# Space Cruise & Picture Book

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1 Space Cruise & Picture Book Learning Target: Recognize that there are enormous distances between objects in space Apply our knowledge of light and space travel to understand this distance. Watch Powers of Ten Video & Then Complete each activity through each stop along the space cruise. After the cruise create a picture book (see final page for directions) Powers of Ten

2 Stop 1 (Station 1): You have traveled 8 minutes since you left Earth at this time your distance traveled equals to the distance between the Earth and the Sun. This is how long it takes light to reach Earth from the sun at a speed of light, 300,000 km/s. The distance from Earth to the Sun is 150 million kilometers which equals one astronomical unit (AU). Study the diagrams and answer the following questions in your science notebook 1. How many planets is 1 AU or less from the Sun? 2. Would all of the planets be on the same side of the Sun as the Earth? Why?

3 Stop 2 (Station2): You have traveled 0.16 years (58 days) since leaving Earth Look back at the Sun. It is at a distance of 10,000 AU and the only thing you see is a very bright star in a sea of blackness. The distance you have traveled is so big that kilometers and astronomical units are becoming too difficult to handle. A new unit is introduced to you by the team of scientists the light year. A light year (ly) is the distance that light travels in 1 year. Light year is equivalent to 63,240 AU. Since you have traveled 0.16 years at the speed of light, you have been traveling for 0.16 ly. One AU equals the average distance between the Earth and the Sun (149,597,887.7 km or 150,000,000 km). Answer the following questions in your notebook: 3. Why aren t you able to see the planets around the Sun? 4. Calculate how far (in kilometers) you are from home (Earth).

4 Stop 3 (Station 3): You have arrived at Alpha Centauri. You have traveled 4.3 light years (ly) from Earth Looking back toward the Sun, you can see other stars. Sirius is the brightest star seen from Earth s Northern Hemisphere and is 8.6 light years (ly) from Earth. The other star is Alpha Centauri at 4.3 light years (ly) from Earth and can be seen anywhere south of Miami, Florida. One Light year is equivalent to 63,240 AU. Answer the following questions in your science notebook: 5. Calculate how far Alpha Centauri is (in AU) from Earth. 6. How far away is Sirius form Earth in AU?

5 Stop 4 (Station 4): You have traveled years since leaving Earth At this distance you have entered emptier space and all the stars you have been observing have merged into a spiral shaped structure. This is the Milky Way galaxy, our home galaxy. The Milky Way galaxy is 100,000 light years (ly) across. From this distance you observe the Sun as just one of billions of stars. The Sun is located about two-thirds from the center of the Milky Way. 7. What conclusion can you draw by observing the Milky Way diagram regarding where most stars seem to be concentrated in our galaxy.

6 Stop 5 (Station 5): You have traveled 16 million years since leaving Earth At this distance the Milky Way now is seen as part of family of galaxies called Local Group of Galaxies. Mutual gravitational forces hold all galaxies together, just as gravitational forces in our solar system hold the planets in orbit around the Sun. You decide to write a letter to your science teacher about the wonderful trip you have experienced. How would you address your letter? In other words, what is your cosmic address back home? You need to include the following: galaxy cluster, galaxy, galactic arm, planet system, planet, hemisphere, continent, country, state, city,, school, and teacher s name.

7 Discussion Questions 1. Why are special units used to measure distances between objects in space? 2. How big is a light-year in kilometers? 3. Create a concept map to illustrate the hierarchical relationship between the following terms from smaller to largest.

8 Final Question. In one second, light leaving Los Angeles reaches approximately as far as (a) San Francisco, about 500 km; (b) London, roughly 10,000 km; (c) the Moon, 384,000 km; (d) Venus, 45,000,000 km from Earth at closest approach; (e) the nearest star, about three light-years from Earth. Which is correct? Hint: Use the formula distance = speed x time

9 Extension Activity Create a picture book explaining younger students what a light year is. Begin by explaining what distance is and how long it takes to travel a short distance. Then discuss traveling longer distance such as the distance to the sun and the nearest star. Use illustrations, diagrams, and everyday examples to assist younger students to understand the concepts.

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