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The solar system


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  • 1. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO 1.- INITIAL ACTIVITIES What do you know? 1.- How many planets does the Solar System have? 2.- What is the Sun? 3.- The Moon is a: a. satellite b. planet c. star 4.- How long does it take Earth to orbit the sun? 5.- Do you know what the name of our galaxy is? 2.- READING Can you read this text? THE UNIVERSE. The Universe is formed by galaxies, stars, planets and nebulae. • Galaxies are large groups of stars. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way and it is a spiral galaxy. The Milky Way has about 200 billion stars and the Earth is located on one arm of de the spiral. • Stars are big balls of hydrogen and helium gas. • Nebulae are composed of clouds of gas and dust. 1
  • 2. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO THE SOLAR SYSTEM. Our solar system formed around our star (the Sun) about 4.6 billion years ago. There are eight planets, 146 moons, numerous asteroids, comets, dwarf planets (such as Pluto, Ceres and Eris) and other smaller bodies. These celestial bodies revolve around the sun. The four planets closest to the Sun (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars) have solid, rocky surfaces. The four outer planets consist of two gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn) and two ice giants (Uranus and Neptune). THE SUN The Sun is a star at the centre of the Solar System. The surface of the Sun is 5500ºC and its core is 15,6 million ºC. The Sun is so large, you could fit over one million Earths inside it. In 15 minutes our Sun radiates as much energy as mankind consumes in all forms during an entire year. The Sun has been given many names over the course of history. The Greeks named it “HELIOS” and the Romans referred to the Sun as “SOL”. PLANETS What is a planet? The International Astronomical Union (IAU) says that the definition for a planet is now officially known as a celestial body that: • is in orbit around the Sun • has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape • has cleared the area around its orbit 2
  • 3. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO A "dwarf planet" is a celestial body that: • is in orbit around the Sun • has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape • has not cleared the area around its orbit • is not a satellite There is 8 planets and 3 dwarf planets. MERCURY Mercury is the planet nearest to the Sun and the second smallest in the Solar System. 1 Mercurian year is 88 Earth days. It has the widest temperature range of any planet in the System Solar, from a chilly –173ºC at night to a sizzling 350ºC during the day. The Romans named Mercury after their “messenger of the gods” because the planet crossed the night sky so quickly. The Greeks referred to Mercury as “Apollo” when it appeared in the morning sky and “Hermes” when they spotted it in the evening. VENUS The second planet fron the Sun and the Earth´s nearest planetary neighbour. 1 Venusian year is 225 Earth days. It has the longest day on any planet and is the only planet where the Sun rises in the west an sets in the east. Besides the Sun and the Moon, Venus is the brightest object in the sky. The whole planet is surrounded by a thick blanket of clouds. Venus was named after the Roman goddess of beauty. In keeping with this theme, virtually all the features on the planet are given female names. EARTH The third planet from the Sun, placed between Venus and Mars. It´s the only planet in the Solar System where life has been confirmed. The planet is the correct distance from the Sun for water to exist as a liquid, a vital ingredient for life. It has one moon called Moon. The Earth is the only planet whose name doesn´t derive from Greek or Roman mythology. “Earth” is derived from Old English. The Romans however, referred to the planet as Terra. MARS The fourth planet from the Sun, just past Earth. Often called the “Red Planet”, due to its vivid colour. Mars has two moons and has the largest volcano in the Solar System: 17 miles high and 435 miles across. 3
  • 4. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO It´s usually claimed that Mars was named after the Roman god of war because of its angry red colour. JUPITER The fifth planet from the Sun and the biggest in the Solar System. It´s larger than all the other eight planet put together. Jupiter is one of the four “gas giant” planets. It is composed almost entirely of gas. The Great Red Spot is the largest thunderstorm in the Solar System. It has 63 moons. Four of Jupiter's moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto) are easily visible with binoculars. When Galileo discovered these moons in 1610, they provided the first evidence that not all heavenly bodies revolved around the Earth. The Romans named the planet Jupiter after their king of the gods (a fortunate coincidence since they couldn't possibly have known that Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System). The Greeks referred to the planet as Zeus, who was the king in their mythology. SATURN The second largest planet in the Solar System. Saturn has the most spectacular ring system of any planet in the Solar System. These rings are made up of billions of separate chunks. They range from microscopic particles to rocks that are a few metres in diameter. It has 60 moons and it is a “gas giant” planet, like its larger neighbour. In Roman mythology, Saturn was the god of agriculture, and was the father of Jupiter. The Greeks referred to the planet as 'Cronus' URANUS The third largest planet in the Solar System, and the seventh planet from the Sun. It´s the only planet to spin on its side. It has 27 moons. The atmosphere has methane that absorbs the red light fron the Sun´s rays, giving the planet its distinct blue colour. Uranus was not known in the ancient world. It was the first planet to be discovered with the aid of a telescope. When Wilhelm Herschel spotted it in 1781, he named it "the Georgium Sidus" (the Georgian Planet). It was later given the name Uranus (the Greek god of the heavens), to continue the tradition of naming planets after Classical gods. NEPTUNE The fourth largest planet in the Solar System, and the furthest from the sun. The gases in Neptune's atmosphere give it a unique deep blue hue. No one knows the identity of the light-absorbing chemical that creates its deep blue skies. It has 13 moons. 4
  • 5. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO Neptune has the wildest weather of any planet in the Solar System, with winds of up to 2,000 km per hour and it has the honour of being the first planet to be discovered on paper before it was actually seen. Neptune's gravitational field affects the orbit of Uranus. Therefore, its existence was deduced using Newton's laws of motion. Then it was spotted by Johann Gottfried Galle in September 1846. Neptune was named after the Roman god of the sea. ASTEROIDS Asteroids are lumps of rocky debris that float around in the Solar System. Most are found in the main asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars. Asteroids range in size from tiny dust particles to huge worlds nearly 1,000 km (600 miles) across. Thousands of asteroids swarm across the 20 million miles of space between the planets Mars and Jupiter. This 'asteroid belt' marks the junction between the inner and outer Solar System and houses 90 - 95% of all asteroids. The first asteroid was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801. The Italian astronomer named it 'Ceres', after the Sicilian goddess of grain. Its size relative to the other asteroids has led its inclusion in a new category - the dwarf planets. There are two other dwarf planets, Pluto and Eris. COMETS Icy chunks of water and dust that originate in the outer Solar System. When they come near the Sun they vapourise, developing a bright tail. Comets originate from two regions, the Kuiper Belt (it extends from Neptune to out past Pluto) and the Oort cloud (a spherical shell that surrounds the Solar System. It contains an estimated 10 trillion comets). Comets leave other evidence of their existence however. Whenever the Earth passes through the tail of a comet, shooting stars dart across the sky. These are known as 'meteor showers'. For example, the Perseid showers, which appear over our skies in August, are caused by the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet. The most famous of all the comets is named after the astronomer Edmund Halley, who predicted the comet's visit in 1758. Halley's comet orbits roughly once every 76 years (next visible from Earth 2061). Comets also can contain amino acids, one of the building blocks of life. Because of this some scientists think that colliding comets may have brought the first ingredients of life to Earth. In ancient times, a comet in the night sky signified that disaster was coming. Even the word 'disaster' is derived from the Latin astre meaning 'star'. 5
  • 6. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO ACTIVITIES. 1.- In pairs, guess the meaning of the words you don´t understand. 2.- Write the correct translation in your own language next to the words in English. Asteroid Belt Celestial bodies Comet Dwarf planet Galaxy Ice Milky Way Moons Nebula Orbit Planet Satellite Sky Star 3.- Listen and repeat those words. 4.- Build your own vocabulary bank. 5.- In pairs, practise saying these words. 6.- Read the text again. Write T for True or F for False and correct the mistakes. a. Earth has two satellites. b. The Solar System is about five thousands years old. c. Galaxies are large groups of planets. d. Pluto is a meteorite. e. Uranus was the first planet to be discovered on paper. f. Our planet is called Venus. g. The Sun is very cold. h. All planets have their own satellites i. The number of planets in our Solar System is 9. j. The Solar System only has planets and satellites. 6
  • 7. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO 7.- Match the words on the left with the definitions on the right. SUN A body that revolves around a planet. Asteroids are lumps of rocky debris that float CONSTELLATION around in the Solar System. ASTEROID The biggest planet in the solar system PLANET Dwarf planet ORBIT It´s a star The curved path in which a planet, satellite, or MOON spacecraft revolves about another body. Groups of stars named after animals, objects, or SATELLITE mythological characters. A large, nonluminous celestial body. that revolves METEORIT around a star. JUPITER Earth´s natural satellite A mass of stone or metal falling to earth from outer PLUTO space. 8.- Plot a course from the Earth to the Moon 7
  • 8. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO 9.- Search for information on the Internet and build fact files like this for all the planets of the Solar System: MERCURY SIZE Diameter 3033 miles MASS 3.3 1023 kg DISTANCE FROM SUN 57.91 million km ATMOSPHERE Negligible atmosphere MOONS/SATELLITES NUMBER None TEMPERATURE 800.6 ºF day / - 279.4 ºF night ORBITAL PERIOD 88 Earth days DISTANCE FROM EARTH Max: 221,9 million km / Min: 77,3 million km LENGTH OF DAY 59 Earth days 10.- The imperial system is a system of units. The system came into official use across the British Empire. By the late 20th century all nations of the former empire had officially adopted the metric system as their main systeme of measurement. Translate the imperial units to the metric system using the next conversion in all fact files: • 1 mile = 1609 metres • 1 ºF = 1.8 ºC + 32 • 1 pound (lb) = 0.454 kilogram 11.- What´s the difference between american and european billion? 12.- Choose any planet. In pairs, ask and answer the questions below. Try to guess what the planet is. a. How many Moons does it have? 8
  • 9. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO b. How far is it from the Sun? c. Is it colder or hotter than Earth? d. How long is a day on your planet compared to Earth? e. How long is a year on your planet compared to Earth? f. What makes up the atmosphere? 13.- The table below contains words that have been split in half. Find the pieces that fit together and write them in the answer area below. conste co llation Gal or gy mete Gen orite mede nomers Mer cury teles pla Gany axy mo enr hydro net aste sate astro cope llite on Bit Answers: 14.- Unscramble the words by placing the correct letter in the shaded boxes. Use the numbered boxes to complete the answer to the riddle. RIDDLE: How many minutes does it take light from the Sun to reach Earth? ERADOITS LXAAGY ARTSS 9
  • 10. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 3 1 2 10
  • 11. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO ETMIREOTE _ PJIUERT _ _ ROTUFH _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 4 11
  • 12. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO EALNPT _ RBTOI _ MONO _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 5 ANSWER: _ _ _ _ _ 1 2 3 4 5 Planet For Sale! 15.- Do you want to play hangman or any other funny activities? Have fun visiting this page: 12
  • 13. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO 16.- Find the eight Solar System´s planets. N S T E L L A T I O N A V X N S U N A R U I O L P Y Q R F E B Q G L R G K Y U O H Q K Y S A D D A L V H K C I A Q N J P T H V T M O C U B S O Z K U I A T E R U Q A L A C E A G P L T R A T C N E P T U N E O I C A A P D P C U D I N E Q Y T E I E L D K R T T Y R T F N E B I J D H N E H R L P I S X R W P S R A M A U S X L L A R R W D O J O O C K Q Z E L T J W G L E C H R R P G G V E U M J U I N I E G G E N I T T R J E L R W M M T K J T Y S U N E V W 17.- In pairs, choose a planet and write a brief story about it. . WEB LINKS For online information about the planets, Solar System, quiz and games. • • • • • • 13
  • 14. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO SPACE VOCABULARY LIST AND DEFINITIONS. A system of billions of stars and other matter held relatively close to GALAXY each other by gravity and separated from other such systems by vast distances. Any of thousands of celestial bodies with diameters between one ASTEROID and five hundred miles that revolve around the sun in orbits located mostly between those of Jupiter and Mars. METEORITE A mass of stone or metal falling to earth from outer space. MOON Any planet's natural satellite. The curved path in which a planet, satellite, or spacecraft revolves ORBIT about another body. A large, nonluminous celestial body. that revolves around a star and PLANET often has one or more satellites. SATELLITE A heavenly body that revolves around a planet or other larger body. A heavenly body orbiting the sun, and having a nucleus surrounded COMET by a nebulous sheath that may form an elongated tail when the body comes close to the sun. Any of eighty-eight groupings or patterns of stars named after CONSTELLATION animals, objects, or mythological characters they are thought to resemble. Some of these texts and activities are based on: • The Web Portal For Educators. • Natural Sciencies for ESO 1&2 (Oxford University Press). • Natural Science 1 (PEARSON. Longman) • 14
  • 15. Unit 6 EARTH, SUN AND MOON 1º ESO © Manuel Blanco 2009-2010 15