Image of Jupiter (from bbc.co.uk)
The Sun is a star, a gigantic ball of burning gas at the middle of our solar system. It is far bigger than any of the planets and has been burning for millions of years. It gives us light and warmth. Without it we would all die out including the plants and other animals. It is very, very important to us and to all living things in the world.
Comet Borrelly (from solarsystem.nasa.gov)
Astronomy and Constellations
Astronomy is studying the stars and planets with your own eye or a telescope with an eyepiece. Ancient astronomers used the stars and planets to predict things like eclipses and other events. Constellations are stars that are in a certain place and form the outlines of pictures. They were named by ancient people and are still used today but only to remember them.
Galileo (from lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov)
In conclusion, man has looked at the far away planets, picked up signals with telescopes, seen the constellations in the night sky and been into outer space. We have ventured into the solar system to understand what is always surrounding us on our tiny planet, however there is so much unexplored space still out there, with us waiting to explore it.
The Planets and our Moon
The four inner planets are made of rock, however the third from the sun is the only one capable of sustaining life. They are called: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. The next four are gas giants. Jupiter is by far the biggest planet and a constant storm is raging in the form of a big red spot. It has just been found out that another storm has started up. It has been nicknamed red junior. From our school visit to the planetarium in Liverpool I also learnt that if you flew a spaceship through Jupiter the pressure would make you implode. Saturn is known for it's beautiful rings and Neptune and Uranus are cold and lifeless at huge distances from the sun. Last is Pluto, desolate and frozen, with it's one moon Charon. From Earth it looks like our moon is all one colour but actually it is different. In some parts of the moon there is iron oxide in the moon rock and it makes it look orange!
Image of the Sun (from astrogeology.usgs.gov)
Comets and Asteroids
Comets spend a lot of time away from the Sun, however when they come within a few hundred million kilometres they throw off clouds of gas, ice and dust that can be seen from the Earth. Asteroids can be seen from Earth because they are lit by the sun but you can't see them with the naked eye. We use powerful telescopes to take a look at them.
Stars in the northern hemisphere
Italian scientist Galileo Galilei was born in Pisa in 1564. He first looked at the night sky through a telescope in 1609, at the craters of the moon, the moons of Jupiter and the millions of stars in the milky way. He was also put in jail by the Catholic church for suggesting that the Earth orbits the sun. Galileo also said that in a vacuum, everything falls at the same speed. From a trip to the Spaceport at Seacombe I found out that space is effectively a total vacuum. Using the fact that space is a vacuum, astronauts were able to prove Galileo right by dropping a hammer and a feather on the moon and showing that they both fell at the same speed. Things that fall slowly on Earth fall faster in a vacuum as there is no air or anything to slow them down. It is because space is a vacuum that manned craft have to be airtight and if you are going outside the craft you have to have a protective space suit on.
Crew Exploration Vehicle - NASA proposed replacement for the Space Shuttle Programme (from en.wikipedia.org)