Solar System

Universes, galaxies, and solar systems are some of the major components of outer space. If we break it down even further, we can talk about stars, planets, asteroids, meteoroids, comets, and a lot of dust. All of these parts are held together by gravity. Our little part of outer space is called a solar system because "sol" is the Latin word for sun, and the sun is the main component of the system.

Sample some of the following activities to learn more about our solar system.


Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources    Bibliography

Places To Go

The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about the solar system.

A Wrinkle in Time
Visit your school or public library and check out the science fiction book by Madeleine L'Engle it is a classic. Orson Scott Card's science fiction books are popular with high school students. Stinker From Space by Pamela Service is about an alien who is being chased by enemy aliens and crashes his spacecraft on earth and transforms his body into the body of a skunk.
Clark Planetarium
The Clark Planetarium's mission is to create and present enlightening experiences that inspire wonder in learning about space and science.
Hovenweep National Monument
The ancient Native American inhabitants left well preserved stone towers and other pueblo style buildings. It is thought that some of the towers may have been used as atronomical observatories with strategic openings in the walls to determine solstices, equinoxes, and moon cycles. Hovenweep is one of Utah's ancient treasures.
National Geographic: Virtual Solar System
Discover the wonders of our solar system in a spectacular 3-D environment. Take a flyby tour of the sun and each planet in its orbit, observe planets and extraterrestrial weather patterns up close, and more.
The Nine Planets: A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System
Information about each planet and moon in our solar system with many pictures, discussion of the history of its discovery, exploration, and physical characteristics. In addition to the planets, there are also pages about the Sun, many moons, and asteroids, comets and meteorites.

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People To See

Ask an Astronomer
From Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.. Ask new questions or read through old ones.
NASA's Ask the Expert
You choose if you want the crew of one of the missions to answer your question or the staff of the Mission Control Center. You can also read answers to previously asked questions.
NASA's Ask the Space Scientist
You can ask the space scientist new questions or read through past questions and answers.



Things To Do

Amazing Space
Learn about the objects that make up the solar system by collecting Solar System Trading Cards. From this site, be sure and also check out the Galaxy Games.
Astronomy for Kids
Discover information about the special qualities of each planet in the solar system.
Brain Pop: The Solar System
Learn about the solar system on this fun site by watching a movie, taking a quiz, trying out an experiment, and more!
Build a Solar System
You fill in the diameter of the sun that you want your model to be scaled by, and the solar system calculator gives you the numbers for your other celestial bodies.
The Constellations and their Stars
You may go outside some night and see all kinds of stars, and maybe you have even spotted the Big Dipper (northern hemisphere) or the Southern Cross (southern hemisphere), but what about Leo the Lion or Pisces the Fish? What are they?
How To Become an Astronaut
It's never too early to be thinking about becoming an astronaut or mission specialist.
Let's Cook Up A Comet
Make a comet. You'll need dry ice, garbage bags, sand or dirt, a little ammonia, and some corn syrup.
Phases of the Moon
Go out at night and impress your family and friends by declaring to them that the moon is a waxing gibbous or a waning crescent.
Solar Eclipse
Find out what conditions produce a solar eclipse. When will the next one occur?
The Sun
Amaze your friends by explaining to them what the sun is made of, why it is hot, and if it will ever burn up.

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Teacher Resources

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  • Angliss, Sarah. Cosmic Journeys: A Beginner's Guide to Space and Time Travel. Brookfield, Conn.: Copper Beech Books, 1998.
  • Becklake, Sue. World Book Encyclopedia Presents Space. Chicago, Ill. : World Book in Association with Two-Can, 1997.
  • Dyer, Alan. Space. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader's Digest Children's Books, c1999.
  • Redfern, Martin. The Kingfisher Young People's Book of Space. New York: Kingfisher, 1998.
  • Scheller, William. Spaced out!: An Extreme Reader - From Warps and Wormholes to Killer Asteroids. New York: Planet Dexter, 1998.