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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:51 pm 
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Just because they have not got the sun to hide behind and are therefore always visible after dark?

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:25 pm 
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Wildlover, yes, they do take longer than the inner planets and, of course, Earth, to revolve around the Sun. However, this is a consequence of their positioning further away from the Sun and does not define why we see them arcing a path through the sky over time.

EJ, you're definitely making progress with this one. However, it's not technically that the outer planets do not have the sun to "hide" behind that allows the outer planets to be seen the whole night. Remember that we still see Venus and Mercury in the dark, although for a much shorter time because they are closer to the Sun. You mentioned earlier that it is because the inner planets have shorter times to orbit around the sun. Which means, as Wildlover says, the outer planets take longer than Earth to revolve around the Sun.

I'm walking you all through this so that you get a better understanding of the final answer; i.e. I don't want to spoonfeed as that is not the way to learn properly. :wink: So, as a hint to the solution to my question, consider why Earth has a longer orbit than the inner planets and a shorter orbit than the outer planets; in other words, consider positioning. :gflower:

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:46 am 
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distance and orbit position? if the planet is further from the sun and the orbit is above our and above the suns center? Would it make a difference in how we see them and how they track around us?

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:41 pm 
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If I think I know what you're asking, Normana, then the answer would be yes. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:46 pm 
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If the answer is yes, then you do know what I am asking! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:56 pm 
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I think so. :wink: Could you ask it again in another way please?

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:01 pm 
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Not sure how to phrase it, but something to do with the axis of the orbit of the other more distant planets? Earth is on one plane in it's orbit, but other planets are on a "tilted" axis orbit, compared to ours?

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:03 pm 
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I can visualize it, just having a hard time putting it to words! old age setting in!

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:49 pm 
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Okay, now I get it, Normana. You're saying that the orbits of other planets tilt in a plane relative to Earth's. Actually, because it is believed that the planets were created from a huge swirling ball of nascent gas by spinning off into the void in large lumps (leaving the largest mass to begin "burning" as our current Sun), one finds that eight of the nine planets' orbits are pretty much in a similar 3-dimensional plane, known as the ecliptic. (The chief exception is Pluto, which follows an orbit inclined at more than 17 degrees to the ecliptic.) This is why we can, for example, see Venus and Mercury occasionally cross the Sun's disc - if we were too high or low above the ecliptic plane, the angle would prevent us seeing those planets move in front of the Sun.

To answer my question correctly, imagine where Earth is positioned relative to the outer planets, taking into account the ecliptic plane. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 12:09 am 
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Would it then be based on the speed of orbit and the speed at which earth rotates within that orbit that determines what you can see relative to each planets orbit speed and rotational speed? Am I making any sense or do I have you more confused than I have myself?

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:24 pm 
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Normana, the fact that the outer planets are seen to move, over months or years, against the background of stars along a great arc, does not depend on the speed of rotation of any of the planets upon their axes nor upon the speed of movement of a planet along its orbit. The latter does mean that planets further out move more slowly against the star canvas, but it doesn't explain why we see those planets all moving along that great arc in the first place; which is the question I'm asking.

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:11 am 
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OWN, you have my feeble mind perplexed and worn out.

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:22 am 
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Nope, don't believe it's worn out, or feeble, for that matter. :wink:

Just waiting to see if anyone else has the answer; surely there must be someone that knows!

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 8:24 am 
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onewithnature wrote:
Okay, here's an interesting Q:

Why do Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn move along a path that eventually forms a giant circle over the whole sky, while Mercury and Venus only rise to a limited extent above the horizon, always sinking back again over a few weeks?

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 Post subject: Re: BEGINNERS' STARGAZING QUIZ (QM)
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2012 5:54 pm 
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is it only because Venus and Mercury are closer to the sun?

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