The "Nature of Things" in the Solar System

The "Nature of Things" in the Solar System

The Nature of Things in the Solar System Why does the sky look the way it does? The existence of the ecliptic

The Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun, in nearly the same plane for all planets The inner solar system 3 months from now

February 3 May 3 Why we see the Sun projected against different constellations at different times

of the year Then, why is the ecliptic tilted with respect to the celestial equator (the reason for seasons) Answer: the obliquity of the

ecliptic (or more simply obliquity, or even more simply, tilt of the Earths axis) The obliquity of the ecliptic and the seasons

Northern hemisphere in summer Northern hemisphere

in winter The obliquity of the ecliptic and habitability of the Earth The obliquity is 23.5 degrees, and changes over time by about +/- 1.5 degrees

This is a mild variation, and allows moderate, but not extreme seasonal variations. It is conjectured that this modest variation is a consequence of the Earth having a relatively large moon, which may be a low-probability event.

Eclipses: observational properties A lunar eclipse (eclipse of the Moon) Progress of a lunar eclipse

Whats going on? Big mystery for the ancients A solar eclipse: one of the great spectacles of

nature What is going on? More pictures: Fig 9.5- 9.8

Eclipses caused by shadows of one solar system object on another Solar eclipses and lunar eclipses Solar eclipses are rare, lunar eclipses

relatively common The Earth is a large object and casts a big shadow that covers a lot of space The Moon is a small object and casts a small shadow. It is much less likely to hit a given place on Earth.

Lunar eclipses: dark ones and bright ones Why dont eclipses occur every month? 5 degrees makes a difference

Eclipses for 2010 January 15 --- annular eclipse of Sun--Indian Ocean June 26 --- partial lunar eclipse --around 5-6 AM around moonset July 11--- eclipse of the Sun ---China and

western Pacific December 21--- total lunar eclipse--maximum eclipse around 3 AM Iowa time

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