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    why does the interior of a large planet take longer to cool than the interior of a smaller planet?

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    LPI Education and Public Engagement - Explore - Mars - Cooling Planets

    Cooling Planets

    Overview

    Cooling Planets is an optional 10 to 15 minute discussion in which older children, ages 10 to 13, discover, through inquiry-based dialogue, which planet is hotter on the interior — Mars or Earth! The children consider the effect of size (volume) on the cooling rate of objects and, based on extrapolations, interpret the cooling histories of the inner, rocky planets of our solar system.

    An alternative to this demonstration, more suitable for classroom-style settings, is to have children perform the experiment in small groups. They will collect data, graph the information, and interpret the results. This version of the activity can be found at Cooling Planets Experiment.

    What's the Point?

    All inner, rocky planets were very hot in the early stages of development; they have been cooling since that time.

    Smaller planets cool faster than larger planets because smaller planets have a larger surface area to volume ratio.

    The stage of cooling of a planet plays an important role in the geologic activity of that planet.

    Earth, a large planet, is hot and has active volcanos and plate tectonics at its surface. In its interior, motion in its liquid outer core generates a magnetic field. This magnetic field shields Earth's surface from the charged particles of the solar wind, protecting our atmosphere and surface.

    The Moon, a small satellite of Earth, has cooled completely and no longer has active volcanism or a magnetic field.

    Mars, intermediate in size between Earth and the Moon, has not cooled completely, and has few, possibly still active, volcanos.

    Materials

    For each child:

    One GSI Journal: Mars Inside and Out or one GSI Journal Part 2: Inside Mars

    One pencil

    For the Group:

    Two like objects of different sizes or volumes, such as 1/2 and 2 liter soda bottles or quart and 1/2 gallon milk containers. The containers need to be made of the same material and be the same shape. There needs to be at least a 50% difference in volume between the large and small container.

    Access to warm water

    For the Facilitator:

    Background information

    Preparation

    If you are using objects to aid in the discussion, place them in a central location that is clearly visible to all the children.

    Activity

    1. Ask the children to imagine the Earth and Mars when they were first becoming planets. Share with them that the solar system was a very messy place. Lots of big and small asteroids were flying around, smashing into planets. Sometimes these rocky asteroids "got stuck" to the planets, helping them to grow. When materials in space slam together to form a planet it is called accretion. Having lots of things run into a planet heats it up. Both Mars and Earth — and Mercury, the Moon, and Venus - were very hot when they first formed. All of these planets have been slowly cooling since they first formed.

    Have all the planets cooled the same amount — are they all the same temperature on the inside today?

    What might control how much a planet has cooled on the inside? Answers will vary, but may include what it is made of or its size. Some children may say "how close a planet is to the Sun will control its temperature; remind them that you are thinking about how warm the planet is on the inside, not the surface where the Sun shines.

    What evidence might a planetary scientist use to suggest that a planet is still warm? Answers will vary, but may include whether or not a planet has active volcanos.

    2. Invite the children to think as planetary scientists to determine how a planet's size affects the rate at which it cools after it forms. Share with the children the objects of different sizes and invite them to examine them.

    What is the same — or different — about them?

    Do the objects have different shapes? No

    Are they made of different materials? No

    Do they have different sizes? Yes

    If one of these represents the planet Earth and one is Mars, which is which? The larger one is Earth and the smaller one is Mars.

    3. Fill the containers with warm water to the same level relative to the size.

    Which container will cool fastest, the large container or the small container? The small container will cool fastest. Just like a small bowl of soup will cool faster than a big bowl of soup, or a small cupcake will cool faster than a big sheet cake.

    How might this experiment relate to how planets cool? Small ones cool faster than big ones.

    Which is smaller, Earth or Mars? Mars.

    Which would they expect to have cooled more since they formed, Earth or Mars? Mars, because it is smaller.

    4. Share the image of Earth, Mars, and the Moon with the children. The planets are to scale; their sizes are correct with respect to one another.

    Which has cooled the most? The Moon. The least? Earth. Why? Because the Moon is smaller than the others and small things cool faster than large things. The inside of the Moon has completely cooled.

    Is Mars completely cool on the inside? What evidence might we have that Mars is still a "little" warm? Mars, like Earth, has volcanos, although fewer of them. Volcanos show that a planet is still hot enough — or was recently — to melt rock that erupts at the surface and makes volcanos. Scientists are not sure if Mars' volcanos are active because they have never observed one actually erupting. Planetary scientists interpret that they could have erupted within the last 10 million to 100 million years, 10,000 to 100,000 years. Others claim longer, based on how broken down — weathered — the features look and how cratered their surfaces are.

    Source : www.lpi.usra.edu

    Why do planets have a core that is hot?

    Answer (1 of 6): Only some do still have a warm core. The main reason seems to be the origin. Think of loads of things smashing into proto planets as gravity pulled more and more dust together. Since a body emits heat by the surface it stands to reason that bigger planets stay warmer much longe...

    Why do planets have a core that is hot?

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    Sort Peter Nierop

    Done a bit of geology.Author has 5.3K answers and 7.2M answer views5y

    Only some do still have a warm core.

    The main reason seems to be the origin. Think of loads of things smashing into proto planets as gravity pulled more and more dust together.

    Since a body emits heat by the surface it stands to reason that bigger planets stay warmer much longer than smaller, just like a cannon ball takes much longer to cool than a tiny bullet.

    Besides there is gravitational sorting going on that kept lighter material more to the outside and heavier material, like radio active atoms closer to the Sun. Part of the Earths heat is caused by this radiation.

    And thanks to that we have

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    Gwydion Madawc Williams

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    Planets get very hot due to collisions. Then they gradually cool from the surface. The core takes longer. Earth is kept molten due to radioactive decay of thorium, radium and a slow-decaying isotope of potasium. True elsewhere, including probaby Pluto. Jupiter produces extra heat, due to gradual contraction. See Kelvin–Helmholtz mechanism - Wikipedia. Some planets have relatively cold cores. Believed true of Mars. Various moons have warm or hot interiors due to gravity flexing. This should not apply to planets, which would get tidally locked if close enough.…

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    First off; not all planets have a hot core. Earth is actually a pretty strange one. Our molten core is hot because it’s moving. Magnetism, a whole bunch of other forces, have turned our core into molten rock, that, is, because of its nature as molten rock, is hot. This is caused by several things. Pressure, mainly, and also the fact that the mantle of earth is, also, really hot. But planets like Mars, likely don’t have molten cores, and likely are not that hot. They’re likely as warm as the surface, maybe a little warmer.…

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    Planets need to have a significantly large amount of mass in order to be classified as a planet. The gravity of all this mass is concentrated in the center of the planet. This puts a very large amount a pressure and friction on the core of the planet, causing the heat.…

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    What causes the cores of planets to be hot?

    Ted Wrigley

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    If we think about the early solar system, before planets formed, what we imagine is a wide disk of atoms, molecules and small particles orbiting the sun in a great cloud. This cloud absorbed a comparatively huge portion of solar radiation: unlike the earth, which only absorbs the radiation from a tiny fraction of one degree of the arc of the sun, that early cloud absorbed the radiation the sun was sending out in all 360°. It was a hot, hot cloud. As these particles began collecting into larger chunks and small bodies, they retained much of that heat; as these bodies coalesced into objects with

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    If there are two identical planets in empty space, and one is extremely hot with an active core, and the other is near absolute zero with a dead core, will the hot planet have a stronger gravitational field due to energy density? Negligible or no?

    It’s unlikely you could get two otherwise identical planets with such different cores. It’s estimated that more than half of Earth’s internal heat is radiogenic rather than primordial. The elements producing radiogenic heat have half-lives in the billions of years. They can’t just go away, and in any case the extra mass-energy in the heat they release is just the same binding energy in the parent isotopes.

    Source : www.quora.com

    Planetary Science

    Magnetic Fields

    Chapter index in this window —   — Chapter index in separate window

    Video lecture for Geology sectionThis material (including images) is copyrighted!. See my copyright notice for fair use practices. Select the photographs to display the original source in another window.

    Some planets have a magnetic field that acts like there is a giant bar magnet in the center of a planet (there isn't really a giant bar magnet, though). The magnetic field can be aligned differently than the rotational axis. For example, the Earth's magnetic field is tilted by about 18° with respect to our rotation axis, so compasses point to a magnetic pole that is just off the coast of northern Canada.

    A planet's magnetic field forms a shield protecting the planet's surface from energetic, charged particles coming from the Sun and other places. The Sun is constantly sending out charged particles, called the solar wind, into the solar system. When solar wind particles run into a magnetic field, they are deflected and spiral around the magnetic field lines. Magnetic "field lines" are imaginary lines used to describe the direction charged or magnetic particles will move when responding to a magnetic field. In the same way, gravity "field lines" point to the center of an object producing the gravity. You can see the direction of an ordinary household magnet's field lines by sprinkling tiny iron filings around a magnetic---they will tend to bunch up along particular magnetic field lines.

    Most of the solar wind gets deflected around the planet but a few particles manage to leak into the magnetic field and become trapped in the planet's magnetic field to created radiation belts or "charged particle belts".

    Aurorae

    This nice picture is from Jan Curtis' Aurora Page. Select the link to see more of his aurora photography. I have images of aurorae too in the Beautiful Earth photo album.

    One glorious effect seen when the solar wind interacts with a planet's magnetic field is aurorae. Aurorae are shimmering light displays produced by molecules in the upper atmosphere. Fluctuations in the solar wind can give energy to the trapped charged particles in the belts. Particles with enough energy can leave the belts and spiral down to the atmosphere to collide with molecules and atoms in the thermosphere of a planet. These collisions excite the atmosphere molecules (bumping their electrons to higher energy levels). The electrons then release the excess energy as they hop downward back toward the atomic nuclei. The glow of the aurorae is the emission line spectra produced by the electrons in the rarefied gas dropping back down to lower atomic energy levels.

    Aurorae seen from the Space Shuttle courtesy of NASA. Notice the colors of the aurorae at different altitudes and the large gap between the aurorae and the surface. More aurorae from space are available at the Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth (choose "Aurora" for the Geographic Region)

    Aurorae in the Earth's atmosphere occur many tens of kilometers above the surface (in the thermosphere) and pose no threat to life on the surface below. They make some spectacular displays that look like shimmering curtains or spikes of different colors of light. The magenta colors are produced by nitrogen molecules at the lower end of the aurorae (up to 100 kilometers above the surface), between 100 and 200 kilometers above the surface excited oxygen atoms produce the green colors and ionized nitrogen atoms produce the blue colors, and greater than 200 kilometers above the surface oxygen atoms produce the deep red colors. In the northern hemisphere, the aurorae are called aurora borealis or "the northern lights" and in the southern hemisphere, they are called aurora australis or "the southern lights." Occasionally the aurorae seem to erupt with a burst of activity of multi-color shimmering of reds, whites, and purples. This happens when stressed or flexing magnetic field lines about a third of the way to the Moon squeeze together and reconnect. That sends a massive burst toward the Earth that hits the upper atmosphere to make the aurora eruption. The Goddard Space Flight Center's "Why Auroras Erupt" page shows a nice animation of this.

    For further information (and photos!), explore these sites (all will appear in another window):

    The astronomy department at Rice University (Houston, TX) has a more indepth website on the interaction of the Earth's magnetic field with the solar wind called Space Weather.

    The IMAGE web site discusses NASA's mission dedicated to imaging the Earth's magnetosphere.

    The Aurora: Forecasts and Information website from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks is another nice site with video, images, and information about aurorae for younger and older audiences.

    Geophysical Institute and Poker Flat Research Range Optics gives near-real time display of what's happening in the sky over Poker Flat Research Range.

    Space Weather Prediction Center site of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gives current images of the Sun, auroral oval images at each pole from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (NOAA POES), current solar wind measurements, and a lot more (updated every few minutes).

    Source : www.astronomynotes.com

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