Learn to take a systems approach to conceptualize the components and boundaries of the solar system with this video from WGBH. Our solar system consists of the Sun, planets, and smaller objects bound in orbit by the Sun’s gravitational pull. The solar system is vast, and it can be difficult to comprehend the large numbers associated with the sizes and distances of objects. Rather than focus on numbers and details, it can be helpful to develop an understanding of the general pattern of solar system components. For example, the locations of the planets and other objects in the solar system follow a pattern with rocky objects closer to the Sun and the larger gaseous planets and smaller icy objects in the outer solar system. Scientists study the light from distant objects in the solar system to learn more about them.
To view the Background Essay and Teaching Tips for this video, go to Support Materials below. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.