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The Solar System 11th Grade Astronomy Mr. Gonzales
We will explore the following…- The Seasons of the Earth- Day and Night- You will even have a chance to go to Space School for an introductory to the Solar System and each planet.- The Inner Planets- The Outer Planets- Stars, Asteroids, Comets, and Meteors
Before we begin, you mustcomplete the following pre-test!
What are the Seasons of the Earth?- Fall- Spring- Winter- Summer
What causes the Earth to have seasons?The seasons of the Earth are caused by the following: - The revolution of Earth around the sun. - The tilt of Earth’s axis. - The intensity of sunlight on each region. - The angle of sunlight as it reaches Earth’s
Confused? Maybe this will help.• Watch this video or further your reading.• Perform this experiment at home. Almost any soft, round object can work.
What causes day and night?• Day and night are caused by the rotation of the Earth on its axis.• These links provide a more in depth explanation that may help.• Keep in mind, that one Earth rotation takes 24 hours.
Now, lets learn about each planet in our Solar System• As you follow the information links to the planets, please be sure to take note of the orbit, rotation, atmosphere, and natural satellites of each planet.• Let’s take a trip to Space School! Watch this video to get started.• Now lets move on!
What are the eight planets in our Solar System?• The planets are: – Mercury – Venus – Earth – Mars – Jupiter – Saturn – Uranus – Neptune » Follow each link to go to Space School, provided by Science.Discovery.com.
Having trouble remembering the order of the planets?• Just use this acronym: – My (Mercury) – Very (Venus) – Eager (Earth) – Mother (Mars) – Just (Jupiter) – Sent (Saturn) – Us (Uranus) – Nachos (Neptune) » If you wish, you can follow each link to the planet’s information slide. Continue to the next slide to learn about the Inner Planets.
So what are the four inner planets?• The four inner planets in order from the sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.• Each of the planets can be seen here.• The inner planets are relatively close to the sun, and all are very dense and rocky. Three of four of them have the atmosphere to produce weather.
What is Mercury like?• Mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system, and is closest to the sun.• Because of its proximity to the sun, temperatures can rise to as high as 806 degrees Fahrenheit!• Mercury has a gray cratered surface which resembles that of the moon.• Read here to find out all about Mercury.
Mercury is pretty cool. Here’s why…• One day on Mercury can be both 59 days long and 156 days long.• There may be ice on Mercury. Although it is a sun- baked planet, there are regions of the planet that have never been heated.• The European Space Agency is working on a mission to Mercury called BepiColumbo. 2 space probles will orbit the planet.• Read here for 14 things you never knew about Mercury!
What about Venus?• Venus is the second planet from the sun, and is known as the Morning star or Evening star.• The surface of Venus is covered by volcanoes. As many as 167 volcanoes cover the surface, each 100 kilometers across!• Venus has a yellow atmosphere full of carbon dioxide and clouds of sulfur dioxide.• Read more about Venus!
Venus is a crazy planet…• The surface of Venus is often described as quite hellish.• The thick clouds of Sulfur Dioxide produce the strongest greenhouse effect in the Solar System, making the surface of Venus hotter than that of Mercury.• Atmospheric pressure is 92 times that of Earth. Standing on the Surface of Venus would be like going a kilometer underneath the surface of the ocean!• Here are some interesting facts. You would enjoy to read more!
You think you know Earth?• Earth is the third planet from the sun.• Earth is the only planet in the solar system known to have life.• Million of species live on Earth, and 71% of the surface is covered by water.• Our atmosphere is composed of Nitrogen and Oxygen, and has a protective ozone layer to block out the Sun’s harmful rays. Read more to learn about your home planet.
Facts about planet Earth• Earth formed approximately 4.54 billion years ago, and life appeared on its surface within 1 billion years.• Earth is the densest and largest of the 8 planets in the solar system.• The planet is expected to support life for at least another 500 million years.• Here are some cool facts about your home planet Earth.
What about Mars?• Mars is the fourth planet from the sun.• Iron oxide on the surface of Mars give the planet its reddish appearance.• There are volcanoes, craters, deserts, and polar ice caps, all on the surface of Mars.• In 2008, the Phoenix lander directly sampled ice water from the surface. Read more about the famous red planet.
Crazy facts about Mars• Mars has about a third of Earth’s gravity, which means you could jump about 3 times as high on Mars compared to Earth.• Only 1/3 of missions to Mars have been successful. Scientists are led to believe that something strange is happening, like a Bermuda Triangle effect.• Mars has two moons, and one is going to crash into it. Read more!
What are the four outer planets?• Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are the four outer planets.• They can each be seen here.• The outer planets are separated from the inner planets by an asteroid belt.• Each of the outer planets is mainly composed of gas, and each has over a dozen moons.
What role does Jupiter play?• Jupiter is the fifth planet from the sun in the solar system, and is the first of the outer planets.• Jupiter is a gas giant and has two and half times the mass of all other planets combined.• Jupiter is composed of Hydrogen, and a quarter of its composition is helium.• Jupiter has a planetary ring system composed of dust. Read more here!
Lets learn more about Jupiter…• The Earth can fit inside of Jupiter more than 1000 times.• The giant red spot on Jupiter is called “The Eye of Jupiter” and is where a giant storm has been raging for at least 300 years.• Jupiter has 63 official moons and 12 unofficial moons.• It only takes 10 hours to go from day to night on Jupiter. Read more here about this bizarre planet!
What is Saturn like?• Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun, and is the second outer planet.• Saturn is also a gas giant, and is the second largest planet next to Jupiter.• It is assumed that Saturn has a similar internal structure to that of Jupiter, and is composed of Hydrogen and Helium.• Saturn is approximately 30% less dense than water. Read more about this gas giant!
Some interesting things about Saturn…• Saturn has around 60 moons.• Scientists suspect that there is life near Saturn. Ice geysers have been discovered on one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus.• Saturn spins so quickly on its axis that the planet flattens itself out. Ready more about this craziness!
Which planet is next?• Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun, and is the third of the outer planets.• Uranus is considered an ice giant.• Uranus is made of various ices, such as water, ammonia, and methane, and has an atmosphere of Hydrogen and Helium.• Uranus also has a ring system, and numerous moons. Read more about this interesting planet!
Fun facts about Uranus• Uranus is the coldest planet in the Solar System.• Uranus is turned over on its side as it rotates, almost like a ball rolling on its side.• Summer lasts for 42 years on Uranus.• Uranus has only been visited once. Read more and see why!
What is the furthest from the sun?• Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun, and is the furthest.• Neptune’s is a ball of ice and gas, and is also considered an ice giant.• Neptune’s atmosphere is composed of Hydrogen and Helium (similar to Jupiter and Saturn).• Neptune’s climate is characterized by extreme storms, with winds up to 600 miles per second. Read more about this intense weather!
A few crazy things about Uranus• Hurricanes on Uranus have winds of up to 2000 km/per hour.• Neptune’s moon Triton is even colder, at 235 degrees Celsius.• Unfortunately, as of now, there are no plans to visit Neptune again. Read more about why NASA has made this decision.
You may have learned when you were a child that Pluto is a planet…But Pluto is not considered a planet anymore. It turns out that there are countless celestial objects in orbit with Pluto that are the same size. Pluto is not a dominant gravitational body in the Solar System. Because of this, it is a Dwarf Plant. You can learn more about this recent change here.
As you gaze into the night sky, what celestial objects do you see? Lets take a moment to learn about the stars, asteroids, and comets.
What is a star?• A star is a luminous ball of plasma held together by gravity.• The nearest star to Earth is the Sun, which is the source of most energy on Earth.• Read and view images of stars and constellations by following these links.
Ever wonder the difference between an asteroid and a comet? Let’s find out.
What is an asteroid?• Asteroids are rocky remains from the formation of the solar system.• Asteroids orbit the sun, and range from a few hundred feet in diameter to a few hundred miles.• Follow the tutorial about asteroids from National Geographic.
What is a comet?• Comets are cold chunks of rock and dusty ice leftover from the formation of the Solar System.• A mix of gas and dust is pushed away from the comet by solar winds. So as the comet passes the sun and vaporizes, a long tail called a coma is formed.• Follow the tutorial and learn more about comets from National Geographic.
How likely is it that an asteroid will crash into planet Earth?• What this video, provided to us by the Discovery Channel.• Or you may think you have it all figured out from Hollywood movies… Check out this video.
What is a meteor?• A meteor is a sand to boulder sized object that is a piece of debris in the Solar system.• A meteor that reaches Earth’s surface is called a meteorite.• Read more here!
Almost done…• Please take this post test to review the Solar System and reinforce learning.