The Solar System
Our planet, Earth, is part of the SOLAR SYSTEM.
The Solar System contains the Sun and 9 planets.
Several of the planets have moons.
The planets are in orbit around the sun.
This means that they travel in a curved path around the sun
The length of time it takes a planet to go around the Sun is called a YEAR.
On Earth a year = 365 days, but it is not the same for all the planets.
Usually the further a planet is away from the sun the longer the year is.
Diagram of our Solar System with the planets arranged in order
The Earth spins on an imaginary line called its axis.
The spin of the Earth causes day and night as only one side of the Earth can be lit at once.
The length of time to spin once on its axis is called a day.
On Earth 1 day = 24 hours
As the Sun moves across the sky it causes shadows
Diagram showing shadows produced by the sun shining on a stick in the ground.
The Sun rises in the East
At mid-day, when the Sun is highest, the shadow is shortest
Shadows are shorter in summer than in winter because the sun is higher in the sky
The sun sets in the west.
Moon Fact File
The Moon is smaller than the Earth (about 6 times smaller)
The Moon is a natural satellite of the Earth
The Moon is is in orbit around the Earth
The Moon takes 28 days to complete one orbit
We see the moon because it reflects light from the Sun
We see the moon different shapes depanding on which side is lit.
The different shapes are called the phases of the moon
|This is a photograph of the moon with the sun shining from the right|
The solar system :NASA guide to the Solar System
The Planets : NASA guide to the Planets
Visit The National Schools Observatory website.
This is a really interesting website offering lots of information and things to do.
Powers of Ten – Soar through space starting at 10 million light years away from the Milky Way down through to a single proton in Florida. Give it a few seconds to load.
Cut out and make a scale solar system!
Double click on the image to load it full size.
It will print out A4 size so may take a few moments to download