Exploring Our Solar System: Planets and Space for Kids - FreeSchool



our solar system have you ever looked up into the sky and wondered what was there higher than the birds past the clouds and farther than the moon a whole host of fascinating objects spin in outer space let's imagine for a moment that we can leave the earth behind and explore the solar system that surrounds it we call it the solar system because everything in it is centered around the Sun and solar means something to do with the Sun the Sun is a star just like many of the stars that you can see in the night sky just many times closer to us still the Sun is very very far away from the earth almost 93 million miles away that's why it looks so small even though it's the biggest object in the solar system in fact the Sun makes up more than 99% of the mass in the solar system if you put all of the planets moons asteroids comets and everything else in the solar system together they would make up less than one quarter of a percent of it the Sun is so big that is more than 100 times wider than the earth and if it were a giant jar you could fit more than 1 million earths into it more than that the Sun is what holds the solar system together its massive gravity is what keeps the earth and all the other planets circling around it instead of drifting off into space the Sun is also what allows us to live on earth without the Sun there would be no heat there would be no light plants could not grow water would freeze and nothing could survive the Sun gives us heat and light because it is always burning it is a giant ball of gas mostly hydrogen and helium and it burns at millions of degrees in its center let's leave the Sun now to explore the planets as we move away from the Sun the first planet we will encounter is mercury mercury is the smallest planet in the solar system much smaller than Earth and one of only five planets you can see from Earth using nothing but your eyes of course it won't look much like a planet it looks more like a bright star and many nights you can see it close to the horizon near sunrise and sunset mercury is a lot like our Moon it's small and has a rocky surface with craters on it it has no moon of its own and no air to breathe you probably wouldn't enjoy a visit to mercury since temperatures are boiling hot in the Sun and freezing cold in the shade something interesting about mercury is that it is the fastest planet to go around the Sun it only takes 88 days next is Venus the second planet some people call Venus Earth's sister because the two planets are very close in size and gravity but they are very different on the surface first of all it is very hot venus is the hottest planet in the solar system it's not as close to the Sun as mercury but its thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide helps it to trap the heat and stay warmer than its neighbor it has a thick atmosphere but it is not one you could breathe it is mostly made of carbon dioxide and there are clouds of sulfuric acid Venus might not be fun to visit but it is beautiful to look at it is the second brightest object in the night sky the only thing brighter is the moon if you are looking at a sunrise or a sunset and suddenly notice what looks like a very bright star you are probably looking at Venus after Venus comes Earth the third planet from the Sun of course you know all about Earth because that's the planet where we live Earth is what's called a Goldilocks planet because it's not too hot and not too cold it is just right as far as we know Earth is the only planet to have living things let's leave Earth again for a moment though and visit Mars the fourth planet from the Sun Mars is known as the Red Planet because iron oxide a material like rust in the soil gives it a reddish color Mars is smaller than Venus and the earth but larger than mercury it is cold and rocky with a thin atmosphere made of carbon dioxide and oxygen there is water ice on Mars scientists are very interested in Mars because they think that people could live there with the help of some special equipment rockets and probes have already been sent there to gain more information about the planet right now there are two special robots exploring the surface of Mars sending information back to earth Mars is the first planet we visited today besides Earth to have its own moons it has to although they are not big and round like our moon Mars moons are small and irregular scientists think they may be captured asteroids maybe they came from the big asteroid belt that is between Mars and Jupiter an asteroid belt is a big ring of asteroids or rocky objects orbiting the Sun Jupiter comes next the fifth planet in the solar system Jupiter is the largest planet and is something called a gas giant it is called this because it is really big and made mostly of gases Jupiter is so big that you would have to place eleven earths into end just to stretch across its middle Jupiter is also the third brightest object in the night sky only Venus and the moon are brighter you can usually find Jupiter higher in the sky than Venus since Jupiter is away from the Sun and not towards it Jupiter has at least 67 moons that circle around it but 55 of them are very small only about as big as a mountain or smaller some of its moons are very large and at least two of them are about the same size as the planet Mercury one of its moons is the largest moon in the solar system some of these large moons can be seen from Earth in your backyard with a telescope people cannot land on Jupiter because it is made of gas there is no ground to land on even if there was somewhere to land Jupiter is covered by terrible storms much stronger than even the strongest storms on earth one storm that we know about can be seen from Earth we call it the Great Red Spot because that's what it looks like and it has been going on for at least 200 years after Jupiter comes Saturn another gas giant Saturn is famous for its beautiful rings although they look solid from a distance the Rings are actually made from many many small ice particles as well as rocks and dust Saturn also has more than 60 moons orbiting around it some as large as the planet Mercury and many smaller something interesting about Saturn is that even though it is very large it is not very dense that means that if you could find a bathtub large enough to put Saturn in it would float instead of sink Saturn is the farthest planet that can be seen from Earth without the help of a telescope after Saturn comes Uranus the seventh planet from the Sun Uranus is another gas giant but it is much smaller than Saturn and Jupiter unlike any other planet in the solar system it is tilted so much that it actually spins sideways Uranus has rings around it although they are much smaller than Saturn's and 27 known moons Uranus is covered in blue clouds made of methane which give it its lovely color very similar to Uranus is Neptune the eighth planet from the Sun Neptune is another gas giant and like Uranus it has methane in its atmosphere so it also looks blue Neptune is a darker blue than Uranus and scientists aren't sure why Neptune has a few thin rings and 14 moons that we know about because Neptune is so far out in space it takes it a very very long time to go around the Sun remember mercury that only takes 88 days to go once around the Sun poor Neptune takes over 164 years to finish an orbit around the Sun the last time that Neptune was in the same place it is now was before the American Civil War before computers phones airplanes or cars had been invented Neptune has the longest orbit of any planet in the solar system now you may think that I've forgotten someone Pluto Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was listed as the ninth planet in the solar system as it was studied longer scientists realized how small it is it is much smaller than any other planet in the solar system and even smaller than many other moons Plus people started to discover other small rocky planet like objects in space near Pluto some of them were even bigger than Pluto in 2006 after 76 years being listed as a planet Pluto was declared a dwarf planet to show that it was something that was like a planet but much smaller there are at least six dwarf planets in the solar system and possibly many many more that leaves us with eight official planets in our solar system Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus and Neptune I hope you enjoyed exploring the solar system with me today goodbye till next time




Comments
  1. Wow this is legendary even for me it's a strong to me and another thing about about the Sun that it's temperature is about 17000000 degrees celsius

  2. Coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooollll

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