Online Education – The Planets and Space Science

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Man on the moon stamp. The Planets

Our universe is comprised of nine different planets. These planets are known as the Earth, Saturn, Neptune, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, the sun, Pluto, and Jupiter. All together, these nine planets are known as the solar system.

 Planet Earth is the only planet known to sustain life. On Earth, there is a complex system of biology that allows it to provide an environment ample for living things. Earth is unique because of its amazing ecosystem that is home to different elements such as water and oxygen.

 The sun is a mass of incandescent gas that provides light, heat, and life to the planet Earth. It is so big, that more than a million planet Earths could fit inside of it! Our sun is 75% hydrogen, and 25% helium.

Saturn is an unusual planet and is most widely recognized by its beautiful rings that surround it. The rings are actually made up of water and ice particles. These rings make Saturn one of the most widely recognized planets in the solar system. The planet Saturn has over 18 different moons, which is more than any other planet.

Planet Neptune has a bluish color to it because the planet is mostly made up of “icy” rocks. There are 8 moons surrounding Neptune, and its largest moon is called Triton. The planet Neptune has only been visited by spacecraft once in the year 1989.

Mercury is another really interesting and easily recognized planet, mostly because of its dark red hues. It is a very small and very rocky planet, and some scientists believe that Mercury has volcanic activity on it. The Mariner 10 spacecraft has explored the planet Mercury, but it has only provided data and information for about 45% of its surface so far.

Venus is a very small planet with no moons. The planet has a yellow tint to it because it is surrounded by clouds that are yellow in color. Venus has a hot surface of about 400 degrees Celsius, and was first visited by spacecraft in 1962.

The planet Uranus is a large gaseous planet that is made up of rocks and ices. It has fifteen moons in total, but scientists believe there are some other tiny moons hidden within its rings. Uranus has slight side tilt, which makes it look as if it is sitting lopsided.

Pluto is the smallest planet in the solar system, and was recently no longer considered a part of the solar system by some scientists. This tiny little blue icy planet has never been visited by a spacecraft, mainly because of its far distance from earth. The planet Pluto has one moon named Charon.

Jupiter is a very large gaseous planet made up of 90% hydrogen and 10% helium. Jupiter is most recognized by its great red spot that is easy to see from a long distance. This red spot is actually made of swirling gases that have been a part of the planet for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years.

Further Resources

  • The Planets of Our Solar System – You can check out images, facts and more, all about the 9 planets of our solar system here.
  • Explore Our Solar System – Take a closer look at our solar system as a whole.
  • The Planets – At this website, you can read more about each planet and explore the differences between them.
  • Blastoff! – Here, you can look at some lesson plans, solve riddles, and click around to each planet to learn more about it.
  • The 9 Planets Adventure – Take a look at this cartoon that explores our solar system in a fun, educational way.

Astronomy for Kids

  • Starchild – This website is a great place for budding astronomers to explore the planets, stars, and much more.
  • Apollo 11: Walking on the Moon – Here, kids can take a closer look at the famous Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
  • EarthKAM – You’ll find amazing photos, satellite images, and much more of the earth and other planets here.
  • Living in Space – Check out what the astronauts eat, wear, and much more on this interesting website.
  • NOAA Space Images Catalog – This is a comprehensive catalog of images taken in space from the NOAA team.
  • The Space Place – Learn a lot more about our solar system and the universe here at the Space Place.
  • Amazing Space – This is the home site for the famous Hubble Telescope. Check out the fascinating images of outer space!
  • Space Day – May 7 is Family Space Day, but you and your classmates, family, and friends can celebrate the wonders of space throughout the year.