Planetariums in Astronomy - The First Planetariums
Looking back through the ages, it seems as if the first type of planetariums in astronomy was created by Archimedes. That is more than 2000 years ago. Even though it was a primitive design, it was thought to be able to predict the movement of the sun, moon, and the planets.
More recently, planetariums in astronomy are large domed buildings, like a theatre of sorts, where scenes of the stars and planets are projected against the ceiling to create a simulation of the different areas of the universe.
Now, what would the kids do if you had one of these devices at your home? Maybe a smaller version that can be used in their bedrooms, or somewhat more epic for use in the den. This could be another excellent way to increase their love for astronomy and therefore be a fun way to learn about outer space.
Solar System Facts
Here are some interesting facts about our solar system and galaxy:
- Our solar system is about 4.6 billion years old
- We have 8 planets in our solar system
- The inner planets are smaller and consist mostly of rocks and metal. They are called the terrestrial planets (Mercury, Earth, Venus, and Mars).
- The outer planets are large and consists mostly of gases. They are called the gas giants (Jupiter, Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune).
- Since 2008 we also have several dwarf planets (Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Makemake, and Haumea.)
- The Sun contains 99.86% of all the known mass in the universe.
- The biggest volcano discovered in the solar system is on Mars. It is 374 miles wide and 16 miles high.
- The biggest valley in the solar system is also on Mars. It is about 2500 miles long. That is more than 10 times that of the Grand Canyon.
- Our galaxy is called the Milky Way.
- The closest star to the earth after the sun is Proxima Centauri.
- The are approximately 100 billion solar systems in the Milky Way.
The Milky Way
Our galaxy in which our solar system and planets reside is called the Milky Way. The name was derived from Greek and Latin where it means the milky circle. The reason for the name is because it almost appears to be made of a single white band of light that can be seen in the night sky.
The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy and is one of the billions of galaxies that make up the universe. It is predicted that it contains between 220 and 400 billion stars and 100 billion planets. These are just predictions as it is as of yet not entirely possible to see every galaxy and star individually. Looking at the vastness of space, it seems like it will take a very long time for us to learn all about our universe.
The centre of the Milky Way is assumed to be a supermassive black hole and is known as Sagittarius A.