Solar System Flashcards

Absent? Lost or misplaced some of your flashcards? The entire list of flashcards for this unit is here.

Solar Eclipse vs. Lunar Eclipse

Watch What's the Difference Between a Solar and Lunar Eclipse?, then answer the following questions in your copybook.
  • What does eclipse mean?
  • Which type of eclipse is safe to look at without special glasses to protect your eyes?
  • How does a solar eclipse occur?
  • What phase is the moon in during a solar eclipse?
  • What kind of tides occur during a lunar eclipse?


  • Watch the animation. Note the location of the Sun and the location and length of the shadows it makes.
  • Math (more specifically, trigonometry) can be used to find the length of shadows. We can do some rough estimates using patterns. How does the noon shadow length relate to the 11 AM shadow length? What should the 10 AM shadow length be? How about the 1 PM shadow length?
Length of Shadow
10:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m.
60 cm
30 cm
1:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.
90 cm
  • What do you think each hour's length is in the chart below? Can you fill in the other shadow lengths?
Length of Shadow
10:00 a.m.
360 cm
11:00 a.m.

120 cm
1:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m.

Why Do We Have Seasons?

Read NASA Space Place to find out why we have seasons on Earth.

Our Universe

Go to ESA Kids: Our Universe and click on Story of the Universe. Afterwards (or during), you need to take the quiz on Quia. The following are flashcards:
  • What is the Big Bang Theory? (flashcard #9)
  • What is a galaxy and which one do we live in? (flashcard #10)
  • What does the color and size of a star indicate. List some examples. (flashcard #11)

The Sun, A Real Star and Seeing Stars eClips

View The Sun, A Real Star and Seeing Stars, then answer the following questions in your copybook.
  • What is the magnetosphere? (flashcard #12)
  • Why do scientists keep an eye on solar flares and winds?
  • What is the habitable zone? (flashcard #13)

[If the video doesn't play, click on the youtube1.jpg then on the youtube2.jpg.]

Solar Cell Model


A solar cell is actually a device that converts the energy of the Sun into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. The photovoltaic effect is a technique by which electricity is produced as voltage by silicon (a semiconductor) by the absorption of light. (Source: Kidsgen)

The Sun produces 4 million tons of energy per second. Earth captures about 5 pounds of that energy per second after traveling 150 million miles. Considering that people are only using about 1/10,000 of that amount for its total energy consumption, this makes solar energy usage one of the best alternative energy solutions that we have. (Source: Dr. Eberhard Moebius, January 2005 NASA's Cosmicopia)

Watch the video. What percent of the Sun's energy do solar cells (photovoltaic cells) convert to usable energy?

How is using solar energy a good way to be a steward of creation? One way is demonstrated in an article about one Catholic school in New Jersey.

A History of the Models of Our Solar System

The heliocentric model is on the left and the geocentric model is on the right. (The Sun is yellow, Earth is blue, and Mars is red.)

In ancient times, most scientists thought that the Moon, Sun, planets, and stars moved around Earth. This is known as a geocentric model of the Solar System. There was a problem that scientists had with this model and that was that at certain times during the year the planets appeared to reverse their motion. This model, which the Greek astronomer Ptolemy developed around 150 AD, held until 1543 when the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus showed that the Sun is the center of the universe and all of the planets of this solar system revolve around it and not Earth. This is known as a heliocentric model. In the 1600’s Johannes Kepler (German) added to Copernicus’ work by pointing out that the planets move in elliptical orbits, not circular ones, since at certain times during the year the planets are closer to the Sun than at others.


Identifying Constellations

Play the game to help you find constellations in the night sky. Click on See the Constellations to help you get used to what to look for. This site is a nice precursor before we go to the planetarium.

Seasonal Constellations

Watch the video, then be ready to answer the following questions in class.
  • How do the seasons play a major part of what constellations we see at night?
  • Do the constellations look the same each month? Explain.



Constellation Myth

Construct with a partner a constellation myth based on the constellation you made in class. Use the Interactive Story Map generator to help you create a story. Print out the story map and give it to your teacher for editing. You will write the final draft in computer class on Google Docs. Make sure you are typing your myth on the page with your name on it!

Example Story Map:
constellation myth.jpg

Planet Research

Research your assigned planet using at least three different sources.

Gather information from the planet booklets in my classroom or from

All of the following information must appear in your report.
  • planet name
  • origin of name (where it came from and what it means)
  • distance from the Sun in kilometers
  • planet's day (amount of time it takes the planet to rotate on its axis)
  • planet's year (amount of time it takes the planet to revolve around the Sun)
  • average temperature in degrees Celsius
  • planet's diameter in comparison to the Earth's diameter (state what it is and use images of Earth and your planet)
  • 3 fun facts
  • How much would you weigh on this planet? (Use the Exploratorium Weight Calculator)
  • How old would you be on this planet? (Use the Exploratorium Age Calculator)

Pictures of all eight planets can be retrieved from my photobucket. Click on the desired image, then right click and save it to the desktop.

I have created an example research project for Pluto on the right. Look closely, you can see Pluto next to Earth to show a comparison of the two planets' sizes. You can also view a larger version of this glog at Pluto Glog.

You may present your research in any manner you like but make sure that quality work (spelling, grammar, aesthetics, appropriate images) is being presented. Some ways include (but are not limited to):