The Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area

The Solar System
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Author:  doctorcos [ Tue Jul 28, 2020 11:30 pm ]
Post subject:  The Solar System

"Mesmerising Animation Reveals Our Entire Solar System Doesn't Exactly Orbit The Sun"
This is the headline in the following, admittedly pedantic link: ... it-the-sun

Author:  JoeStieber [ Wed Jul 29, 2020 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Solar System

Here's one of the relatively common diagram's of the solar system's ever-changing barycenter, this one for the years 2000 through 2050...

Note that curve is moving towards a maximum distance from the sun in the early 2020's, which reflects Jupiter and Saturn converging on a conjunction now (so their combined mass is pulling the barycenter away from the sun). That repeats about 20 years from now on the opposite side of the sun. See this earlier topic for a calculation of the nominal 20-year span between Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions...

Author:  doctorcos [ Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Solar System

The salty underground ocean on asteroid Ceres:

See ... 18644.html

(Yes, I know that bureaucratic classifiers have dubbed it a dwarf planet.)

Thanks to Greg Barr for this link.

Author:  JoeStieber [ Mon Aug 10, 2020 7:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Solar System

More properly, Ceres is a Minor Planet, and still is. The term "asteroid" for the minor planets (while highly appropriate for their appearance) has a checkered history, and hasn't been used in formal astronomy for probably a century or more. The U.S. Naval Observatory has a great article about this, but they're rebuilding their web site and the respective page isn't currently available (the rebuild was originally supposed to be completed this spring, but has now been pushed to this fall, presumably delayed by the coronavirus). I look at the "dwarf planet" description as supplemental information about the object's nature.

And the proper full name would be (1) Ceres, while similarly you have (7) Flora, (624) Hektor and (134340) Pluto, which happen to be four of the many "asteroids" I've seen visually after finding them manually. In modern usage, the parentheses are frequently omitted, but they have an interesting history too (as described in the unavailable USNO article).

Originally, the minor planets were considered full planets, but when they got beyond a dozen or so, it became apparent they were a new class of objects (much like today's Pluto bruhaha). As planets, they were given symbols along the lines of the traditional planets, but it soon became unwieldy to concoct simple, but distinct artwork for them. That's when they started using encircled numbers, in order of discovery. But as the numbers grew larger, circles became impractical, especially for the printed page, so they used parentheses instead. And now we have the parentheses starting to fade away (but I'm traditional and still like them).

Author:  BetaDraconis [ Tue Aug 18, 2020 4:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Solar System

12 Ways Humanity Could Destroy The Entire Solar System ... ar-system/

Thanks to Chris Savia for this link.

Author:  doctorcos [ Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The Solar System

Oh my! If this isn't an unusual asteroid, I don't know what is! ... 20-qg.html

Thanks to Greg Barr for passing this on to me.

Author:  doctorcos [ Sat Aug 22, 2020 10:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The Solar System

"An asteroid is on possible collision course with Earth this November: Should we be worried?
2018 VP1 object has created some buzz"

This is the headline of an article with a video that can be seen in ... e-worried/

Thanks to Greg Barr for sending me this link.

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