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Flashcards in Space: The Solar System Deck (55)
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What is Apogee?

The point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is furthest from the Earth


When and what is the Autumnal equinox?

On September 22nd, where day and night are roughly equal length


What shape is the Earth and what causes it?

Earth is an oblate spheroid. This is caused due to Earth being slightly heavier at the poles. If Earth were a perfect sphere the weight would be the same at any latitude.


What is Earth's major energy source?

99% Solar Energy. The rest is 0.013% geothermal and 0.002% tidal.


How much energy is reflected back into space?

About 40% of incoming energy is reflected back into space


What is the evidence of Earth's revolution?



What is the Foucault pendulum and what does it prove and how does it prove it?

A pendulum that detects the rotation of the Earth. Direction of the pendulum changes 11° every hour. Direction shift caused by Earth's rotation.


What is a GPS?

Global Positioning System that has 27 satellites in space. Need 4 satellites to pinpoint a location on Earth.


What are the laws of Thermodynamics?

1st: Energy can not be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another
2nd: Each change in the form of energy results in a loss of energy, usually as heat.


What are the 4 spheres that make up the Earth system?

Geosphere, Biosphere, Atmosphere, and Hydrosphere. Also learn how they interact with each other.


What is the geosphere?

The Earth itself. It includes the physical features that make up the planet. Includes the lithosphere, asthenosphere and mesosphere.


What is the Lithosphere?

The outer part of the geosphere. Part of the geosphere that interacts with the other spheres. Constantly changing.


What is the Hydrosphere?

All the water in the Earth system. 70% of Earth is covered in water with 97% being salty. Only about 0.5% is usable.


What is the atmosphere?

Layer of gas surrounding the Earth. About 78% Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen. Areas of different pressures produce wind.


What is the Biosphere?

The living organisms on Earth.


What are Lunar Breccias and how are they formed?

Rocks made of angular fragments cemented together with fine materials. Formed from meteoroid impacts.


What are Lunar marias and why are they so dark?

Basins with solidified iron lava. Iron-rich composition of the surface are less reflective than highlands thus appear dark.


What are Lunar Rays and what causes them?

Bright streaks of splashed dust and shattered rock. Caused by meteoroid strikes.


What is Regolith?

Known as lunar soil but rather rocks, sand grains and fine rock dust, which contains no water or organic material.


What are mascons?

Areas of higher gravity (More mass concentrations) on the moon.


How many moon theories and which is accepted?

There are 4 major theories but only the impact theory is accepted


What is the Fission theory and is it true?

The theory that the moon was once a part of earth but was formed as a large chunk of Earth was flung from the planet. Not possible due to lack of energy and momentum.


What is the Co-Formation theory and is it true?

The formation of the moon and Earth occurred at about same time out of the rock debris ring that circled the sun. Not possible due to Earth having lots of iron but moon doesnt


What is the Capture theory and is it true?

The moon was a celestial body that was captured by Earth's gravitational field. Not possible due to Earth having same isotope composition of lunar rocks.


What is the Impact theory and is it true?

Small planet-sized object struck during Earth's formation. Impact shattered this object and sent debris into space forming the moon. Currently accepted moon formation theory.


What is parallax and what does it indicate?

Nearby stars appear to change position when compared to distant stars as the Earth moves in orbit. Indicates stars are stationary and do not move


What is Perigee?

The point in the orbit of the moon or a satellite at which it is nearest to the Earth


What is the Prime Meridian?

0° longitude and the reference for time zones


What is a solar eclipse and what are the types?

A solar eclipse is when the moon comes between the sun and the Earth and blocks some sunlight from reaching Earth. There are three types: Total, Partial and Annular


What is a total solar eclipse?

Moon is at perigee and both umbra and penumbra shadows reach Earth