Asteroid Facts for Kids
Observers used to call them vermin of the skies. Asteroids weren't interesting and their streaks ruined sky photos. But not any more! We know that they can tell us about the early Solar System, one of them may have meant the end of the dinosaurs, and there could be more heading our way.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012
An exquisite whirlpool of two galaxies held together by invisible bonds was this year's winning image. And the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year captured the beauty of the Pleiades, a cluster of hot blue stars surrounded by a delicate haze of reflective dust. A feast for the eye.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012
An exquisite whirlpool of two galaxies held together by invisible bonds was this year´s winning image. And the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year captured the beauty of the Pleiades, a cluster of hot blue stars surrounded by a delicate haze of reflective dust. A feast for the eye.
Bang! - The Universe Verse - book review
What would it take to explain the Big Bang Theory? James Lu Dunbar's "Bang!" might do it - and amuse you and your children at the same time. It's a splendid little book which tells the story of the universe in verse and appealing graphics.
Biggest in the Solar System - Facts for Kids
The biggest impact crater on Earth is the Vredefort crater in South Africa, and the highest mountain is Everest. But what about the rest of the Solar System? Which features are the biggest ones in the whole Solar System?
Books for Young People
Reviews of books aimed at young people or which would be suitable for school-aged pupils.
Ceres Facts for Kids
Bode's Law predicted a planet between Mars and Jupiter. The Sky Police were looking for it, but Giuseppe Piazzi found it on New Year's Day 1801. Then someone found another one. And another one. We know of hundreds of thousands of asteroids now. Discover Ceres - planet, asteroid and dwarf planet.
Comets - Facts for Kids
People once thought that comets were the messengers of major disasters. Today we know that they are visitors from the most distant regions of the Solar System. Other stars have exoplanets and they seem to have exocomets too.
Constellations - Facts for Kids
Some of our constellations go back thousands of years. Others were invented when Europeans began to explore the distant seas of the southern hemisphere. But what?s the difference between a constellation, an asterism and a star cluster? And what does the constellation Pyxis represent?
Copernicus for Kids
Since the name of Nicolaus Copernicus is still well known nearly five hundred years after his death, why was his grave unmarked until 2010? Find out about the life of the quiet revolutionary that turned our view of the universe inside out.
Distances in Space - Facts for Kids
How tall are you? How far away is New York City? How far away is the Moon? How about the nearest planet, star, or galaxy? Do we measure them in inches, kilometers or light years? Find out why we choose some measuring units and not others.
Dorado and Volans – Facts for Kids
Flying fish live in warm oceans, and so do the mahi mahi fish. Sailors in the southern seas saw the flying fish using their side fins like wings to glide through the air – sometimes chased by hungry mahi mahi. Dorado (Mahi mahi) pursues Volans (Flying fish) in the stars of the southern sky.
Dwarf Planet Tour for Kids
After all the fuss about Pluto, everybody knows that it's a dwarf planet now. But it's only one of five. Here's a mini tour of all five, including the one where a heatwave is the temperature of Antarctica, the one shaped like an egg, and one whose year is over 500 Earth years long. All aboard!
Enceladus Facts for Kids
Enceladus is a small moon of Saturn that seems to be frozen. It's the coldest moon in Saturn's system because its bright surface reflects almost all of the sunlight that hits it. But under the ice is a liquid ocean and scientists wonder if there might be life there.
Eris – Facts for Kids
At first astronomers thought Eris was bigger than Pluto, and that it was a tenth planet. But both Eris and Pluto ended up as dwarf planets. Eris is now farther away from the Sun than any known object except for some comets. It's so cold that its atmosphere has frozen and dropped to the ground.
Europa Facts for Kids
Astronomers are very interested in Jupiter's moon Europa. They think that it has a large ocean covering the moon under its icy crust, and that it would be a good place to look for life.
Galaxy Facts for Kids
The Milky Way used to be the only galaxy people knew. Big telescopes changed that. Now we know there are billions of them. They come in different sizes and shapes and have some surprises for us.
Halley's Comet for Kids
It visits every 75 years or so, appearing like a celestial ghost in our skies. In the past it has been a bad omen and scary object, but last time it came it was a big event around the world. What is it? Halley's Comet, the most famous comet of all.
Haumea – Facts for Kids
Out in the Kuiper Belt, beyond Neptune and even farther away than Pluto, lie products of an ancient collision – they include a dwarf planet and its two moons.
Herschel Partnership - for Kids
The Herschels were one of the greatest astronomical families of all time. A partnership of two brothers and a sister built the best telescopes of their time, and with those telescopes mapped the deep sky. They changed the way astronomers understood the heavens.
How the Sun Was Born – Facts for Kids
The Sun didn't exist five billion years ago. But the material to make it did. There was even enough to make a number of stars and still have material left over for planets, moons and other small bodies. What was this material, and how did it end up as stars and planets?
How the Sun Will Die - Facts for Kids
The Sun was born in a nebula five billion years ago. It's going to keep going for another few billion years, but it won't last forever. Here's the story of what happens to a sunlike star when it runs out of fuel. And some of it is very strange.
John Herschel – Facts for Kids
It can be hard to be the son of a famous man. Although his father was the first person in history to discover a planet, John Herschel had his own illustrious career. He was not only an astronomer, but also a brilliant mathematician, a talented artist, musician and poet, and a loving family man.
Jupiter Facts for Kids
It's the king of the Roman gods and comet-killer, containing two and a half times the mass of all the other planets put together and with the shortest day of any planet in the Solar System. It's Jupiter! Find out more.
Jupiter's Moons – Facts for Kids
Jupiter has at least 79 moons. Some of them are only half a mile long, but one is bigger than the planet Mercury. Which moon has hundreds of volcanoes, and which one has a deep ocean under an icy surface? Find out here.
Kuiper Belt - Facts for Kids
Pluto's not the last planet, it's the first Kuiper Belt Object. The Kuiper Belt is made up of millions of icy bits left over from the beginning of the Solar System. It starts at 30 AU - that's 30 times farther from the Sun than the Earth. From there it stretches for another 2 billion miles!
Life and Death of Massive Stars – Facts for Kids
Stars are all born in the same way, but they live and die in different ways. A star's mass rules how hot it will be, how long it will shine, and how it will end.
Light Pollution - Facts for Kids
Thieves are stealing something that belongs to you. It´s something you inherited from countless generations of your ancestors: a view of the night sky. The unnecessary lighting that hides it also damages wildlife, increases air pollution and can damage your health. What can we do?
Makemake - Facts for Kids
Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz discovered an icy object out in the Kuiper Belt nearly five billion miles from the Sun. Three years later the International Astronomical Union (IAU) listed it as a dwarf planet, and named it Makemake.
Mars Facts for Kids
Mars has no little green men, but it's a fascinating place. It has a mountain three times the height of Everest and a deep valley that dwarfs the Grand Canyon. Although Mars has no liquid water on the surface, if the southern polar icecap melted, it could cover the planet 36 feet deep in water.
Mercury - 10 Facts for Kids
Mercury is close enough to the Sun for lead to melt during the day. Yet there is ice at the poles. Before we had space probes, Mercury was a mystery hidden in the Sun's glare, but all that's changed.
Meteors and Meteorites – Facts for Kids
What's the difference between meteors and meteorites? And what is a meteoroid? Are they different from shooting stars, falling stars and fireballs?
Milky Way - Facts for Kids
We live in the Milky Way galaxy. When we look up at the sky all the stars we see are part of the Milky Way. But did you know that most of the Galaxy is made of mysterious, invisible dark matter and that there’s an even darker secret at its heart?
Moon Facts for Kids
The Moon has no air, no sound, no weather and no liquid water. But you could see the Earth in the sky, shining more brightly than the Moon does from Earth. And since gravity is weaker, you could jump quite high and the footprint you left might last a million years.
Moons of Mars - Facts for Kids
Earth's moon is “the Moon” because it was the only one humans had ever seen until 1610. That's when Galileo discovered moons orbiting Jupiter. By 1876 astronomers had found moons around all of the outer planets. So why did it take until 1877 for someone to find the moons of our neighbor Mars?
Moons of Uranus - Facts for Kids
William Herschel was the first person ever to discover a planet. In 1781 he discovered the planet which was named Uranus for the ancient Greek sky god. Although Uranus has at least 27 moons, most of them weren't discovered until the Space Age.
Nebulae - Ten Facts for Kids
Nebulae are great clouds of gas and dust in the spaces between the stars. Some of them are made from dying stars. Others are the nurseries for new stars. Here are ten facts about these surprising objects.
Neptune Facts for Kids
Far beyond Uranus is another blue planet, one named for the Greek sea god. It could well have been named for a god of winds as it's the windiest place in the Solar System. Find out more about Neptune, the planet that was discovered using math.
Oort Cloud - Facts for Kids
Where do comets come from? The Oort Cloud is home to a trillion comets at the edge of the Solar System, nearly half way to the next star. Sometimes they get kicked out and sometimes they come to visit the inner Solar System.
Orion's Dogs - Facts for Kids
There are several canines in the night sky, including a wolf and a fox. But the best known canine constellations are Canis Major (the Greater Dog) and Canis Minor (the Lesser Dog).
Pluto Facts for Kids
A dwarf planet so far away that the Sun would look like a exceptionally bright star, so cold that its atmosphere is frozen for most of its year. This is Pluto, former planet, and now the gateway to the Kuiper Belt.
Polaris - Facts for Kids
Polaris, the North Star, has been a navigation star for 1500 years. It?s easy to find using the pointer stars of the Big Dipper. Did you know that it hasn?t always been the North Star? Or that it?s really three stars?
Quaoar - Facts for Kids
50000 Quaoar - a cubewano and probable dwarf planet in the distant icy Kuiper Belt. The number comes from the Minor Planet Center and the name from the creation god of the Tongva people whose ancestors have lived in the Los Angeles area for a thousand years and more.
Quasar Facts for Kids
Quasars are the brightest and most distant objects in the universe. And when we see them we are looking into the past, to a time even before our Sun and Solar System existed.
Red Dwarfs - Ten Facts for Kids
If you go outside on a clear dark night, you might see a few thousand stars. But without a telescope, not a single one will be the most common type of star in the Universe. You won't see red dwarfs, the stars that will still be shining in the far distant future when all the others have died.
Rhea - Saturn's Moon Facts for Kids
Even being Saturn's second biggest moon doesn't make Rhea very big. You could fit three Rheas across the USA and still have room left over. It whizzes around Saturn in four and a half days, making for very short months. It's so cold there that ice is literally as hard as rock.
Rosetta's Story – Facts for Kids
It's gone where no space mission has been before! Rosetta caught up with a comet in deep space and went into orbit around it. The lander Philae was the first ever to land on a comet. At the end of the mission Rosetta also landed on the comet to join it in its journey.
Saturn Facts for Kids
Saturn is golden in the sky, and a telescope shows a ring system to take your breath away. If you could find enough water Saturn would float, and its moons are amazing. But if you don't like freezing weather, 1000-mph winds and lightning storms the size of continental USA, don't plan any visits.
Saturn’s Moons - Facts for Kids
Everybody recognizes Saturn’s rings, but that isn?t all that orbits the planet. There are shepherd moons, a moon with cold volcanoes erupting, a planet-sized moon, and more. It took nearly two hundred years for the first seven known moons to get names.
Solar System - Tour for Kids
Take a quick tour of the Solar System, the star system where we live. It´s our neighborhood of the Milky Way. Find out what lies between the Sun and the edge of the Oort Cloud.
Star Names in Harry Potter Stories
In the Harry Potter books there are a number of characters that are named for stars and constellations. You can find out more about these stars - and for those that don't know the books, there's a bit of background on the characters.
Stars – Ten Facts for Kids
Stars are nuclear reactors. If a really big one took the Sun´s place, it would swallow up the Sun and everything as far away as Jupiter. Yet others aren´t much bigger than Jupiter. Big stars don´t live very long and die in a blaze of glory. Smaller ones live for billions of years.
Tarantula Nebula – Facts for Kids
Arachnophobes needn't worry about this tarantula. It's not a big spider, it's a big nebula that looks a bit like a spider in some photos. It's also so far away that its light takes 170,000 years to get here. Stars are born there, stars die there, and it's a spectacular object.
The Sun - Facts for Kids
The Sun is a star and it's a big one. It's bigger than 85% of the other stars in the Milky Way and contains almost all of the mass of the whole Solar System. Find out more about the star that makes life on Earth possible.
Titan Facts for Kids
Saturn's moon Titan is bigger than a planet. It's the only moon with a thick atmosphere. In fact the atmosphere is so smoggy, we can't see the surface. But the Cassini-Huygens mission has found out many of its secrets, including lakes and sand dunes and maybe volcanoes.
Triton Facts for Kids
Neptune's big moon Triton was nameless for over a hundred years after its discovery. And it was so far away that astronomers knew almost nothing about it. Then Voyager 2 visited and saw active ice volcanoes on a moon that is probably a cousin to Pluto.
Uranus Facts for Kids
This ice giant is twenty times farther from the Sun than we are. It orbits lying on its side so that half the planet can be dark for over twenty years at a time. This is the planet Uranus, discovered by William Herschel in 1871 and nearly named George!
Venus Facts for Kids
It's the planet most likely to mistaken for a UFO. It spins backwards on its axis. A day is longer than a year. It's Venus! Some call it Earth's twin, but I think you'll see that we don't have all that much in common.
Vesta Facts for Kids
NASA's Dawn mission spent 14 months orbiting the asteroid Vesta. Vesta's an unusual object too small to be a dwarf planet. Yet it has the Solar System's tallest mountain and canyons comparable to Earth's Grand Canyon. It may also be the key to understanding the early Solar System.
Visiting Venus - Facts for Kids
Would you like to visit another planet? How about Mars or Venus? Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin wants to see astronauts on Mars, but could Venus be a better choice?
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