Questions tagged [planetary-science]

The multi-disciplinary study of the geomorphology, geology, chemistry, meteorology, oceanography, hydrology, astronomy and astrophysics of the planets and other objects within the solar system.

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13
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2answers
2k views

Earth's ocean basins

Was Earth's sea-floor always carved with the numerous geological features that we see today, or was it at some point flat and boring as Mars is today?
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Similarity of seasons on Neptune and Earth [closed]

We all have basic ideas about planets and their seasons..But my question is that why do NEPTUNE and EARTH have similar seasons although their compositions are completely different..On earth Nitrogen ...
32
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1answer
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What factors determine the number of Hadley cells for a planet?

We know (think?) that Earth has three Hadley cells per hemisphere, but from observing gas giants such as Jupiter, we see that they have many more cells. According to a link from a comment in this ...
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157 views

Wasn't Earth a magma ocean before core-mantle differentiation?

I've always thought that the process of planetary accretion was energetic enough to keep the proto-Earth entirely molten, and the subsequent evolution of the planet (the formation of the crust, etc...)...
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1answer
60 views

Cooling the Indian subcontinent using Tibetan Plateau

Apologies if this question may not be up to mark for this stack. I initially asked this on the world building stack but with the lack of replies, I thought I might try my luck here. The main premise ...
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When will the Earth lose its magnetic field?

Mars lost its magnetic field 4.5 billion years ago according to this article: Mars lost its global magnetic field during the time of this heightened activity. After 500 million years, the Martian ...
7
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1answer
93 views

Was Earth completely covered in Oceans prior to the onset of plate tectonics?

Following recent develoments in geophysics (Schmidt et al. (2014), and a popular summary), we now know there to be a significant reservoir of water in the mantle-transition of planet Earth, now often ...
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1answer
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Plain-language summary of why Uranus and Neptune are different than Earth in having large offsets of their dipole field?

This answer to Why is the magnetic axis of Uranus and Neptune off center? in Astronomy SE perplexes me, partly because I can't understand the block quotes and partly because they constrast those ...
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1answer
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Climate on Venus after it becomes tidally locked

Suppose, Venus becomes tidally locked. Will its dark side cool enough so that the CO2 from atmosphere to precipitate in liquid form to make an ocean?
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126 views

How much does the biosphere contribute to Earth's entropy production?

Papers like 1, 2, etc. and the work of Axel Kleidon (e.g. 3) suggest that the the biosphere increases the production of entropy of Earth but I'd like to know if we could quantify this in a simple way. ...
5
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1answer
70 views

Calculating Love numbers (tidal deformation) for non-homogeneous planets

I have a question about planetology. I'm not sure if it belongs here, but the astronomy stack exchange seemed a bit odd, too. I would like to enhance my understanding of Love numbers. Love numbers ...
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5answers
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Is Earth an organism?

According to Wikipedia, "all known types of organism are capable of some degree of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development and self-regulation via homeostasis." Further, watching a ...
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Will the Earth ever stop rotating?

It is well known that the Earth's rotation is slowing down and that millions of years ago there was a point in time where there was only a mere 20 hours in a day on Earth. My question is in two parts....
16
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1answer
410 views

How much silicon is in the Earth's core, and how did it get there?

With some informal conversation with a peer of mine, he had suggested that there is evidence (which he couldn't find,but had remembered reading) that there was Silicon in the Earth's core. I referred ...
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2answers
149 views

What effect does climate change have on the Earth's rotation?

I recently read a blog entry from a leap-second expert explaining that in near term (i.e. last 3 years) the Earth has been spinning ever so slightly faster, delaying the need to insert a leap-second (...
6
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2answers
355 views

Why is the mass of atmosphere of Venus so much greater than that of the Earth?

Earth and Venus have a very similar gravity, but the mass of atmosphere on Venus is much greater (according to this wikipedia article 93 times larger). I know that the chemical composition and ...
3
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1answer
144 views

How do subsurface oceans form under a rocky crust?

New data about Ceres has just been released. Raymond et al. (2020) show the existence of gravity anomalies interpreted as low density pockets of brine under the crust. They show how impacts can ...
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4answers
343 views

Do we know anything about the nature of Earth's core that hasn't come from magnetic or seismic measurements?

There is much known about Earth's core from painstaking analysis of seismic data, and from detailed magnetic field maps and trends over time. Are there any other measurements that have contributed to ...
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2answers
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Does anyone know a book/article/research that talks about forest fire prevention?

In my college we have to start our thesis in the third semester, so I'm going to do a research about forest fire and its prevention. However, I'm struggling to find a article that talks about that ...
4
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1answer
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What time and date is the sun directly overhead a given place on Earth?

In different regions, the sun is directly overhead at different times of the year. When do these event happen?
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2answers
198 views

Mechanism for Pluto's young surface

According to recent reports (e.g. in Nature), Pluto is geologically active. It has some mechanism by which it has "recycled" its surface. I originally thought we had a similar case to Jupiter's moon ...
3
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2answers
166 views

Now Mars is pulsing 3 times per night in the UV, can anyone explain these waves in simple terms? Do these waves happen on Earth?

I link below to questions on another kind of Mars pulse) Phys.org's NASA's Maven observes Martian night sky pulsing in ultraviolet light links to the new paper Imaging of Martian Circulation Patterns ...
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1answer
281 views

How do you stop the Australian wildfires?

The Australian fires are the biggest anyone has ever seen and is increasing at a rapid rate causing smog all around the country, approximately 1 billion animals have lost their lives, as of 9 January ...
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0answers
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How could the solar wind cause strange magnetic pulses on Mars at midnight?

24-Feb-2020 NASA News item A Year of Surprising Science From NASA's InSight Mars Mission says: A new understanding of Mars is beginning to emerge, thanks to the first year of NASA's InSight lander ...
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1answer
126 views

Why does the Earth's crust have more aluminum than magnesium while the Sun has more magnesium than aluminum?

Magnesium represents 0.07 % of the composition of the Sun's photosphere while aluminum represents 0.006 %. Therefore, there is much more magnesium than aluminum in the Sun's photosphere. But the same ...
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1answer
532 views

Diamond at the core of Jupiter

Arthur C. Clarke, who correctly guessed there would be liquid water on Europa, posited a diamond core for Jupiter. Is this possible?
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335 views

Geo-Spherical shape of Earth

I know that the best possible approximation of the shape of earth is an oblate sphere. But people also call it as geo-spherical shape of the Earth. What is the meaning of geospherical shape? Does this ...
4
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1answer
185 views

where are the poles of rotation of the tectonic plates located?

Euler's "fixed point" theorem ... can be stated as: The most general displacement of a rigid body over the surface of a sphere can be regarded as a rotation about a suitable axis which passes ...
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2answers
518 views

Are old geophysics textbooks useful?

I have had much success with old textbooks in mathematics. Generally, for any branch of mathematics that I (as a non-mathematician) would like to learn or re-learn, I can buy a classic textbook from ...
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Earth-like conditions on Titan: is it feasible that Titan once had seas and lakes of liquid water?

Given that: 1) Four billion years ago Saturn was hotter and radiated strongly in the infra-red. . . . . . . . . . 2) Like Earth's moon, Titan was then closer to its planet. . . . . . . . . . 3) Like ...
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1answer
53 views

How do they get "deep lunar mantle" samples?

Phys.org's Study suggests Earth and Moon not identical oxygen twins says They found that the oxygen isotopic composition varied depending on the type of rock tested. This may be due to the degree of ...
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1answer
115 views

Why is Venus so cracked?

Wired.com's Space Photos of the Week: Perfectly Safe Celestial Coronas includes radar images of the surface of Venus taken from spacecraft in orbit around it. One of them shown below. What causes ...
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0answers
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How long for tectonic plates to develop from a planetary, molten planetary surface?

On Earth or an Earth-like planet, how long does it take for a molten surface to solidify into planetary crust, and how long does it take for that crust to develop into tectonic plates?
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3answers
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Is there any evidence for higher air pressures in the geological past?

I was curious about how the Earth's overall air pressure has varied over time, and tried to take a look around the internet. However, Google pops up a lot of sites with questionable science proposing ...
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0answers
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Mars' strange magnetic pulses at midnight; besides the solar wind what are other possible causes?

24-Feb-2020 NASA News item A Year of Surprising Science From NASA's InSight Mars Mission says: A new understanding of Mars is beginning to emerge, thanks to the first year of NASA's InSight lander ...
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2answers
129 views

Centripetal Force Perfect Ball and Water

I made a question in WolrdBuilding as I was directed to. There a user said that with a perfect ball all water would pool to the equator because of centripetal force. What I do not understand is how ...
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3answers
611 views

How bad is geo-engineering?

It is just curiosity that forced me to ask this question. At some point in time, if we can't control global $\sf{CO_2}$ emissions, temperature will increase until a tipping point and it will be a ...
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2answers
208 views

Will Venus eventually overheat? When it happens, what will happen to it exactly?

Venus is a runaway greenhouse planet, so it won't let any of the heat absorbed from the Sun out by radiation, yet it will still take rays of energy from the Sun. So what will happen to Venus? Will it ...
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2answers
100 views

Which markers could suggest that there was extinct or extant life on Mars?

Researchers who are involved in study of life on Mars are saying that there might be multicellular life present on Mars, today or in the past. Which traces, markers or environments on Mars could ...
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1answer
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What is the fastest the Earth has ever spun?

How fast can the Earth rotate and support life? In prehistoric times, dinosaurs were so massive that archeologists wonder how they were not crushed under their own weight. Could a faster spinning ...
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1answer
132 views

Effects of Centrifugal Force on Gravity Vectors?

I've been asked this question twice now from our favourite science denying community, and I don't know how to parse it. I can do centrifugal force and gravity given mass, but have never tried to even ...
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2answers
1k views

Is there a time difference between two points at the same longitude but at different latitudes?

Assume we have two cities A and B both at the same longitude (say $45^{0}$ E) but at different latitudes say $8^{0}$N and $90^{0}$ N. Can we get a time difference between these two cities. I raised ...
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5answers
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How and why did the oceans form on Earth but not on other planets?

Earth is the only planet in our solar system that has copious amounts of water on it. Where did this water come from and why is there so much water on Earth compared to every other planet in the ...
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2answers
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Time standard for IERS Bulletin A

IERS Bulletin A and Bulletin B contains Earth orientation parameters. These include the time difference between UT1 and UTC and pole position. The values for these parameters are listed once per day, ...
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1answer
48 views

Possible and probable source of Curiosity Rover's $\small\sf{CH_4}$ detection on Mars

Past week, NASA announced Curiosity Rover measured 21 ppbv of $\small\sf{CH_4}$ on Mars. This week, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover found a surprising result: the largest amount of methane ever ...
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2answers
818 views

Why do some planets have lots of $\mathrm{N_2}$ and others none?

Earth, Titan and Venus all have large amounts of $\mathrm{N_2}$ in their atmospheres. (In the case of Venus it's a small proportion, but Venus' atmosphere is very thick, and the total mass of $\mathrm{...
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2answers
441 views

To what accuracy and precision do we know the volume of the Earth?

Satellites such as GOCE and GRACE measure the geoid with unprecedented accuracy. Altimeters can determine local surface elevation with millimetre-precision. This makes me wonder: to what precision ...
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1answer
389 views

What are Ordovican trace fossils, and what do they look like?

There are some unusual structures in recent images from the Mars Curiosity Rover's MAHLI (Mars Hand Lens Imager) shown in the Space.com article Curiosity Rover Spots Weird Tube-Like Structures on Mars....
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2answers
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Why is "at least a small tilt" between rotation and magnetic axis required by models of magnetic field formation?

I saw something I don't understand in the Gizmodo article Cassini's First Grand Finale Images Are Stunning—But What Are We Really Looking At?. In a quote of Caltech Professor of Planetary Science ...
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1answer
227 views

What would a planet's sky look like with different chemical compositions, such as low nitrogen, high methane etc?

What are the processes, chemicals and particles involved in creating colour in a planet's sky? Could you give some examples of sky colour processes different from what happens on Earth?