SciGuides are a collection of thematically aligned lesson plans, simulations, and web-based resources for teachers to use with their students centered on standards-aligned science concepts.
A solar system consists of at least one central star (in our case, the Sun) and other solar system objects (e.g., planets, moons, comets, asteroids, meteoroids) of different sizes and shapes, all of which are held in a system around the Sun. Stars and their solar systems are further held together in galaxies. Our own galaxy, known as the Milky Way, has over 100 billion stars, and we are only beginning to identify other solar systems in the Milky Way. For millennia, humans from every culture, ancient and modern, have searched the heavens, attempting to understand our place in the vastness of space. Through time, we have learned that Earth and other planets, their moons, dwarf planets, and a multitude of comets, asteroids, meteors, and other small bodies orbit the Sun. We also now know that the Sun’s influence stretches out about 100 times farther than the distance from the Sun to Earth. Beyond the limit of the Sun’s influence, lies the emptiness of interstellar space, which separates our solar system from those of other stars in our galaxy.
The more we explore with telescopes and with spacecraft loaded with ever more capable scientific instruments, the more we learn about our own solar system as well as others in our galaxy.