What do we know about the place of the Earth in the Universe?
In GCSE Physics curriculum, the Earth is one of eight planets orbiting the sun in almost circular paths, together with other smaller objects including asteroids, dwarf planets, comets and moons. The solar system is made.
The smaller masses in our solar system are:
- Planets – eight large masses that orbit (move around the sun)
- Moons – small masses that orbit the planets
- Asteroids – small, rocky masses that orbit the Sun
- Comets – small, icy masses that orbit the sun
- Dwarf planets – small spherical objects that have not cleared their orbits of other objects
The solar system was formed over a very long period of time, about 5000 million years ago:
❶ The solar system started as clouds of DUST and GAS, which were pulled together by the force of gravity
❷ This created intense heat. Eventually, NUCLEAR FUSION began to take place and a star was born: the Sun
❸ The remaining dust and gas formed smaller masses, which were attracted to the sun
In GCSE physics, our sun is one of thousands of millions of stars which form the Milky Way. There are thousands of millions of galaxies and every galaxy is made up of thousands of millions of stars – all these galaxies make up the UNIVERSE.
Because stars are so far away, all the evidence we have about distant stars and galaxies come from the RADIATION astronomers can detect. In GCSE physics curriculum, a lot is shown when studying the ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION it emits – e.g. the colour the star appears shows its surface temperature.
End of this part! Lets continue in part II !!
Drafted by Gina (Physics)