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Objects in the inner solar system - the planets and asteroid belt

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Objects in the inner solar system - the planets and asteroid belt  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2018, 08:44
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Objects in the inner solar system - the planets and asteroid belt - follow ellipsoid orbits that are predictable in nature. While they may shift over billions of years, on a million-year timescale these objects are relatively easy to model. In contrast, scientists have long debated why small objects beyond Neptune and Pluto tend to have orbits that are circular in nature and irregular on the million year timescale. Most theorized that there must be an elusive “ninth planet” beyond Neptune that had enough mass to deform the orbits of smaller objects in close proximity. However, as telescope technology has increased in complexity, there has been no sign of an additional planet of sufficient size to meet this requirement.

To investigate the cause of these irregularities and find an alternate explanation, Madigan et al. used computer simulations to model the way different objects in the outer solar system moved around the sun. They saw that within the simulation the smaller objects move more quickly than do larger ones. This allowed them to notice a peculiar phenomenon. As the objects move around the sun, pile ups of objects in orbits close to one another occur as smaller objects catch up to bigger ones, causing a gravitational “jostling” effect. This effect causes the usually ellipsoid orbits to deform into the circular ones that scientists have tried to explain for so long. It also leads to the temporary creation of a bigger object that moves more slowly and moves further away from the sun. As the conglomeration breaks up, the now-smaller objects begin to move more quickly are pulled closer to the sun, creating the hypothesized irregularities in the objects’ orbits.
1) Which of the following best describes the structure of this passage?
A) A scientific norm is explained and an interpretation of that norm is presented and then rejected.
B) Two theories about a scientific observation are presented and one is rejected as impractical.
C) Two methods for predicting a scientific phenomenon are presented and one is deemed more suitable.
D) A former scientific theory is presented and then rejected before an alternative theory is revealed and confirmed.
E) A scientific problem is introduced, a potential answer is discarded, and an alternative explanation is posed.


2) It can be inferred that a large planet as described in paragraph 1 would
A) move more quickly around the sun than would smaller planetoids.
B) move more slowly around the sun than would smaller planetoids.
C) orbit closer to the sun than would smaller planetoids.
D) explain all deviations in other objects’ orbits.
E) suggest an explanation for gravitational jostling.


3) Within the context of the second paragraph, why is it important that large objects move around the sun more slowly than do smaller ones?
A) If there was no difference in the speed at which the objects move, jostling may not occur.
B) Relative speeds directly cause changes in the orbits of objects in the outer solar system.
C) The fact that larger objects move so slowly definitively proves that an additional planet beyond Neptune cannot exist.
D) The differences in speed directly explain the irregularities in the distance between objects in the outer solar system and the sun.
E) Larger objects have more inertia and could distort other objects’ orbits more if they moved more quickly.



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Re: Objects in the inner solar system - the planets and asteroid belt  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2018, 09:17
Large planets are mentioned in Paragraph 2 whereas Q2 states Paragraph 1.
Am I missing something for Q2 ?
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Re: Objects in the inner solar system - the planets and asteroid belt  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2018, 09:30
TaN1213 wrote:
Large planets are mentioned in Paragraph 2 whereas Q2 states Paragraph 1.
Am I missing something for Q2 ?


Hi
Large planets can be referred to ''Most theorized that there must be an elusive “ninth planet” beyond Neptune that had enough mass to deform the orbits of smaller objects in close proximity.'' in 1st paragraph.
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Re: Objects in the inner solar system - the planets and asteroid belt  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Sep 2018, 10:50
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for Q3
Whenever you are asked to interpret the significance of a single sentence or idea within the context of a larger paragraph, remember that you should first look at that sentence or idea by itself before you look at it in context. This question asks why it's important that large objects move more slowly than do smaller ones. In the second paragraph, you are told that "pile ups" of different sizes of objects occur as small objects catch up to larger ones within the same orbit. It's these pile ups that cause the gravitational jostling effect that in turn leads to the circular shape of the orbits. So without the difference in speed, the small objects wouldn't catch up, so the jostling wouldn't occur. This matches answer choice (A).

Among the other answers, (B) and (E) can be eliminated because (even if they are true) there is no evidence in the context of the paragraph. Choice (C) can be eliminated because the jostling effect means that the effect the planet was thought responsible for occurs without the planet, and choice (D) can be eliminated because the speed itself doesn't account for the changes - the jostling caused by the speed accounts for the changes.
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Re: Objects in the inner solar system - the planets and asteroid belt &nbs [#permalink] 15 Sep 2018, 10:50
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