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Section 3
Origin of the Universe and the Solar System

In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm Florida, Section 3: Origin of the Universe and the Solar System.


Learning Through Technology

To learn more about extrasolar planets, complete the following:

Planets Outside of Our Solar System

  1. Over the past decade, scientists have made incredible discoveries of planets outside of our solar system. These planets are known as extrasolar planets or exoplanets. Visit NASA's Planet Quest website at http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/.
    1. pencil What is the current exoplanet count?
  2. Go to the New Worlds Atlas on the website and examine the list of all extrasolar planets. Click on the "Disc. Date" column heading to organize the list of planets from most recent to earliest discovered.
    1. pencil How many planets have been discovered in the past month?
    2. pencil How many planets have been discovered in the past year?
  3. Click on the "Light-years from Earth" column heading to organize the list of planets from closest to farthest.
    1. pencil What is the name of the closest planet discovered so far? How far away is it?
    2. pencil What is the name of the farthest planet discovered so far? How far away is it?

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Inquiring Further

  1. To learn more about nuclear fusion, visit the following web sites:

    Fusion Basics, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
    Get started learning about fusion with this brief description of how fusion works.

    How EINSTEIN Arrived at E=MC², Mort Orman, M.D.
    Learn how Albert Einstein came upon his famous equation.

  2. To learn more about star-forming nebulae in the galaxy, visit the following web sites:

    The Hubble Project, NASA
    Learn how the Hubble Space Telescope has helped advance our understanding of space, including star-forming nebulae.

    Hubble Site, Space Telescope Science Institute
    Find out more information about star formation on the Hubble Site.

    European Southern Observatory
    Look through the website of the European Southern Observatory to find more information on star formation.

    Stellar Nurseries, University of Illlinois
    Read about the birth of stars.

    Early Star Formation, ScienceDaily
    Read a brief article about what scientists understand about star formation.

    A Star is Born, Augustana College
    Take a virtual tour through the life of a young star.

  3. To learn more about extrasolar planet research missions, visit the following web site:

    Exoplanet Missions, NASA
    This site lists all of NASA's missions conducting extrasolar planet research.

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Resources

To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

The Nebular Theory

Solar System Formation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This site has a diagram of the formation of the Solar System.

The Solar Nebular Hypothesis, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Tennessee
Read an approximate chronology of the formation of the solar system and see pictures to go along with some of the phases.

The Birth of the Planets

Birth of a Solar System? CNN
This is a report from a discovery by scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that provided some new information about how planets form.

The Solar System
Milky Way Galaxy Fact Sheet, Perth Observatory
Learn some more trivia about the galaxy and our place in it.

Ask the Astronomer, Dr. Sten Odenwald
Find out answers to different questions about our galaxy and others.

Milk Way Images

Multiwave Astronomy , NASA's Infrared Astrophysics Data Center
View all-sky maps that portray the entire Milky Way Galaxy.

Astronomy Pictures of the Day: Milky Way Galaxy, Goddard Space Flight Center
Examine images and pictures of the Milky Way Galaxy.

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Animations and Video

To view animations and video related to this topic, visit the following web sites:

Hubble Deep Field, Space Telescope Science Institute
View a video of deep space as taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  See images of the Universe closer to the time when it formed.

Launchpad: The Search for Exoplanets, NASA
At this website, locate and watch the NASA eClip titled, "Launchpad: The Search for Exoplanets."  This video examines extrasolar planet research efforts.

Launchpad: Kepler, NASA
At this website, locate and watch the NASA eClip titled, "Launchpad: Kepler."  This video examines the efforts of the Kepler Mission to locate Earth-sized and smaller planets.

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