2. Space Week - The Solar System
Our Place In The Universe
Our planetary system is located in an outer spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy.
Our solar system consists of our star, the Sun, and everything bound to it by gravity - the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, dwarf planets such as Pluto, dozens of moons and millions of asteroids, comets and meteoroids. Beyond our solar system, we have discovered thousands of planetary systems orbiting other stars in the Milky Way.
See if you can name the other planets around the Sun? You might have to do some research...
The Sun is at the heart of our solar system and is made up of a hot ball of gas.
How We See The Planets
How we see the planets has changed greatly over the years. When we first looked at the planets our telescopes were not as powerful as today and now we have space probes that have visited many of the planets and moons in our solar system. Just look at the difference that 100 years has made to how we view Jupiter (read more in The Dramatic Way Our View of Jupiter’s Giant Red Spot has Changed Over the Past 138 Years).
Build Your Own Solar System
Did you watch the video about the planets and where they are are in relation to the Sun and Earth?
Have a look at the worksheet and see what you can find around the house that might be close to the sizes of the objects we have suggested.
The main issue you will have is the size of the sun. If you were to use maybe 3 umbrellas opened out this could be about a third of the size of the sun compared to Earth as a small tomato!
Have you been camping in the garden? If so a tent would do or perhaps a sheet over the couch - anything really.
Get started with a long measure - see if there is one in the toolbox or the odds and ends drawer and you are all set. You might need to enlist some help from someone else in the house to assist with setting out your solar system.
Can you remember which planet is nearest to Earth?
Here is a clue it is visible at the moment in the night sky (if there are no clouds) and is around 162 million miles away!
If you have enjoyed these activities please share them with your friends and family.