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Planet Warrior

Earth and outer space

 
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 Get your astronaut on because we are going to space!!

Throughout history Astronomers have identified other planets, suns, and eventually the vast cosmos as we currently know it, filled with countless galaxies and trillions of stars. 

Right now we are on Earth, a planet going around the sun, which is in the centre of our solar system, which spinning around the centre of the Milkway galaxy, which is one of the trillions of galaxies that make up the Cosmos.

Is you mind swirling at a million miles an hour? 

THE MILKY WAY GALAXY

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This is the Milky Way Galaxy it is made up of stars, dust and other materials.

If you go outside on a very clear night, somewhere very dark you might be lucky enough to see the Milky Way Galaxy!

The Milky Way Galaxy is just one of billions of galaxies!


QUESTION

WHY IS IT NAMED THE MILKY WAY?


The Ancient Romans called it ‘via lactea’ which quite literally meant a ‘milky way/road’. Also, the word ‘galaxy’ is derived from a Greek word for ‘milk’. Do you think it looks like spilt milk??


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OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

Our solar system is just a tiny piece of the galaxy and is located on the trailing outer arm of the Milky Way galaxy. 

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In the centre of our solar system is the sun, an enormous star (which is one of the hundred billion stars that make up the Milky Way galaxy).

Revolving around the sun are 8 planets. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

A planet is a celestial body that orbits a star - like our sun.  

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© elasmo holdings pty ltd

The planets are divided into two categoriesTerrestrial and Jovial or the rocky-based planets and the gas based planets. 


TERRESTRIAL PLANETS

Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are all Terrestrial planets, meaning they are mostly made of rocky material, their surfaces are solid and they don’t have rings around them, they have very few moons and they are relatively small. 

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© elasmo holdings pty ltd

 

MERCURY

TERRESTRIAL PLANET!  

Smallest and closest to the sun is Mercury. Mercury is only slightly larger than Earth's Moon. It takes Mercury 3 months to orbit the sun.    

It has a solid surface that is covered with craters like our Moon. It has a thin atmosphere, and it doesn’t have any moons.

 

VENUS 

TERRESTRIAL PLANET!  

Venus is the hottest planet reaching up to 464°C, It has a thick atmosphere full of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and clouds made of sulfuric acid. The atmosphere traps heat and keeps Venus toasty warm. It's so hot on Venus, metals like lead would be puddles of melted liquid.

Venus looks like a very active planet. It has mountains and volcanoes. Venus is similar in size to Earth. Earth is just a little bit bigger.

 

EARTH  

TERRESTRIAL PLANET!  

Next to this world of fire is a world of water, Earth! 

Most of the surface of our planet is water; the oceans are what enable Life on this planet. Take a nice deep breath in for me, the air that is filling our lungs comes from the ocean. Around Earth we also have an atmosphere. Our atmosphere naturally contains greenhouse gases, without them the Earth would be way too cold – averaging a rather chilly -18°C instead of the nice and cosy average of 15°C that it is today. This is known as the Greenhouse effect, it’s a natural atmospheric process that helps regulate Earth’s climate and protects us from the suns harmful rays. 

 

MARS 

TERRESTRIAL PLANET!  

Next up is Mars, Mars is often referred to as the ‘red planet’. It's red because of rusty iron in the ground. Mars is half the size of Earth. 

It is thought that this planet might have supported life about 3.7 billion Earths ago when Mars had a watery surface. Mars is also home to the biggest mountain – a volcano that is 21km high!! 

And that is the last of the Terrestrial or rocky based planets. Now we move onto the Jovial or gas based planets. 

 

And that is the last of the Terrestrial or rocky based planets. Now we move onto the Jovial or gas based planets. 

JOVIAL PLANETS

Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants while Uranus and Neptune are ice giants. All four have multiple moons, no solid surface, support ring systems and are of immense size. 

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© elasmo holdings pty ltd

 

JUPITER 

JOVIAL PLANET!  

 Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. 

Jupiter is also the fourth brightest object in the solar system.
Only the Sun, Moon and Venus are brighter. It is one of five planets visible to the naked eye from Earth.

Jupiter has 53 named moons and another 26 awaiting official names. 

Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot is a giant storm bigger than Earth that has raged for hundreds of years.

 

SATURN

JOVIAL PLANET!  

Next door is Saturn the solar systems second largest planet. Saturn is best known for its signature ring system - made of chunks of ice and rock.

Saturn's atmosphere is made up mostly of hydrogen (H2) and helium (He).

Saturn has 150 moons and smaller moonlets.

 

URANUS

JOVIAL PLANET

Past Saturn is the gas giants Uranus and Neptune. 

Uranus was the first planet found with the aid of a telescope,  discovered in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel. Uranus is famous for rotating on its side. With minimum atmospheric temperature of -224°C Uranus is nearly the coldest planet in the solar system. 

Uranus makes one trip around the Sun every 84 Earth years! 

Uranus has 27 known moons

 

NEPTUNE

JOVIAL PLANET

Neptune is the outermost planet of the solar system and one of the coldest reaching temperatures as low as -373°C 

Large storms whirl through its upper atmosphere, and high-speed winds track around the planet at up 600 meters per second.

Neptune has 14 moons.


Activity 1

Name the planets of the solar system - complete activity sheet below.

Activity 2

Can you put the 8 planets into the correct Category.

Which planets are terrestrial and which are jovial?


THE MOST AMAZING FACT

Remember

The elements that make up the stars, the planets are the same elements that make up you. You are made from star stuff.

So when you look up at the night sky, remember that you are part of this Universe, you are in this Universe but most importantly of all, the Universe is within you.

We are all connected by stars.


EARTH AND ME

Earth formed around 4.5 billion years ago and has gone through many transitions to be what it is today.

I am one person on a planet of 7.7 BILLION human beings.

This can make me sound very small – and perhaps I am.

But size doesn’t equal importance. 

And being small doesn’t mean that my actions aren’t meaningful.


Across all space and time, there has only - and will only - ever be one me. 


tHE EQUATOR

The Earth is separated into two halves by an imaginary line called the Equator.

The half of Earth that is between the Equator and the North Pole is called the Northern Hemisphere.

The half that is between the Equator and the South Pole is called the Southern Hemisphere.

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

Earth is on a slight tilt - 23.5 degrees to be exact. So it looks like this.


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© elasmo holdings pty ltd


DAY AND NIGHT

When we see the sun shining in the sky it is day and when we don’t it’s night.


QUESTION

Where does the sun go when you can’t see it?


By observing the sun we can see that the sun rises in the East and Sets in the West.

The sun appears the move across the sky because the Earth rotates on its axis.

Axis is an imaginary straight line passing through the North Pole the centre of Earth, and the South Pole.

The movement of the Earth on its own Axis is known as Rotation.

Earth spins at 1609.34 Kilometres per hour (KPH). It takes Earth 24 hours to complete one rotation.

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© elasmo holdings pty ltd

The side of Earth that is facing the sun is in daylight and the side that is facing away is in nighttime.


Experiment

EQUIPMENT

  1. A Torch

  2. A large Ball

METHOD

  1. Turn all the lights off

  2. Turn on the Torch

  3. Point the Torch so it’s shining on the ball

  4. Observe!


Now that we know that the day and night are controlled by Earth spinning on it’s axis (rotation) and its relationship with the sun.

Can you think of a reason why in Summer we have long days (more hours of sunlight) and in Winter we have shorter days (less hours of sunlight)?


So the Earth is rotating on its axis, creating day and night at the same time its also revolving around the sun.

So why in Summer do we have long days and short nights?

The reason we have seasons is a combination of the angle of the Axis and the revolution or orbit the Earth does around the Sun.

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

Remember the Earth is separated into two halves by an imaginary line called the Equator.

By relating the two halves, southern and northern hemisphere, and the relationship the Earth has with the sun we can see why in summer we have more hours of sunlight than in winter.

What observations can you make from the above illustration?

You may have noticed that

  • The Southern Hemisphere on the Earth on the left has a lot more day time than night time. Shorter nights and longer days. This must be summer for the Southern Hemisphere.

  • The Southern Hemisphere on the Earth on the right has a lot more night time than day time. Shorter days and longer nights. This must be Winter for the Southern Hemisphere.


The Moon

Besides the sun the Moon is the most noticeable object in our sky.

Does the Moon always look the same?

The Moon changes everyday, sometimes it’s up in the day and it’s shape is always changing.

The Moon is four times smaller than Earth and it’s surface is actually pretty dark. It looks bright to us because it is sitting in full sunlight! Because the Moon is orbiting Earth the way we see it lite by the sun changes, this is what causes the moons phases.

Remember how day and night works? The half of Earth facing the sun is in day light and the half of Earth facing away from the sun is in night time! Well the Moon Works exactly the Same!!

We call the side not illuminated by the sun the dark side of the moon!

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

It takes the moon 27.5 days or one month to complete one revolution of Earth.

Is the Moon important to life on Earth?

The Moon has a big influence on the Earths tides.

Tides and tidal currents helps balance the temperature on Earth and help to control the climate.

Lots of animal,s both land and sea, use Lunar clues and cycles such as the phases of the Moon, to find a mate, to feed and sleep!

Remember how Earth is on a 23.5 degree tilt? The Moon helps stabilise this too!

So the Moon it vital to life on Earth.


A MARVEL-OUS SPECIES  

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

© elasmo holdings pty ltd

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This is a Tardigrade! and yes they are an actual thing! Also known as Moss Piglets or Water Bears.

Tardigrades are a water dwelling eight-legged micro animal. At 0.5mm in length these strangely cute animals can be viewed under a low-power microscope.

They have been found everywhere: from mountain tops, to deep sea and mud volcanoes, from tropic rainforests to Antarctic. They prefer to live in sediment at the bottom of a lake, on moist pieces of moss or other wet environments. Despite their rather tedious lifestyle, they have evolved to cope with environments so extreme, they don't even exist on Earth.

These badass plumpy creatures can survive extreme conditions, conditions that would be defined as fatal to most of other life forms, like extreme temperatures, extreme pressures, dehydration, radiation and starvation. In-fact vaccum of space, throw in some solar radiation…yep they are still alive.

There are 900 known species of Tardigrades, so should we rename Earth - planet of the Tardigrades?

This is what are Tardigrade would look like if you viewed it under a microscope.


Activity

Design your own planet - Use ‘Design a planet’ activity sheet.

Think about what type of terrain your planet is going to have. Is it flat, does it have lots of mountains/volcanos, maybe it is covered in rainforest or all desert!

Is your planet going to have water?

What type of animals and plants live on your planet? Maybe it’s a planet of giant insects, or maybe it’s all ocean and full of marine life.

How are you going to protect the environment on your planet? Maybe your planet runs on solar power? Maybe you have animal sanctuaries?