Week 8 instructor notes for an introduction to
this week's topic.
1b. Go to the following page to find information
concerning what we know about planets outside our solar system, aka extrasolar planets. This information may be
particularly useful for the week 8 quiz.
1c. Go to the following page to
see evidence supporting the theory of planet formation:
extrasolar planet formation evidence
here for more information about asteroids &
1e. Click here for interesting and fun stories about Leonid
showers and storms of the past, including the 1833 "storm" when thousands per
To learn about space missions to comets (past, current, and future) go to the
following website for a short description of several projects:
For a good summary of the Tunguska explosion event in Siberia in 1908, go to the
For a summary of Earth craters, with images, go to the following link:
Go to the following link to track down information on the Chicxulub crater, the
remains of a 65 million year old impact that caused the extinction of the
1j. Go to
either of the following links to read about the latest news of a mass extinction
that occurred about 250 million years ago (even bigger than the Chicxulub
Click here for a good description of the major
implications of finding Sedna, a planetoid orbiting far beyond Neptune's orbit -
also beyond the Kuiper belt.
1l. Go to this NASA page
for the official definitions (as of 2007) of Planets, Dwarf Planets, and Small
Solar System Bodies:
whole definition gig dragged out over half a decade; some astronomers would
agree if you think it's a little silly. All of the designated Dwarf Planets to
date (September 2007) enjoy dual classification: Dwarf Planet as well as Small
Solar System Body. For example, Pluto is a DP as well as a Kuiper Belt Object
(KBO), which is one of the Small Solar System Body categories. Why not simply
call it a KBO? One other KBO now enjoys DP status, as does the asteroid Ceres.
Can you figure out the primary distinction between small things and dwarf
planets? And why would our Moon, which is larger and more massive than Pluto,
not qualify for Dwarf Planet status? Find the answers at this URL and ponder
the value of arbitrary definitions, as well as work by committees.
2. Respond with written answers to the week 8 discussion questions. I'll take questions about
these during class time. Assess your responses by comparing with my
week 8 DQ
responses on this web-site, as instructed on my responses
page. Turn these in the first day of week 9.
3. Print out the week 8 quiz and circle your answer choice for each
question. I'll take questions about these during class time Turn these
in the first day of week 9.