This page includes possible supplemental activities and background
information on the Solar Nebular Theory. The page does not
include an index or links so just scroll down through the page to
see what is here.
This tutorial follows the 15-billion-year-long history of the
Universe (including the Big Bang, Star Formation, Planetary
Formation, Earth-like Planet Formation, Jupiter-like-planet
Formation, and the Chemistry of Life).
Make a scale model of the Solar System and learn the REAL definition
Voyage: A Journey Through the Solar System along the National
Mall in Washington DC
Planning a visit to the nation's capital? If so, check out the
scale model of the solar system along the National Mall. For
more information, read this article about the new exhibit in the
October issue of Smithsonian
To learn more about the five stars nearest to the Sun, visit the
following web sites:
These notes outline five different theories that have been proposed
for the formation of the Moon (not counting the one involving green
Get an explanation of the basic astronomical factors which produce
tides and tidal currents.
Tides, University of Massachusetts @ Dartmouth
What causes the daily change in tides? Why are some high tides
higher than most? And what does this all mean for the animals and
Part C: Tides and Lunar Phases
To complete the investigation, each student group will need:
Internet access (or printouts of tidal data for several cities
near your community):
To find tidal data for several different cities, visit the
following web sites:
http://co-ops.nos.noaa.gov/tp4days.html IMPORTANT: Please
review the following information to help understand the tidal
prediction data. Or try the following pages on the NOAA -
Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Service:
Standard Format - This format is available in hard copy and an
electronic, ASCII file which provides time and height of tide
information for a single location in a page readable format. The
following example for EASTPORT, ME, April, 1997 shows the
predictions in AM/PM Time and has been adjusted for Daylight
Savings Time. Eastport, Maine T.M. 75
Tide Predictions (High and Low
Waters) April, 1997
NOAA, National Ocean Service
Example for EASTPORT, ME, April-June, 1997. Please Note: All
heights are in feet.
How accurate are the predictions?
The accuracy of the tide predictions is different for each
location. Periodically we do a comparison of the predicted tides
vs the observed tides for a calendar year. The information
generated is compiled in a Tide
Accuracy Table. We work to insure that the predictions are
as accurate as possible. However, we can only predict the
astronomical tides, we cannot predict the effect that wind, rain,
freshwater runoff, and other short-term meteorological events will
have on the tides. In general, predictions for stations
along the outer coast are more accurate than those for stations
farther inland; along a river, or in a bay or other estuary.
Inland stations tend to have a stronger non-tidal influence; that
is, they are more susceptible to the effects of wind and other
meteorological effects than stations along the outer coast. An
example of an inland station which is difficult to predict is
Baltimore, Maryland. This station is located at the northern end
of Chesapeake Bay. Winds which blow along the length of the bay
have been known to cause water levels to be 1-2 feet above or
below the predicted tides.
Stations in relatively shallow water, or with a small tidal range,
are also highly susceptible to meteorological effects and thus
difficult to accurately predict. At these stations, short-term
weather events can completely mask the astronomical tides. Many of
the stations along the western Gulf of Mexico fall into this
category. An example is Galveston, Texas. This station is in a bay
which is relatively shallow and has a small opening to the sea. At
this station it is possible for meteorological events to delay or
accelerate the arrival of the predicted tides by an hour or
To complete the Inquiring Further section of this activity:
To learn more about why the Earth has two tidal bulges, visit the
following web sites:
How are tides caused by the difference between the Moon's
gravitational pull on the two sides of the Earth? Why are tidal
forces gradually slowing down the Earth's rotation? Are tidal
forces gradually increasing the size of the Moon's orbit?
Check out images of impact craters on Mercury, Venus, the Moon,
Jupiter's moon, Ganymede, Saturn's moon, Dione, and Uranus' moon,
This page does not include much detail but for a brief definition of
inclination. It does link to a page where you can follow the
path of satellites orbiting the Earth (click
For more information about planets' orbital inclination, go to the
following web sites:
One student asked: "Some space probes, such as Galileo, were
deliberately aimed close to planets in order to increase their
velocity through a
gravitational "slingshot" effect . How does this effect work? Why
isn't the increased velocity achieved while approaching
the planet exactly canceled as the probe leaves the planet?"
Read the answers from three different scientists in the field.
Learn a little more about how Galileo used the gravitational fields of
Earth and Venus to propel itself into space towards Jupiter.
There is also a helpful diagram of its path over time (see
To learn more about the orbits of comets and asteroids, visit the
following web sites:
Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of
How Are Orbits Determined? What Affects a Comet's Orbit?
How Do We Know a Comet is in Its Predicted Orbit?
Enter the name of any asteroid or comet, and a 3D orbit visualization
tool will appear for that object. You can also select from the list of
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids to see the asteroids orbit in relation
the orbits of Earth and other planets in the solar system.
Back to top
Activity 4 -- Impact Events and the Earth System
What is a meteorite? How do you recognize a meteorite if you
have one? Find out the answers to these questions plus get
information about additional resources.
To see more images of Asteroid Ida and her moon, visit the following web
National Space Science Data Center Photo Gallery
See images of several different asteroids, including Ida and its moon,
To see more images of Halley's Comet, visit the following web sites:
Find out more about the interior structure of our nearest
star. This page features a brief introduction with links to
separate pages on different parts of the sun.
A report from 1989 that addresses, among other issues, what are the
sources of ultraviolet radiation, and is the extent of human
exposure changing over time?
The purpose of this page is to provide some general information
about solar flares, a "feel" for scientific research into the
energetic emissions from flares, and a glance into the future of
solar flare research.
This site will show you what auroras look like on Earth and from
space, explain how they are created, and show you where they can be
found. Teach yourself using the "Self-Guided Lesson" button.
To learn more about solar radiation and airplane passengers and
astronauts, visit the following web sites:
This page has links to articles that give overviews or broad
information, shorter pieces that focus on specific aspects of ozone
depletion, international organizations that issue regular updates, and
images and animations of ozone levels and ozone depletion.
To learn more about the life of British physicist Edward Victor
Appleton, visit the following web sites:
This home page provides links to two different topic levels, the
second slightly more advanced than the first. The topics for Level
One include: Measuring the Electromagnetic Spectrum, A Radio
Wave Is Not a Gamma-ray, a Microwave Is Not an X-ray... or Is It?,
Why Do We Have to Go to Space to See All of the Electromagnetic
Spectrum?. The topics for Level
Two include: More about the Electromagnetic Spectrum, and
Space Observatories in Different Regions of the EM Spectrum.
The NRAO web site offers an education section with various resources
including background information and a photo gallery. The
Introduction to Radio Astronomy is particular page that offers
answers to frequently asked questions about radio astronomy, an
article about the VLA and VLBA in New Mexico, and more.
"A new star is born every year in our galaxy." Learn more about
the origin of stars and galaxies. This page also features
several Hubble images.
Download state geologic maps at About.com's
Maps - informative review on how to read and interpret
Geologic maps: Regional (two or more states):
The on-line bookstore of
the American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Topographic maps: Local
The United States Geological Survey MapFinder
allows you to order 7.5 minute maps online for $4 per map plus $5
s/h per order.
The United States Geological Survey maintains a list of Map
Dealers. Click on your state to obtain a list of
retailers who sell maps.
The United States Geological Survey National Geologic Map Database
site on How
find topographic maps
TopoZone site allows you
to download topographic maps (including USGS maps) for free, at
various scales (from 1:100,000 to 1:24,000).
MapServer offers free
online viewing of topo, nautical and aeronautical charts plus high
altitude digital ortho quads (nav photos). (www.maptech.com and
General Map Resources:
An excellent list of map resources available online can be found
on the Central Michigan University
Resources for Earth Science and Geography Instruction web
site. Included are links to sites to make maps, as well as
links to free downloadable outline maps, satellite imagery, GPS, and
"Maps" - USGS Earth
Science Information Center, includes general map information, from
how to read maps to how to obtain them. Also includes links to
further information regarding topographic, thematic, planetary maps,
and more. (http://ask.usgs.gov/maps.html)
Geographic (maps and videos): 1-800-962-1643
of the United States" - USGS fact sheet, contains a series of
depictions of the United States, along with information on how to
obtain additional US maps.
the World" - USGS fact sheet, contains a series of world maps,
including outline maps, seismicity maps, and political maps.
Also contains information for ordering more specific world maps.
Maps" - USGS site of a variety of US maps that are available
online, including shaded relief maps, aquifer maps, and further
information on how to order maps not available online.
This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about finding
resources about planetary science with many reference to cd roms and
other web sites.
Published by the American Geological Institute, this magazine reviews
current issues in the Earth Sciences and can serve as a valuable
supplemental resource for teachers and students alike. Visit the
web site for online
articles and information about obtaining a one-year subscription
(40% discount for AGI Member Society members; 65% discount for
Excellent sources of high-school level articles are in both National
Geographic (which often has maps), and Science News
(describing the most recent and interesting events in scientific