Lunar and Planetary Institute

Solar System - Planet Sizes Standards
EXPLORE! Solar System

Solar System

Correlations to National Science Standards

Physical Science – Content Standard B

Transfer of Energy

  • Light interacts with matter by transmission (including refraction), absorption, or scattering (including reflection). To see an object, light from that object — emitted by or scattered from it — must enter the eye.
  • The Sun is a major source of energy for changes on Earth's surface. The Sun loses energy by emitting light. A tiny fraction of that light reaches Earth, transferring energy from the Sun to Earth. The Sun's energy arrives as light with a range of wavelengths, consisting of visible light, infrared, and ultraviolet radiation.

Earth and Space Science – Content Standard D

Earth's History

  • The Earth processes we see today, including erosion, movement of lithospheric plates, and changes in atmospheric composition, are similar to those that occurred in the past. Earth history is also influenced by occasional catastrophes, such as the impact of an asteroid or comet.

Earth in the Solar System

  • The Earth is the third planet from the Sun in a system that includes the Moon, the Sun, eight other planets and their moons, and smaller objects, such as asteroids and comets. The Sun, an average star, is the central and largest body in the solar system.
  • Most objects in the solar system are in regular and predictable motion. Those motions explain such phenomena as the day, the year, phases of the moon, and eclipses.
  • Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the Sun and governs the rest of the motion in the solar system. Gravity alone holds us to Earth's surface and explains the phenomena of the tides.
  • The Sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on Earth's surface, such as plant growth, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle.


Last updated
October 5, 2009