Astronomy Packet: 2
The Birth of The Solar System:
Do you know where you live?
You might live in a house or an apartment, a trailer or a log cabin. Your home is part of a larger community, such as a country. Some of you live in the United States, some live in South America as well as many other places around the world. These different nations are all part of the same world.
All of us live on the planet Earth. But guess what, it goes even further. The Earth is part of a larger community. This community is called the Solar System. There are nine planets in our Solar System all together. Their names are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto.
Here is a sentence which you should memorize. The first letter of each word is the same letter as the first letter of each planet.
My Very Eager Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.
Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto
All the planets except for Mercury and Venus have a system of moons. Think about that, nine planets circle the Sun. Most of those planets have moons which circle them. That is a lot of worlds. There are over 60 known worlds in the Solar System.
The only difference between a planet and a moon is that a planet circles the Sun while a moon circles a planet. Everything else about them is similar. 7 of the moons in our Solar System are even bigger than some of the planets. There are planets with atmospheres, volcanoes and even oceans.
Where did all these worlds come from?
Our Solar System probably started the same way other planetary systems begin: As a giant cloud of gas and dust called a nebula. Over millions of years the cloud's gravity caused the dust and gas to fall toward its center.
Over time, that swirling disk of gas and dust formed clumps. The largest clump was at the center. Many smaller clumps were scattered about, circling the large center one. Eventually, the center clump became so large and hot that it ignited to start its life as a star. The smaller clumps became the planets, moons, comets and asteroids.
Assignment # 1:
Click Here to find the answers to the following questions:
1. Which planet is the biggest?
2. Which planet is the smallest?
3. What are the names of the moons of Mars?
4. What does Uranus mean?
5. Which planet has a giant storm, which is at least 300 years old?
6. Which planets have rings?
7. Which moon has active volcanoes?
8. What is the name of the largest asteroid?
9. Which asteroid has its own moon?