Monday, 17 October 2011

More to Learn

Below are the names of the planets in the Solar system, frrom the nearest to the Sun to the farthest. The words given in the brackets would probably help us to remember the order of the planets better.
1. Mercury ( My )
2. Venus    (Very )
3. Earth     ( Excellent )
4. Mars      ( Mother )
5. Jupiter    ( Just )
6. Saturn    ( Served )
7. Uranus   ( Us )
8. Neptune ( Nine )
9. Pluto      ( Puddings )

The Planets Song

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Let Us Do This

1. Think creatively and design ten labels for the Sun and the nine planets.
2. Select ten pupils to represent the Sun and the nine planets.
3. Each pupils pins on a label.
4. Using powdered chalk, draw nine concentric circles in the school field.
5. Take up positions of the planets as shown in the diagram.
6. Each pupil moves like a planet round the Sun.
(a) Name the planets which are closer to the Sun than Earth.
(b) Draw and show the relative distance of the planets in the Solar Systems in your Science Journal.

Pluto and the other dwarf planets

Pluto used to be classed as a planet of the solar system, but is now considered to be a dwarf planet, and a part of the Kuiper belt. The Kuiper belt is a vast collection of dwarf planets, asteroids, rocks, ice and dust that circle the sun, that extends for millions of miles beyond Neptune, on the outskirts of the solar system.

As of mid-2008, five smaller objects are classified as dwarf planets, all but the first of which orbit beyond Neptune. These are:

Ceres (415,000,000 km from the sun)
Pluto (5,906,000,000 km, from the sun, formerly classified as the ninth planet)
Haumea (6,450,000,000 km from the sun)
Makemake (6,850,000,000 km from the sun)
Eris (10,100,000,000 km from the sun)


Neptune is the outermost planet of the solar system. It is slightly smaller than Uranus. Neptune has also been visited by only one spacecraft, Voyager 2, on Aug 25 1989.

Neptune has a mark on it that looks very similar to Jupiter's great spot. Just like Jupiter, this is caused by violent storms.

The weather is very extreme on Neptune - the wind on Neptune is the strongest on any planet, and blows at 1,300 miles per hour - as fast as a jet fighter plane.

Neptune is 4,500,000,000 km away from the sun.


Uranus is the lightest of the outer planets, a type of gas giant that some scientists call an ice giant. As you can imagine from this nickname its atmosphere is very cold - the coldest in the solar system. The wind on Uranus can blow at over 500 miles per hour!

It was discovered by William Herschel, a famous astronomer, while systematically searching the sky with his telescope on March 13, 1781.

Uranus has been visited by only one spacecraft, Voyager 2 on Jan 24 1986. The picture on the left is an enhanced image of Uranus that was beamed back to Earth by Voyager 2.

Uranus is 2,880,000,000 km away from the sun.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Saturn - the ringed planet

Saturn is distinguished by its extensive ring system, but otherwise has several similarities to Jupiter. They are both gas giants. Saturn has at least sixty known satellites; two of which, Titan and Enceladus, show signs of geological activity, though they are largely made of ice.

Saturn was first visited by NASA's Pioneer 11 in 1979 and later by Voyager 1 and Voyager 2. Cassini (a joint NASA / ESA project) arrived on July 1, 2004 and is still in orbit now.

Saturn's rings are extraordinarily thin: though they're 250,000 km or more in diameter they're less than one kilometre thick. The ring particles seem to be composed primarily of water and ice, but they may also include rocky particles with icy coatings.

Saturn is 1,430,000,000 km away from the sun.


Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system. It is 2.5 times the mass of all the other planets of the solar system put together! It is a gas giant, rather than a terrestrial planet, and is made largely of hydrogen and helium.

The large spot on Jupiter is actually a storm that has been raging for several hundred years!

Jupiter was first visited by Pioneer 10 in 1973 and later by Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2 and Ulysses. The unmanned spacecraft Galileo orbited Jupiter for eight years. In 2003 Galileo was crashed deliberately into Jupiter, to stop it from impacting on Europa, one of Jupiters moons that scientists believe may harbour some basic form of life.

Jupiter is 779,000,000 km away from the sun.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Mars - the red planet

Mars is smaller than both Earth and Venus. The first spacecraft to visit Mars was Mariner 4 in 1965. Several others followed, most recently in 2008, when Phoenix landed in the northern plains to search for water. Three Mars orbiters (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Express) are also currently at work studying Mars.

NASA has landed several unmanned robotic probes on Mars, most recently two remote controlled car-like robots called Mars Rovers. These probes allow NASA scientists to explore the planet, take pictures, analyse soil and conduct experiments. The picture on the left is of one of the Mars Rovers on the surface of Mars.

Mars is named after the Greek God of War. It is sometimes also called the red planet, because most of its surface is covered in reddish rocks, dust and soil.

Mars is 228,000,000 km away from the sun.


Earth is the largest and densest of the four inner planets, the only one known to have current geological activity, like earthquakes and volcanoes. It is the only planet known to have life. Its liquid hydrosphere (oceans and seas) is unique among the terrestrial planets.

Earth's atmosphere is radically different from those of the other planets, having been altered by the presence of life so it now contains 21% oxygen - which humans need to be able to breathe!

It has one natural satellite, the Moon, which is the only large satellite of a terrestrial planet in the Solar System.

The Earth is 150,000,000 km from the sun.