The Best of the Solar System


The images show the variety of features found on the nine planets of the Solar System. Summarize what you have learned. In your journal, make a chart like the one below. In the right-hand column list the planets and moons you saw in your ten images, in their order from the Sun*. For each object, list the major features that appear in all the images of that planet or moon. Some possible features are clouds, belts or bands, rings, mountains, canyons crevices, oceans, craters, rocks, soil, or dunes. Refer back to the Researcher's Descriptions if you need to.

* Remember the name "Mr. Vem J. Sunp"  for Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.

As you studied the images and completed the chart, you may have noticed a pattern. The four inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, have solid surfaces. They are called the terrestrial planets. The Jovian planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, have thick, soupy atmospheres and no solid surface. They are known as the gas giants. The most distant planet, Pluto, does not fit the pattern. Pluto is small and icy with little atmosphere.  It's ok if you thought Pluto might be like the gas giants.  Current images of it cannot show any details of the surface, so they look very smooth.

If you would like to learn more about the planets and their features, or to see more images of the planets, visit the following sites:


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