1. In what sense are there only two important objects in our solar system?
2. What is differential rotation, and how is it observed on Jupiter?
3. What does Jupiter's degree of flattening (oblateness) tell us about its interior?
4. Describe some of the ways the Voyager and Galileo missions changed our perception of Jupiter.
5. What is the Great Red Spot, and what is known about its source of energy?
6. What is the cause of colors in the atmosphere of Jupiter?
7. Why has Jupiter most of its original atmosphere?
8. Explain the theory which accounts for Jupiter's internal heat source.
9. What is Jupiter thought to be like beneath its clouds, and why do we think this?
10. What is responsible for Jupiter's enormous magnetic field?
The Moons of Jupiter
1. In what senses are Jupiter and its moons like a miniature solar system?
2. How does the density of the Galilean moons vary with distance from Jupiter, and how can this be understood?
3. What is the cause of Io's volcanic activity?
4. What evidence is there for liquid water below Europa's surface?
5. What is the evidence that Ganymede's interior was heated as recently as one billion years ago?
6. How does cratering vary among the Galilean moons? Does it depend on location, and if so, why?
7. Why is there speculation that Europa might support life?
8. What might be the consequences of the discovery of life on Europa?
9. How much water do the moons of Jupiter have compared with the terrestrial planet?
1. Seen from Earth, Saturn's rings sometimes appear broad and brilliant, but at other times seem to disappear. Why?
2. What is a ring crossing? When will the next one occur?
3. Why does Saturn have a less varied appearance than Jupiter?
4. What does Saturn's shape tell us about its deep interior?
5. Compare and contrast the atmospheres and weather systems of Saturn and Jupiter, and tell how the differences affect each planet's appearance.
6. Compare the thicknesses of Saturn's various layers (clouds, molecular hydrogen, metallic hydrogen, and core) with the equivalent layers in Jupiter. Why do the thicknesses differ?
7. What is the mechanism responsible for the relative absence of helium in Saturn's atmosphere, compared with Jupiter's atmosphere?
8. Is Saturn as a whole deficient in helium relative to Jupiter?
The Rings and Moons of Saturn
1. When were Saturn's rings discovered? When did astronomers realize what they were?
2. What would happen to a satellite if it came too close to Saturn?
3. What evidence supports the idea that a relatively recent catastrophic event was responsible for Saturn's rings?
4. What effect does Mimas have on Saturn's rings?
5. What are shepherd satellites?
6. When Voyager 1 passed Saturn in 1980, why didn't it see the surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon?
7. Compare and contrast Titan with Jupiter's Galilean moons.
8. Why does Titan have a dense atmosphere, whereas other large moons in the solar system do not?
9. What is the evidence for geological activity on Enceladus?
10. What mystery is associated with Iapetus?
11. Imagine what the sky would look like from Saturn's moon Hyperion. Would the Sun rise and set in the same way it does on Earth? How do you imagine Saturn might look?
1. How was Uranus discovered?
2. Why does Uranus spin 'on its side'?
3. What is responsible for the color of Uranus?
4. How is the interior of Uranus thought to differ from those of Jupiter and Saturn?
5. How does the magnetic field of Uranus compare with that of Earth?
6. Describe a day on Titania.
7. What is special about Miranda? Explain.
8. The rings of Uranus are dark, narrow, and widely spaced. Which of these properties makes them different from the rings of Saturn?
9. Why are the rings of Uranus so narrow and sharply defined?
10. Why was the discover of Uranus in 1781 so surprising? Might there be similar surprises in store for today's astronomers?
Neptune and Pluto
2. What causes Triton's geysers?
3. What is the predicted fate of Triton?
do the rings of
5. Will Pluto and Neptune ever collide?
6. How were the mass and radius of Pluto determined?
7. In what respect is Pluto more like a moon than a Jovian or terrestrial planet?
8. In what sense were astronomers fortunate to discover Pluto?
1. What are the Trojan, Apollo, and Amor asteroids?
2. How are asteroid masses measured?
3. How have the best photographs of asteroids been obtained?
5. How do the C-type and S-type asteroids differ?
6. Are all asteroids found in the asteroid belt? Explain.
7. What might be the consequences if a 10-km-diameter meteorites struck Earth today?
1. What are comets like when they are far from the Sun? What happens when they enter the inner solar system?
2. Where in the solar system do most comets reside?
3. Describe the various parts of a comet while it is near the Sun.
4. What are the typical ingredients of a comet nucleus?
5. How do we know what comets are made of?
6. What are some possible fates of comets?
7. Describe two ways in which a comet's orbit may change.
8. In what ways is the Kuiper belt similar to the asteroid belt, and in what ways do they differ?
9. What causes a meteor shower?
10. What do meteorites reveal about the age of the solar system?
11. Why can comets approach the Sun from any direction, but asteroids generally orbit close to the plane of the ecliptic?
12. Explain the difference between a meteor, a meteoroid, and a meteorite.
13. Why do meteorites contain information about the early solar system, yet the Earth does not?