) Pluto has a moon that is almost as large as itself.
(f) Some of the moons of the jovian planets orbit in the opposite direction.

Suppose the entire solar nebula had cooled to a very low temperature before the solar wind cleared it away. Do you think Earth would be the same? Why or why not?

Ices would have condensed in the inner solar system, significantly increasing the size and mass (or possibly number) of terrestrial planets. Water and other hydrogen compounds would be much more abundant.

Suppose the planet Jupiter had never formed. How do you think the distribution of asteroids and comets in our solar system would be different? Explain.

If Jupiter had never existed, its gravity would not have prevented asteroidal material from accreting into a single planet outside of Mars. Comets would not have been flung into the Oort cloud or completely out of the solar system to as great a degree (though the outer jovian planets may have performed this function).

Explain why the early Earth did not form with water, and how it gained it later in its formation.

Earth, and all terrestrial planets, formed inside the frost line from rocky and metallic planetesimals. The temperature of the solar nebula was too hot for water ice to exist and Earth was too small to hold onto a substantial atmosphere of hot gases. Earth gained its water later during the heavy bombardment phase when water-rich planetesimals that formed beyond the frost line were scattered into the inner solar system, predominantly through gravitational encounters with Jupiter, and impacted Earth.

Briefly describe the modern theory of how our Moon formed.

The Moon formed from a giant impact of a Mars-size object with Earth. This impact blasted material into Earth orbit that eventually coalesced to form the Moon.

Suppose you discovered a meteorite that contains small amounts of potassium-40, which has a half-life of 1.3 billion years, and its decay product argon-40. You determine that 1/16 of the original potassium-40 remains; the other 15/16 has decayed into argon-40. How old is the meteorite? Based on your answer, where is this meteorite probably from?

To reach a fraction of 1/16, the meteorite has been through four half-lives, which means it is 4 × 1.3 billion = 5.2 billion years old. Since this is older than the solar system, it is probably a rock from interstellar space.

Explain how the age of a rock can be determined by radiometric dating.

The minerals in rocks contain small amounts of radioactive isotopes (for example carbon-14 or potassium-40). Over time, these parent isotopes decay into a different, stable element, the daughter isotope. By precisely counting the number of parent and daughter atoms within a rock, and knowing the decay time (the half-life) of the parent, the age can be determined.

If we were to re-run the formation of the solar system, what would likely be the same and what would likely be different?

As with our solar system, planets would likely orbit in a thin disk, with small, dense planets close to the Sun and larger, jovian-like planets further away because these properties are due to the cumulative effects of cloud flattening during collapse and enhanced heating close to the star. The properties of our solar system that would be less likely to be repeated would be those due to chance events (giant impacts), such as the backward rotation of Venus, the formation of Earth's Moon, and the sideways tilt of Uranus.

Process of Science: A scientific theory must produce testable hypotheses that are then evaluated when data are available. What testable hypotheses does nebular theory predict? Describe two hypotheses about solar systems that come from nebular theory that we can test when more data on other solar systems become available.

1. Larger planets should be in the outer solar system.
2. Planets should orbit in the same direction.
3. Planets should lie in approximately the same plane.

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