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Where is the Solar System
in the Universe?
What is the solar system?
• The solar system consists of:
– The sun (which is the name of our star)
– Planets
– Asteroids
– Comets
– Space rocks
Measurement in Astronomy
Scientists find it hard to work with the
measurements we use on earth, like
kilometers and miles, because the
distances are so great it is hard for us
to comprehend such enormous
Light Years
• A light year is equal to the distance
that light travels in one year.
• Light travels 300,000 km per second
• A light year equals 9.5 trillion km
Cool facts!
• It would take eight minutes for light
from the sun to reach earth.
• The farthest objects are about 13.5
billion light years away.
• Galaxies are clusters of stars pulled
together by gravity.
• There are three kinds of galaxies:
– Elliptical
– Irregular
– Spiral
Spiral Galaxies
• Look like giant, flat discs with a bulge in
the middle with spiral arms flaring out
from the center.
• These are typically the largest galaxies.
Spiral Galaxy
Elliptical Galaxies
• Look like rounded, lightly flattened
• These are medium sized galaxies with
very old stars.
Elliptical Galaxy
Irregular Galaxies
• These galaxies have no regular shape.
• They are the smallest and faintest
galaxies, but they are also the most
Irregular Galaxy
What galaxy do we live in?
• We live in the galaxy called the Milky
Way Galaxy.
• It is a spiral shaped galaxy that
contains about 100,000 billion stars.
• Our sun is located about 2/3s of the
way from the center of the galaxy in
one of the spiral arms.
• The distance from the sun to the
center is about 30,000 light years.
• All objects in the Milky Way rotate
around the center, and it would take
the sun and our solar system about 240
million years to make one trip around
the center of the galaxy.
Milky Way Galaxy
What is your space address?
• Pretend you have an alien friend
coming to visit you from another
galaxy. You need to give your friend
directions, so what information would
you need to give the alien to help
them find you?
My Space Address
Street address: __________________________
Solar System: __________________________