See also:ancient astronomy, one of seven heavenly bodies characterized by being in motion relative to the fixed stars, which last appeared immovable upon the
See also:celestial sphere . As thus defined the
See also:planets were the
See also:sun, the
See also:moon, Mercury,
See also:Jupiter and Saturn . In
See also:modern astronomy since Copernicus, the
See also:term is applied to any opaque
See also:body moving around the sun . Taken in its widest sense it applies to the satellites which are sometimes termed secondary planets . Each of these moves around a
See also:planet larger than itself, which it accompanies in its revolution
See also:round the sun . A planet not revolving round another is termed a
See also:primary planet . The primary planets are classified as major and minor . The former are eight in number and, with the sun,
See also:form the
See also:principal members of the solar
See also:system, under which
See also:head their arrangement is described . The
See also:earth on which we live is the third in the
See also:order of the major planets from the sun . With respect to the positions of their orbits relative to the earth, the other planets are distinguished as inferior and
See also:superior . The former, only two in number, comprise Mercury and Venus, which revolve between the earth and the sun . The superior planets are those whose orbits are outside that of the earth .
The synodic revolution of an inferior planet is the
See also:time in which it performs a revolution relative to the
See also:line joining the earth and the sun . This is greater than its actual time of revolution . The phases or appearances presented by such a planet depend upon its configuration with respect to the earth and sun, and therefore go through their
See also:complete periods in a synodic revolution . At superior conjunction the illuminated hemisphere of the planet is presented to the earth so that it presents the form of a full moon . As it moves towards inferior conjunction, the lines from the planet to the sun and to the earth, or the
See also:angle sun-earth as seen from the planet, on which the phase depends, continually make a greater angle . At the time of greatest
See also:elongation this angle is 900, and the planet appears one
See also:half illuminated, like the moon at first or last quarter . Then, as it approaches inferior conjunction, the visible portion of the disk assumes the
See also:crescent form, and while the circle bounding the disk continually increases owing to the approach of the planet to the earth, the crescent becomes thinner and thinner until, near inferior conjunction, the planet is no longer visible . After conjunction the phases occur in the
See also:reverse order . The brilliancy of the planet, as measured by the
See also:total amount of
See also:light we receive from it, goes through a similar cycle of
See also:change . The point of greatest brilliancy is between inferior conjunction and greatest elongation . In the case of Venus this phase occurs about three or four
See also:weeks before and after inferior conjunction .
See also:Tire dots round the orbits
See also:elm. the poeitipn of the planets at intervals of ten days The symbols) t indloate the greatest distance of an orbit
See also:north and south of the prone of the
See also:Ecliptic The dots round the orbits show the position of the planets at intervals of a thousand days The arrow-head on rash orbit shows r the direction of reuolution,also the ' place of each planet an
See also:Jan. ist.10l0 at
See also:noon Ly Q e 6 .9 rP Mars The Earth The Moon Mercury Clef o' .
Ere tf afO:.k nScale ten thousand times that of Orbits Seale about one
See also:hundred times that of Oitfte (The Earth,Mars,and the Sue, are shown as seen from the dirsetiw of the
See also:pole of the ecliptic in their true axial poeitioer) Moos 0 Marna Venus Barth Mars • Uranus Neptune'
See also:Boa/e of planets 20,000 times that of Orbits /Jupiter and Saturn are shown in their true axial position, Uranus and Neptune in the axial positions inferred from the motions of their Satellites/ . Scale about 4000 times that of the Orbits Saturn's I- :I- System of Sateilltes System IO Uranus's Satellites Jupiter's of SatellitesNeptune's Satellite In the figures given above are shown the relative orbits of the planets, the orbits of Mars, the Earth, Venus and Mercury (fig. i) being
See also:drawn to a scale twenty times that of the
See also:outer ones—Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter (fig . 2) . The positions of the planets at ten-
See also:day intervals; their actual position on the 1st of
See also:January 1910 at noon, of their nodes and nearer apses, and the points when they are farthest distant north and south of the ecliptic, are also given . The relative sizes of the planets are also given, orientated in their true axial position with regard to the ecliptic . The nearer planets (and also the Moon) are separately compared (fig . 3) ; and then shown (on a smaller scale) in comparison with the more distant ones (fig . 4) . Finally scale diagrams of the distances of the orbits of the satellite-systems of Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter and Neptune are given (fig . 5) . The phases of a superior planet are less strongly marked, because the lines from the planet to the earth and sun never increase to a right angle . The result is that although the apparent disk of Mars is sometimes gibbous in a very marked degree, it is always more than half illuminated .
In the case of the other superior planets, from Jupiter outward, no variation in phase is perceptible even to telescopicvision . The entire disk always seems fully illumina ted . The most favourable time for viewing an inferior planet is near that of greatest brilliancy . As it recedes further from the earth, although a continually increasing proportion of its disk is illuminated by the sun, this
See also:advantage is neutralized by the diminution in its
See also:size produced by the increasing distance . When a superior planet is in opposition to the sun it rises at sunset and is visible all
See also:night . This is also the time when nearest the earth, and therefore when the circumstances are most favourable for observation . The greater the distance of a planet from the sun the less is the
See also:speed with which it moves in its orbit . The orbit being larger, the time of its revolution is greater in a yet larger degree . An approximation to the general
See also:laws of speed in different planets is that the linear speed is inversely proportional to the square
See also:root of the mean distance . From this follows
See also:Kepler's third
See also:law, that the squares of the times of revolution are proportional to the cubes of the mean distances . Notes on the
See also:Plate showing Planetary Spectra . Only those lines and bands are mentioned which are
See also:peculiar to the planets; the
See also:Fraunhofer lines are therefore omitted .
See also:Wave Remarks . length . 4600 Neptune . 4800 F hydrogen, H$ strong . Neptune, Uranus, Saturn (?) 5090 Neptune, Uranus . 5190* Broad . Neptune, Uranus . 5370 Neptune, Uranus . 5430 Broad, unsymmetrical, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, 5570 * strong . Jupiter . Neptune, Uranus (?) . 5700* Broad, unsymmetrical, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn (?) 5980 strong .
Jupiter (?) . Strong . Neptune, Uranus . 6090 Neptune, Uranus . 6190 Very strong . Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, 6400 Broad (?) . Jupiter . Neptune, Uranus . 6500* Neptune, Uranus, Jupiter, 656o C hydrogen, Ha . Saturn (?) . Neptune, Uranus . 6670* Broad
See also:band .
[678oBright region due to ab- Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, upiter . Neptune, Uranus . 682o sence of selective ab- Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, sorption which is strong both above and below . Strong, narrow, near 7020 above B . Jupiter . Strong, broad . Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, [7140 Bright, unabsorbed region Jupiter . Neptune, Uranus . 7260 similar to that at 6780 . Saturn, Jupiter . Strongest band
See also:present . 7500 Band (?) .
Saturn . It was once supposed that the planets were surrounded by comparatively dense atmospheres . The question whether such spectra and is the case, and, if so, what is the
See also:physical constitu-Atmo- tion of the atmospheres, is a difficult one, on which
See also:spheres of little light is thrown except by the spectroscope. the Planets . If any of these bodies is surrounded by a transparent atmosphere like that of the earth, the light which reaches us from it will have passed twice through this atmosphere . If the latter were materially different in its constitution from that of the earth, that fact would be made known by the spectrum showing absorption lines or bands different from those found in the solar spectrum as we observe it . If, how-ever, the planetary atmosphere had the same composition as ours we should see only an intensification of the atmospheric lines, which might be imperceptible were the atmosphere rare . Actual observation has thus far shown no well marked deviation in the spectra of any of the inner
See also:group of planets, Mercury, Venus and Mars, from the solar spectrum as we see it . It follows that any atmospheres these planets may have must, if transparent, be rare . The evidence in the cases of Venus and Mars is given in the articles on these planets . Taking the outer group of planets, it is found that the spectrum of Jupiter shows one or more very faint shaded bands not found in that of the sun . In Saturn these bands become more marked, and in Uranus and Neptune many more are seen . The spectra in question have been observed both optically and photographically by several observers, among whom
See also:Huggins, Vogel and
See also:Lowell have been most successful .
It may be said, in a general way, that seven or eight well marked dark bands, as well as some fainter ones are observable in the spectra of the two outer planets . The general conclusion from this is that these planets are surrounded by deep and dense atmospheres, semi-transparent, of a constitution which is probably very different from that of the earth's atmosphere . But it has not, up to the present time, been found practicable to determine the chemical constitution of these appendages, except that hydrogen seems to be an important constituent . (See Plate.) Intimately associated with this subject is the question of the conditions necessary to the permanence of an atmosphere round a planet . Dr
See also:Johnstone Stoney investigated these stability of conditions, taking as the basis of his
See also:work the Planetary kinetic theory of gases (Trans .
See also:Roy . Dubl .
See also:Soc. vi . Atmo-305) . On this theory every molecule of a gaseous spheres. mass is completely disconnected from every other and is in rapid motion, its velocity, which may amount to one or more thousand feet per second, depending on the temperature and on the atomic
See also:weight of the
See also:gas . At any temperature the velocities of individual molecules may now and then increase without any well-defined limit . If at the boundary of an atmosphere the velocity should exceed a certain limit fixed by the mass and force of gravity of the planet, molecules might fly away through space as
See also:independent bodies .
See also:absence of hydrogen from the atmosphere of the earth, and of an atmosphere from the moon, may be thus explained . If the fundamental hypo-theses of Dr Stoney's investigations are correct and complete, it would follow that neither the satellites and minor planets of the solar system nor Mercury can have any atmosphere . If the
See also:separate molecules thus flying away moved according to the laws which would govern an ordinary body, they would, after leaving their respective planets, move round the sun in independent orbits . The possibility is thus suggested that the
See also:matter producing the zodiacal light may be ail agglomeration of gaseous molecules moving round the sun; but several questions respecting the intimate constitution of matter will have to be settled before any definite conclusions on this point can be reached . It is not to be assumed that a molecule would move through the
See also:ether without resistance as the minutest known body does, and there is probably a
See also:radical difference between the minutest particle of meteoric matter and the molecule of a gas . The relations of identity or difference between such finely-divided matter as
See also:smoke and atmospheric haze and a true gas have yet to be fully established, and until this is done a definite and satisfactory theory of the subject does not seem possible . Since the
See also:radiation of
See also:heat by a planet is, with our present
See also:instruments, scarcely capable of detection and measurement, the temperature of these bodies can be estimated Temperature only from general physical laws . The laws govern- of the
See also:ing the radiation of heat have been so
See also:developed Planets. during
See also:recent years that it is now possible to state at least the general principle on which a conclusion as to the temperature of a planet may be reached . At the same time our knowledge of the conditions which prevail on other planets is so limited, especially as regards their atmospheres, that only more or less probable estimates of the temperature of their surfaces can even now be made . Summarily stated, some of the physical principles are these: r . A neutrally coloured body—understanding by that term one which absorbs the same fraction of the thermal radiation falling upon it whatever the wave length of this radiation-exposed to the sun's radiation in void space tends to assume a definite temperature, called the normal temperature, the degree of which depends upon the distance of the body from the sun . This is a result of Kirchhoff's laws of radiation .
2 . An atmosphere surrounding such a body, if at
See also:rest, will tend to assume a state of thermal equilibrium, in which the temperature will be the same at all heights . 3 . If the atmosphere is kept in
See also:constant motion by an inter-change between its higher and
See also:lower portions, the tendency is towards adiabatic equilibrium, in which the temperature diminishes at a constant
See also:rate with the height, until it may approach the absolute zero . The rate of diminution depends upon the intensity of gravity and the physical constants of the gases composing the atmosphere . 4 . In the actual case of a planet surrounded by an atmosphere and exposed to the sun's radiation, the actual rate of diminution of temperature with height above the
See also:surface of the planet lies between the extreme limits just defined, the rate varying widely with the conditions . The general tendency will be towards a
See also:condition in which the temperature at the
See also:base of the atmosphere is higher than the normal, while in the upper regions it is lower . The temperature of the surface of the planet on which the atmosphere rests is determined partly by the sun's radiation and partly by the temperature of the air . What we should generally expect in the absence of any selective absorption by the air is that the temperature of the lower air would be higher every
See also:part of it is equally exposed to the suns rays by a rapid than that of the material surface on which it rests . But this ; revolution . As has already been intimated, the actual temperature condition might be reversed by the effect of such absorption may also depend upon the interior heat of the planet, which is an in either the air or the material of the planet. unknown quantity .
(S . N.) Planet . Mean Distance from Sun . Eccentricity g LonitudeLongitude Inclina-
See also:Period of Mean Daily MeanLon g-j of Orbit. of
See also:Pen- of
See also:Node. tion . Revolution . Motion. itude 1910, Astronomical Thousands Units. of
See also:Miles . helion . Jan. o . Mercury . 0.3870987 36,000 0.205614 75° 54' 47° 9' 7° 0' Days . 4°'0927 3° 32' 87.969256 ' Venus 0.7233315 i 67,269 0.006821 130° 10' 75° 47' 3° 24' 224.700798 10.6021 73° 53' Earth . . 1.0000000 92,998 0.016751 101 ° 13' - - 365.256360 0°.9856 99° 17' Mars .
. . 1.523688 141,701 0.093309 334° 13' 48° 47' 1° 51' 686.979702 00.52403 47° 39' Jupiter . . 5.202804 483,853 0.048254 12° 36' 99° 37' I° 19' 4332'5879 0°•083091 181° 43' Saturn 9.538844 887,098 0.056061 90° 49' 113°3' 2° 30' 10759.2010 0°.033460 28° 56' Uranus . . 19.19096 1,784,732 0.047044 169° 3' 73° 29' o° 46' 30586.29 00.011770 286° 42' Neptune 30.07067 2,796,528 0.008533 43° 45' 130° 41' 1° 47' 60187.65 0°'006020 107° 1' Planet . Angular Semidiameter . AtDiameter Reciprocal of
See also:Density . Gravity at Orbital Normal Mass . Surface . Velocity . Temperature .
See also:Equatorial . Polar .
Dist. in Miles . (Q's mass =1) (
See also:water =1) (®- ,) (®=1) Milespersec . Centigrade . Mercury 3.30" 3.30" I 2,976 10,000,000 3.5 .633 0.24 29.76 195° Venus . . 8.46" 8.46" I 7,629 408,000 5.05 •913 o•88o 21.77 70° Earth . . 8.79" 8.76" I 7,917 333,430 5.53 I.000 1.00 18.52 19° Mars 4'80" 4'76" I 4,316 3,093,500 3.68 •666 0.363 15.00 - 36° Jupiter 18.75" 17.65" 5.203 86,259 1,047.35 1.363 '247 2.68 8.12 -144° Saturn 8.75" 7.88" 9'539 72,772 3,500 0.678 •123 I.13 6•oo - 177° Uranus 1.90" 1'90" 19.19 32,879 22,869 1.13 .204 0.85 4.24 -205° ~ LNeptune 1.1o" I.10" 30'07 29,827 19,314 1.79 •322 1.22 3.40 -218° ment . Something of this sort has been suspected in the case of Jupiter, which has several points of resemblance to the sun . The planets Uranus and Neptune which, but for their atmospheres, would approximate to the absolute zero in temperature, may be prevented from doing so by the dense atmosphere which the spectroscope shows around them . A very elaborate investigation of the probable mean temperatures of the surfaces of the several planets has been made by J . H . Poynting, Phil . Trans .
(vol . 202A, 1904) . Tables of Planetary Elements and Constants . Table I. gives the elements determining the motions of each major planet, and Table II. certainnumbers pertaining to its physical condition . For explanation of terms used see ORBIT . The elements are given for the epoch 1900, Jan. o,
See also:Greenwich mean time, except the mean longitudes, which are for 1910, Jan. o . In interpreting or using the numbers it must be remembered that only the mean distances and mean daily motions can be regarded as well determined and invariable quantities . The other elements are subject to a secular variation, and all vary more or less from the
See also:action of the planets . In Table II. the reciprocal of the mass is given, the mass of the sun being unity . Some of these and other quantities are extremely uncertain . This is especially the case with the mass of Mercury, which the astronomical tables put at 1/6,000,000 that of the sun, while G . W .
See also:Hill has computed from an estimate of the probable density of the planet that it is probably less than 1/11,000,000 . In the table we assume the round number 1/10,000,000 . The volumes are derived from micro-metric
See also:measures of the diameters, which are more or less uncertain . From these and the mass follows the density of each planet . From this again is derived the intensity of gravity at the surface; this is also frequently uncertain . Finally the normal temperature is that which a black or neutrally coloured body would assume when It would follow from these laws that the temperature of the superior planets diminishes rapidly with distance from the sun, and must therefore be far below that of the earth, unless they are surrounded by atmospheres of such height and density as to be practically opaque to the rays of heat, or unless they have no solid crust . The resemblance of the spectra of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn to that of the sun leads to the conclusion that the atmospheres of these planets are transparent down to the reflecting surface of the body .
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