Astronomy 1210 -- March 30, 2012 (27)
Important Topics from Last Time
- Exam 2 answers are posted on the Exams page
- Exam 3 review questions are available
- The "constellation of the week" is Auriga - see also
Today's Key Topics
- The evolution of planetary surfaces
- The cratering process
- The surface of Mercury
- Planetary density and planetary interior composition
- The origin of the Earth's Moon
- Consequences of a rare Moon
- The Earth's surface and plate tectonics
- Why planets have atmospheres
- First quarter Moon tonight. It will be high in the sky at sunset and set around midnight.
- The Moon has passed Jupiter and Venus and is much further along the ecliptic now. Its separation from these planets will continue increase as it heads toward first quarter and ultimately will pass Mars on the way to Full Moon.
- Jupiter and Venus are now moving apart. If you've been watching, Venus is almost stationary with respect to the horizon at sunset while Jupiter sinks lower in the west each day heading for conjunction in a couple of months.
- Mars is prominent in the eastern sky in the early evening. Its red color is evident.
- Auriga is a loop of stars high overhead to the northwest at sunset marked by the bright star Capella - the 5th brightest star in the sky visible from Charlottesville.
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