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Earth & Space Science Diagrams: Uses & Examples

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Since the universe is so big, having a diagram of the Earth and space makes it easier to comprehend and explain. In this lesson, you'll look at some of these diagrams and learn how they're used to relay and gain scientific information.

Science Diagrams

Think back to your grade school days. You've probably seen those diagrams showing the solar system. You see the sun and then the planets orbiting it with the Earth being the third planet from the sun. It shows the planets in order along with their respective names. You can also see the size differences of the planets.

The solar system
science diagrams

This is an example of a science diagram, a diagram that shows science concepts. Science diagrams such as these help students to understand the study of the Earth and space better. Not only do these diagrams show pictures but they can also show data related to what the diagram is showing. Everything shown on science diagrams is based on actual data and the real world. There's no made-up information.

Earth Diagram Uses

Science diagrams can get very detailed. When it comes to the Earth, there are diagrams showing the various natural systems on our planet, such as this diagram of the water cycle.

The water cycle
science diagrams

This diagram shows how water goes up to the clouds and then comes back down to the earth. It also teaches that no new water is ever formed. The water that you are drinking today is the same water that your grandfather and great-grandmother drank back in the day. The water just gets recycled repeatedly.

To read diagrams such as these, generally, you first look at the whole picture and then look at the details afterward. Each process is labeled so you know how the water keeps going up and then back down again.

This is just one example of an Earth diagram. You also have Earth diagrams that show the different levels of the atmosphere like this one.

The layers of the atmosphere
science diagrams

There are also diagrams that show the different layers of the ground all the way to the molten core of the Earth.

The layers of the Earth
science diagrams

Others will show you how volcanoes work.

Volcano hazards
science diagrams

These Earth diagrams are very useful for teaching and for learning about how various natural systems work. Scientists use more technical and complicated diagrams that also include important data values.

Space Diagram Uses

Look at the diagram showing sunspots. This is an example of a space science diagram.

Expected sunspots
science diagrams

This diagram shows the number of expected sunspots each year. Scientists can use this diagram to make predictions about the number of expected sunspots in future years. This information is then used to plan satellite orbits in space as well as space missions. Space scientists rely on this information to prevent costly damages to infrastructure and human life. You can see that science diagrams have practical applications even outside the classroom.

The diagram you saw of the solar system earlier is also an example of a space science diagram. This type of diagram is typically used to teach students about the planets in the solar system. With a diagram, students can visualize the objects being talked about. It's one thing to talk about the rings of Saturn, but to actually see it in a picture makes it come to life.

Sample Scenario

You've already read some examples of how these diagrams are used. But let's consider a larger scenario involving the meeting of scientists from all over the world to discuss some important matters relating to the environment.

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