Lunar and Planetary Institute

Explore! Fun with Science
Our Place in Space
Activity at a Glance
Board Game
Model/Drawing (Life at the Surface)
Model/Drawing (Life Beneath the Surface)
About Our Place in Space
Explore! Home Page
Life in Space


Web Sites


The Sun, Bill Nye, Disney Productions, 1995, 68A57VL00
In this video for ages 4–18 Bill gives an overview of solar flares, eclipses, sunspots, fusion, and other Sun topics. Search the alphabetical listing for "Sun".

Sun, Schlessinger Science Library, 1999, Order Number N6678
Children ages 10–14 can explore the sun and other topics including black holes, light years, and space exploration.

The Sun, Cerebellum Corporation, 2002, ISBN 1581987315
A group called the "standard deviants" takes a trip to our Sun to explore sunspots, solar flares, and the fusion process in this educational video for ages 12–16.

The Sun and Other Stars, World Almanac, Choices Inc., 2000, ASIN 1930545258
How stars form, their stages, and deaths as supernovae, neutron stars, or mysterious black holes are presented here for ages 15 to adult. 3-D graphics are featured to demonstrate difficult theories and principals.

Earth, Sun and Moon (Earth Science-Astronomy Series), Visual Learning Company, 2003, ISBN 1592340555.
The causes of daylight, seasons, and Moon phases are explored in this video for older children (ages 11–14). A teacher's guide is available.


Why Do We Have Day and Night?
Anthony Lewis, 1996, published by Heinemann Educational Books - Library Division, ISBN 0600587797
A clear, well-illustrated discussion of day and night cycles for children ages 4–8. Moon phases and seasons are also presented.

Day and Night (Let's Explore Series)
Henry Pluckrose, 2001, published by Gareth Stevens, ISBN 0836829581
The reasons for day and night are presented in easy-to-read text with large print and photographs for young children, ages 4&ndMay 12, 2005ects on people are explained.

What Makes Day and Night?
Franklyn Branley, 1999, published by Bt Bound Publishers, ISBN 0808523775
Branley presents an illustrated explanation of Earth's rotation in a straightforward manner for young children ages 7–8. The text includes an experiment to demonstrate the concept of day and night.

What Makes the Seasons?
Megan Montague Cash, Viking Children's Books, 2003, ISBN 067003598X
The changing seasons are depicted as a little girl and her cat explore each time of year. A good read-aloud for children ages 4–8 and a springboard for more thorough investigations.

Celebrate Seasons/Book and CD Kit
Sara Jordan, Sara Jordan Publishing, 1999, ISBN 1894262034
Jordan offers a collection of 10 songs and activities to celebrate and learn about the seasons, including solstices and equinoxes, and how seasons differ in different parts of the world.

Why Do We Have Different Seasons?
Isaac Asimov, Gareth Stevens Publishers, 1997, ASIN 0836804392
Asimov offers a simple, thorough explanation of seasons with illustrations and photographs for children ages 7–11. Seasonal aspects of migration, hibernation, and celebrations are integrated into the discussion.

Sunshine Makes the Seasons
Franklyn Branley, Harper Trophy, 1986, ISBN 0064450198
Children ages 5–8 will enjoy the scores of colorful illustrations in this easy-to-read text. Emphasis is placed on the causes of seasonal change and includes a useful demonstration with a pencil and an orange.

Why Does the Moon Change Its Shape?
Patricia J. Murphy, Powerkids Press, 2004, ISBN 0823962342
Murphy acquaints young readers ages 5–10 with Moon phases by offering clear explanations, full-color photos, and a glossary of terms.

The Moon and You
E. C. and Robin Krupp, HarperCollins, 2000, ISBN 0688178189
Ancient Moon lore, scientific facts, data, and humor are blended to provide a detailed description behind moon phases. This kid-friendly approach and beautiful illustrations will delight and inform children (and adults!) of all ages. A good read-aloud selection for educators.

The Best Book of the Moon
Ian Graham, Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin, 1999, ISBN 0753451743

In Graham's book are the answers to questions children ages 7–11 want to know, including short sections on eclipses and why the Moon seems to change shape.

The Moon
Carmen Bredeson, Franklin Watts Publishing, 1998, ISBN 0531203085
Bredeson presents comprehensive coverage of a variety of Moon-related facts and topics, from Moon superstitions and myths to exploration. Photos enhance the clear and concise text for children ages 8–12.

The Creeping Tide
Gail Herman and John Nez, 2003, Kane Press, ISBN 1575651289
Herman and Nez present a book on tides for children ages 9–12 from the ‘'science solves it” series.

Death From Space: What Killed the Dinosaurs
Isaac Asimov, Gareth Stevens, 1994, ISBN 0836811291
Asimov introduces young readers ages 5–12 to interstellar bodies that could have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Killer Rocks from Outer Space
Steven Koppes, Lerner Publishing Group, 2004, ISBN 0822528614
Children ages 10–13 will learn about Near Earth Objects including topics such as past impacts, the future threat of impacts and defending planet Earth.

Cosmic Debris
Isaac Asimov, Gareth Stevens, 1994, ISBN 0836811305
Small rocky bodies found in our solar system are examined by Asimov in a book for children ages 6–12. Includes a chapter on asteroids — a threat to earth?

Asteroid Impact
Doug Henderson, Dial Books, 2000, ISBN 0803725000
Young readers ages 10–13 learn about Near Earth Objects in this explanation of asteroids, dinosaur extinction and our future here on Earth.

Asteroids, Comets, And Meteors
Gregory Vogt, Millbrook Press, 1996, ISBN 1562946013
Vogt offers children ages 4–8 an introduction to asteroids, comets, and meteors and their impact on Earth's past.

The Sun (Eye on the Universe)
Niki Walker and Bobbie Kalman, 2000, Crabtree Publishing, ISBN 0865056927
The relationship between our Sun and Earth is explained in this book for young children ages 4–8. Photographs and illustrations augment the text.

Our Very Own Star: The Sun
NASA's Central Operation of Resources (NASA CORE) Set of booklets to help children ages 5–9 investigate solar flares, sunspots, and why scientists study our Sun. Available on line with graphics, text, interaction, and animation in both English and Spanish. Go to and type in "Our Very Own Star: The Sun.”

Secrets of Our Sun: A Closer Look at Our Star (Space Explorer)
Patricia Barnes-Svarney, 2000, Raintree/Steck-Vaughn, ISBN 0739822241
Children ages 9–12 are included as part of a team of scientists exploring the birthplace of stars. They explore how solar scientists use state-of-the-art instruments in their study of our Sun and learn about solar winds, sunspots, and other solar phenomena.

The Sun
Ron Miller, 2002, 21st Century Books, ISBN 0761323554
NASA photos and space paintings illustrate this account of the Sun's past, present, and future and its effects on Earth. Instructions for building a safe pinhole solar projector are included in this book for children ages 9–14.

A Look at the Sun (Out of this World Series)
Ray Spangenburg, Kit Moser, Diane Moser, 2001, Franklin Watts, Incorporated, ISBN 0531117642
An in-depth look at our Sun along with a unique graphic timeline; biographical sidebars; sidebars on scientific theories, tables, and charts; and a resources section are presented in this compendium of solar information for young astronomers ages 12–16.

Secrets of the Aurora Borealis
Syun-Ichi Akasofu, Alaska Geographic Society, 2002, ISBN 1566610583
Intended for general audiences, this is a science-based introduction to auroras.

Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights
Candace Savage, Firefly Books, 2001, ISBN 1552095835
Savage explains why and how northern lights occur, what makes them move the way they do, and where they come from.

Northern Lights: The Science, Myth, and Wonder of Aurora Borealis
Calvin Hall, Sasquatch Books, 2001, ISBN 1570612900
Both the myth and science behind the Northern Lights are covered in this book for older children and adults.

Cosmic Company: The Search for Life in the Universe
Seth Shostak and Alex Barnett, Cambridge University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0521822335
Good introduction for general audiences wanting to know about why scientists think life might exist on other worlds.

Mars: A Warmer Wetter Planet
Jeff Kargel, Springer-Praxis, 2004, ISBN: 1852335688
A book for older children and adults that covers recent Mars topics including does life exist today or has life existed in the past.

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Web Sites

Thursday's Classroom
Children ages 7–14 can learn about the sunrise at the South Pole — the first in six months! — and explore more about why we have seasons. Activities and engaging reading.

NASA Kids shares a brief explanation of the changing day length through an exploration of the seasons for children. Includes an animation of the seasons and vocabulary explanations.

Earth Moon Viewer is an interactive package that allows older children and adults to view Earth daylight/darkness from a variety of viewpoints. Visitors can manipulate location and time of viewing. The basic map can be found at this site. | Fundamentals of Physical Geography
A detailed explanation of seasons for young adults and adults.

What do students really think is the reason for the seasons? Phil Plait's site reveals and dispels everyday misconceptions about seasons, phases of the Moon, and more in his “Bad Astronomy” Web site. Great resource for educators … you can find out what's probably in the minds of the children ahead of time!

Several sites from Enchanted Learning offer relevant explanations of seasons, lunar phases, solar cycles, near-Earth asteroids and more about Earth's place in space for children ages 10–15. Additional resources, games, activities, and other links also are provided.

Introduction to the Sun
The Moon
Introduction to the Earth

The changing faces of the Moon's surface are presented in a clear and detailed illustration for younger and older children along with the explanations for different Moon “names” and a brief narrative of Moon phases. Also offered are a blank Moon-phases diagram for labeling, a Moon coloring page and quiz, and links to several other Web sites.

StarChild, produced for NASA by the Goddard Space Flight Center, offers an educational and entertaining site that allows viewers of all ages to have fun with Moon phasing.

Windows to the Universe - The Earth's Moon
Windows to the Universe, provided by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), shares a brief explanation of Moon phases for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners enhanced by a link to special names given to particular phases, a graphic of lunar eclipses, and Galileo's drawings of the phases of our Moon.

provides up-to-date information on our Moon and lunar events for skywatchers, including Moon phasing.

Aspire- Astrophysics Science Project - Integrating Research and Education
Children ages 12–15 can learn about lunar phases and take an interactive quiz.

The Astronomical Applications Department of the U.S. Naval Observatory presents all sorts of data on day length, equinoxes, solstices, perihelion, and aphelion, eclipses, lunar phases — past and future for any location on the globe. The site is primarily intended for young adults and adults.

Lunar Tides
Good site for scientific explanations of lunar tides and for general information related to tides. For children ages 11 and up.

All About Oceans and Seas
This site for children ages 5–9 offers a good explanation for kids on what causes tides, the sun's interaction with tides, waves, tsunami's, the water cycle, and additional web links.

This Planetary Society Web site
provides information for young adults and adults about Near Earth Objects. It offers news, current mission information, asteroid, meteorite and comet articles, impact information and links to related topics.

The Near Earth Objects information center
is a site for older children and adults who want the latest news, events, resources and facts about NEO's.

NASA's Near Earth Objects Program tracks asteroids and comets that may come a little too close to Earth for comfort. The site includes links to missions, NEO data, FAQs, images, and related resources.

The Sun-Earth Connection
shares NASA discoveries and knowledge from past and current missions and research with a focus on the active Sun and its effects on Earth. Abundant resources for educators, students, and the general public.

The Stanford Solar Center is a creative and informative site that features news articles, activities, solar folklore, posters, and other resources.

SOHO - Exploring the Sun
The SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) mission investigates the internal structure of our Sun from deep space. Dedicated to Sun-related topics, the Web site shares information pertaining to the mission and provides a multitude of other resources including Dr. SOHO and the latest hotshots of our Sun.

Windows to the Universe, a program of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, launches you into a variety of Sun topics on all levels. The site is user friendly and includes a section on Sun myths and stories from around the world.

Nordlys - Northern Lights
Many characteristics of the auroras are covered at this site for older children and adults. Included are information, mythology, frequency and location, and photos sections.

Auroras - Paintings in the Sky
Children of all ages will enjoy this northern lights Web site. The site includes activities, self-guided tours, and aurora links.

Aurora photo gallery provided by the Science at NASA website.

Aurora Season Begins article on what causes the Northern Lights. For children ages 12 and older.

NASA's astrobiology magazine includes research, imagery and numerous individual planetary topics that young adults and adults will find informative.

The Exploratorium presents ongoing research — the people, places, and ideas — about the search for life for young adults and older.

NOVA's astrobiology site for children ages 10 and up provides interactive activities, slide shows, and additional resources.

The Astrobiology Program of NASA's Ames Research Center shares current missions and research exploring our Universe for evidence of life. Good resources for young adults.

The Space Telescope Science Institute oversees the educational arm of NASA's origins research. The site includes links to missions, research findings, news, articles and activities for children, educators, and the general public. offers links to several sites on the Web, articles, etc. for information on astrobiology.

Current research, educator and children's resources, articles, etc. are available through NASA's Astrobiology Institute.

SETI, the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence hosts news, information, and resources about the search for life in our universe.

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Last updated
May 12, 2005