NASA's A Kid-Friendly Solar System offers bite-sized pieces of information for children ages 8 to 13. Adults may enjoy browsing the full Solar System Exploration website.Included are images, press information, and background information about our solar system. The education area includes materials, lesson plans, and resources for children and educators. The missions area provides information about recent and current solar system exploration.
NASA's Space Place offers games, stories, images and more relating to comets and other out-of-this world topics! The article “Thirsty? Have a Comet!” was developed for children ages 10–12 to explain the work being done by scientists to determine the origin of water found in Earth's oceans. Ask an Astronomer for Kids answers most burning questions about comets, planets, black holes, and spacecraft! This site is great for children 9 to 13.
Windows to the Universe provides background information at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels in many topics, including the solar system
Zoom Astronomy, from Enchanted Learning, offers a site that is clear and concise, offering relevant explanations of interstellar bodies for ages 12-15. Interesting facts are also provided on sidebars, along with links to several other sites.
The Nine Planets offers a multimedia tour of our solar system, including information about planets, moons, asteroids, comets, the Kuiper belt, and the Oort cloud. Each component has an overview of scientific information, and is accompanied by images, animations, and links. This website is suitable for young adults and older.
Views of the Solar System is another awesome site that offers a multitude of good introductory content about the solar system, including images, movies, animations, and illustrations (many copyrighted). The site is best for young adults and adults.
3-D Tour of the Solar System provides three-dimensional images of the Sun, planets, moons, and asteroids, as well as an overview of the entire solar system.
The Planetary Photojournal provides excellent copyright-free images of the bodies of our solar system. Aimed at ages 11 and up, the site is easy to navigate.
Get involved with NASA's ground-breaking science discoveries as NASA's Year of the Solar System transitions to New Worlds, New Discoveries! New Worlds, New Discoveries provides an integrated picture of our new understanding of the solar system, combining the amazing discoveries of past NASA planetary missions with the most recent findings of ongoing missions, and connecting them to the related planetary science topics! Find topics, activities, and resources relating to comets under the "Small Bodies/Big Impacts" topic. A quarterly newsletter, for educators and for the planetary education community, is available at http://solarsystem.nasa.gov/yss/downloads.cfm. It includes updates about the Year of the Solar System's new phase, New Worlds, New Discoveries, as well as mission news, upcoming events, ways to get involved, and more!
NASA's Solar System Missions site provides information about all the missions in our solar system — past, present, and future — with links to the mission Web pages. Many of the missions listed have educational materials.
NASA's Earth-Sun System Missions site provides the most recent results from the missions that focus on Earth, our Sun, and the interactions between the two. Many of the missions offer educational materials.
Eyes on the Solar System combines video game technology and NASA data to create an environment for users to ride along with NASA spacecraft and explore the cosmos. Appropriate for ages 8 and up.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is the first mission designed to orbit and land on a comet. The Rosetta orbiter and lander will arrive at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on May 22, 2014, after a 10-year flight to get there! "Mission to Land on a Comet" includes a video and article on this mission.
The Stardust mission collected comet dust and other tiny particles during its flight near Comet Wild and these samples were returned to Earth in 2006. Scientists studied the particles and found that comets are more complex than previously thought and carry with them the basic building blocks of life. The spacecraft also flew past comet Tempel 1 during its extended mission, Stardust-NExT.
The Deep Impact mission propelled a projectile into the surface of comet Tempel 1 to create a huge crater. Not only did this allow scientists to understand the cratering process, but they were able to study a fresh comet surface and gain insights into how our solar system formed. During its extended misision, EPOXI, the flyby spacecraft encountered comet Hartley 2.
For upcoming meteor showers and viewing suggestions, explore StarDate's listing of the year's meteor showers.
Check out a short tour of interesting objects in this month's night sky Space Telescope Science Institute's Tonight's Sky movie, updated monthly. This is an especially useful resource for coordinating with your local astronomical society to showcase constellations, deep sky objects, and planets. Happy stargazing!
Use the tools at the Night Sky Network's Night Sky Planner to plan a stargazing event or connect with current sky events. Find sky charts, information about the rise and set times for the Sun and Moon, Moon phase, and weather forecasts for your location.
Stellarium is planetarium software that shows exactly what you see when you look up at the sky during the day or night. It's easy to use, and free. Appropriate for use with children ages 10 and up.
Children ages 10 and up and adults will enjoy the stunning, detailed imagery of the sky and solar system objects offered by the Microsoft product WorldWide Telescope. "Fly" to any planet, spin its globe, and "zoom in" to see landforms or clouds. Take "guided tours" — some of which are narrated by NASA scientists — of the sky and Mars. Explore the constellations and "zoom in" to see the Milky Way and nebulae.
The Solar System Ambassadors Program is a public outreach program in which volunteers communicate the excitement of JPL's space exploration missions and information about recent discoveries to people in their local communities.
Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy site offers a knowledgeable take on common misconceptions in astronomy and space science — and at the movies. Lots of fun and very informative, this site written for young adults to adults helps educators tackle misconceptions directly.
June 3, 2014