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Beyond our Solar System

In this worksheet, students will explore stars, galaxies and what is beyond our Solar System.

'Beyond our Solar System' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:   Physics: Space Physics

Curriculum subtopic:   Our Sun as a Star, Other Stars and Galaxies

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

Our Sun is a star. We can see lots of stars on a clear night; they are huge balls of gas that give out light and heat. These stars are much further away than the Sun, in other solar systems. Some patterns are visible when looking at the stars carefully, they are called constellations. The diagram below shows various constellations. The names are taken from ancient gods and creatures. 

 

Constellations

 

The invention of telescopes helped study the stars in more depth as it made it easier to see them clearly. When there are large groups of stars together, they belong to a galaxy. Our Sun is part of a galaxy called The Milky Way. We can see part of the Milky Way from the Earth, as in this picture below:

 

Milky Way

 

The closest large galaxy to the Milky Way is the Andromeda galaxy. All these galaxies make up the Universe. There are enormous distances between the stars. Astronomers measure them in light years, i.e. the distance travelled by light in one year. The nearest star to the Sun is called Proxima Centauri. It is 4.2 light years away. It would take a rocket from the Earth more than 12,000 years to reach Proxima Centauri!

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