- Our Solar System consists of the Sun, the planets, their moons, and a variety of smaller celestial objects, including asteroids, meteors, comets and much more.
- The Sun is at the center of the Solar system, with other celestial objects orbiting around it. The force of gravity holds the Solar system together and governs the movement of the objects within the Solar system
- Earth's solar system is part of the Milky Way Galaxy, which is one of many galaxies in the Universe.
- Earth's solar system consists of the Sun and other objects that are held in orbit around the Sun by its gravitational pull on them. Motions within the Earth-Moon-Sun system have effects that can be observed on Earth.
Effects of Gravity on Planetary Orbits
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<--Click on the button to explore the solar system
The Sun is a star in the Milky Way galaxy located in a spiral arm about two-thirds of the way from the center of the galaxy.
The Universe (https://www.esa.int/kids/en/learn)
The Universe is everything we can touch, feel, sense, measure or detect. It includes living things, planets, stars, galaxies, dust clouds, light, and even time. Before the birth of the Universe, time, space and matter did not exist.
The Universe contains billions of galaxies, each containing millions or billions of stars. The space between the stars and galaxies is largely empty. However, even places far from stars and planets contain scattered particles of dust or a few hydrogen atoms per cubic centimeter. Space is also filled with radiation (e.g. light and heat), magnetic fields and high energy particles (e.g. cosmic rays).
The Universe is incredibly huge. It would take a modern jet fighter more than a million years to reach the nearest star to the Sun. Travelling at the speed of light (300,000 km per second), it would take 100,000 years to cross our Milky Way galaxy alone.
No one knows the exact size of the Universe, because we cannot see the edge – if there is one. All we do know is that the visible Universe is at least 93 billion light years across. (A light year is the distance light travels in one year – about 9 trillion km.)
The Universe has not always been the same size. Scientists believe it began in a Big Bang, which took place nearly 14 billion years ago. Since then, the Universe has been expanding outward at very high speed. So the area of space we now see is billions of times bigger than it was when the Universe was very young. The galaxies are also moving further apart as the space between them expands.
Most astronomers believe the Universe began in a Big Bang about 14 billion years ago. At that time, the entire Universe was inside a bubble that was thousands of times smaller than a pinhead. It was hotter and denser than anything we can imagine.
Then it suddenly exploded. The Universe that we know was born. Time, space and matter all began with the Big Bang. In a fraction of a second, the Universe grew from smaller than a single atom to bigger than a galaxy. And it kept on growing at a fantastic rate. It is still expanding today.
As the Universe expanded and cooled, energy changed into particles of matter and antimatter. These two opposite types of particles largely destroyed each other. But some matter survived. More stable particles called protons and neutrons started to form when the Universe was one second old.
Over the next three minutes, the temperature dropped below 1 billion degrees Celsius. It was now cool enough for the protons and neutrons to come together, forming hydrogen and helium nuclei.
After 300 000 years, the Universe had cooled to about 3000 degrees. Atomic nuclei could finally capture electrons to form atoms. The Universe filled with clouds of hydrogen and helium gas.
STUDY GUIDES TO HELP YOU PREPARE!
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