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Ch 3: Earth in the Solar System

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons to learn about the relationship of the Earth to the rest of the solar system, including the sun. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these topics.

Earth in the Solar System - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

In this chapter, you'll take a visual journey through the solar system and get an up-close look at the galaxies, planets and stars that orbit the sun. At the beginning of the lesson, you'll learn about the origins of the solar system and how the galaxies, such as our very own Milky Way, came into existence. The sun, our closest stellar neighbor and one of 100 billion stars in the galaxy, will be discussed, including its 'blemishes' and layers. You'll also find out how stars are born, mature and die, as well as how they illuminate the night sky.

As your trip continues, you'll visit the inner and outer regions of the solar system, including the Earth's nearest and most distance planetary neighbors, such as Venus and Neptune. Additional topics will include the satellites and secondary bodies that inhabit the system, such as the moon, dwarf planets, asteroids and comets. When you return to Earth, you should be able to:

  • Explain how galaxies, the moon and stars are formed
  • Understand the life stages of the stars and sun
  • Measure the distances between the different bodies in the solar system
  • Identify the inner and outer planets of the solar system
  • Name the dwarf planets
  • Distinguish between asteroids and meteorites

VideoObjective
Galaxy Formation: Spiral, Elliptical and Irregular GalaxiesDefine the three main categories of galaxies, and explain how they were formed.
Structure of the Sun Identify the six layers of the sun.
Stages of the Sun's Life Cycle Discuss the life cycle of the sun, including the events associated with its individual stages.
Star Formation: Main Sequence, Dwarf and Giant StarsExplain how the different types of stars are formed.
Types of Stars by Size, Color and Life CycleIdentify stars according to color, life cycle and size.
Astronomical Units and Light YearsUnderstand how to use astronomical units and light years to measure the distances between the Earth, sun and stars.
Stars as a Source of LightDescribe how the moon and planets shine by the reflected light of the stars and sun.
Inner Planets of the Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth and MarsDiscuss the earth and its closest neighbors in the solar system.
Outer Planets of the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and NeptuneIdentify and describe the outer planets in the solar system.
Dwarf Planets of the Solar System: Pluto, Eris, Haumea and CeresName and describe the smallest planets in the solar system.
Asteroids, Meteorites and Comets: Definitions and CharacteristicsDefine and characterize comets and the rocky bodies found in the solar system.
Formation of the Moon: TheoriesCompare and contrast the different theories used to explain how the moon was formed.

12 Lessons in Chapter 3: Earth in the Solar System
Galaxy Formation: Spiral, Elliptical & Irregular Galaxies

1. Galaxy Formation: Spiral, Elliptical & Irregular Galaxies

This lesson explains how galaxies form, starting with the Big Bang. You'll also learn about the solar nebula hypothesis and three galaxy types, including spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies.

Structure of the Sun

2. Structure of the Sun

Discover the layers of the sun, including the core, radiative zone, convective zone, photosphere, chromosphere, and corona. Find out which layers you can see from Earth. Investigate what sunspots and solar flares are.

Stages of the Sun's Life Cycle

3. Stages of the Sun's Life Cycle

Discover our Sun, the provider of energy for life on Earth. Learn how the Sun was born, how it lives as a main sequence star, how it will age into a red giant and how it will die as a white dwarf.

Star Formation: Main Sequence, Dwarf & Giant Stars

4. Star Formation: Main Sequence, Dwarf & Giant Stars

Learn how stars are born, beginning with a protostar. Then learn about stars in later stages of life, including main sequence stars, brown dwarfs, red giants, and black holes.

Types of Stars by Size, Color and Life Cycle

5. Types of Stars by Size, Color and Life Cycle

Learn to identify the different sizes and colors of stars and how they relate to the star life cycle. In this lesson, we'll talk about spectral classification, how many stars there are of each type and the approximate color of the different classes of stars.

Astronomical Units & Light Years: Definition & Examples

6. Astronomical Units & Light Years: Definition & Examples

After watching this video, you will be able to explain why we need special astronomical ways of measuring distance. You will also be able to state the meaning of the terms astronomical unit, light year and parsec. A short quiz will follow.

Stars as a Source of Light: Definition & Explanation

7. Stars as a Source of Light: Definition & Explanation

After reviewing this lesson, you will be able to explain how stars are a source of light, and why we see other objects in our solar system. A short quiz will follow.

Inner Planets of the Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars

8. Inner Planets of the Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars

Take a tour of the four inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Known as the terrestrial planets, find out what makes each of them unique and how they are different from the outer planets, the gas giants.

Outer Planets of the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

9. Outer Planets of the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

Take a tour of the outer planets of our solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Find out what makes each of these gas giants unique and learn about Pluto, a dwarf planet.

Dwarf Planets of the Solar System: Pluto, Eris, Haumea & Ceres

10. Dwarf Planets of the Solar System: Pluto, Eris, Haumea & Ceres

Discover why Pluto had to leave the league of planets and was downgraded to a dwarf planet. Learn the definitions for planet and dwarf planet. Find out about the currently classified dwarf planets in our solar system: Pluto, Eris, Ceres, Haumea and Makemake.

Asteroids, Meteorites & Comets: Definitions and Characteristics

11. Asteroids, Meteorites & Comets: Definitions and Characteristics

This lesson will cover the definitions and characteristics of asteroids, comets and meteorites. It will also explore what impact they have had on Earth and the impact they might have in the future.

Formation of the Moon: Theories

12. Formation of the Moon: Theories

Explore the four major theories on the formation of the Moon. The theories include the fission theory, capture theory, condensation theory and giant impact theory. Also look at both information supporting and flaws found in these theories.

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