Describe the major components of the solar system.

Note that each question is broken down into several sub-questions. I’ve included these sub-questions to give you more guidance on what a complete answer to the question should include. Your answers should cover all of the sub-questions.

1. Describe the major components of the solar system.

  • What are planets and how do they compare to each other in size?
  • How are the planets in the solar system arranged and how far is it to the farthest planets?
  • What are moons and where do we find them? How do they compare in size to the planets?
  • What and where is the asteroid belt? The Kuiper belt? The Oort cloud?
  • What is the Sun? How does it compare in size to the other objects in the solar system?

2. What are stars and galaxies and how are they related?

  • What are stars made of?
  • What does the term light year mean?
  • How far are the nearest stars in light years?
  • How do the sizes of different types of stars compare with each other and with the Sun?
  • What is the Milky Way galaxy made of?
  • Where in the Milky Way galaxy is our solar system?
  • How many stars are in our galaxy and how big is our galaxy?
  • What is the group of galaxies that includes our Milky Way and how many galaxies are in it?
  • How old is the universe and how do we tell?

3. What are some big numbers you see used (outside of science classes)? How would you write these in exponential notation (use ^ to indicate exponents).

  • What is the largest population you know? Give the value in exponential notation.
  • What is the largest distance you use (outside of science classes)? Give the value in exponential notation.
  • What is the largest amount of money you hear described? Give the value in exponential notation.
  • What are other large numbers you come across? Give the values in exponential notation.

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