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Physical Sci  Student Page

The words solar system refer to the Sun and all of the objects that travel around it. These objects include planets, natural satellites such as the Moon, the asteroid belt, comets, and meteoroids.    The Sun is the center of the solar system. It contains 99.86% of all of the mass in our solar system. Consequently, it exerts a tremendous gravitational pull on planets, satellites, asteroids, comets, and meteoroids.

Big Bang Theory

A theory of cosmology in which the expansion of the universe is presumed to have begun with a primeval explosion, referred to as the "Big Bang".

Big Bang Revisited String Theory
 Life in Universe Very Large Telescope 


Theory vs. Law

Scientific methods are useful tools for the study of earth science.  However, the development and testing of a hypothesis is just one step along the way to scientific understanding.  Once a hypothesis  has been tested and generally accepted, it may lead to the development of a THEORY.   A theory is a hypothesis or a set of hypotheses that is supported by the results of experimentation and observations that is consistent with known facts.
Once a theory is well established through research and experimentation, it may become a scientific law.  A scientific law is a rule that correctly describes a natural phenomenon.  To become a law, a theory must be proven correct every time it is tested.  For example, the law of conservation of mass and energy, which states that the total amount of matter and energy in the universe does not change, has been tested again and again.  It has never been found to fail.  View the Physical Science page for more information on Newton's and Kepler's Laws.

NEO Impacts Trading Cards

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The Sun

Photo courtesy SOHO consortium. 

SOHO is a project of international cooperation between ESA and NASA.

Click for info on Solar Eruption July 22, 2004

"ERUPTION: Magnetic fields above giant sunspot 652 erupted on July 22nd (0032 UT), and Jack Newton of Arizona photographed the event, which ranked M9 on the Richter Scale of solar flares. Says Jack, "the sunspot looked like a giant river of lava during the explosion" ". (Space Weather.com, 2004).

This eruption emits something called coronal mass ejections into space which can effect Earth's magnetic field.  When this happens we notice glitches in electrical equipment, like cell phones, TV reception, medical equipment, and the like.

Our Sun

Solar Viewer

SOHO Observatory Space Weather
Solar Spitwads Stellar Parallax
Sun Spots Sun-Venus Transit



Electromagnetic Spectrum


The  rainbow is really a continuous spectrum that shows us the different energies of light (from red to blue) present in visible light. But the electromagnetic spectrum encompasses more than just optical light - it covers all energies of light extending from low-energy radio waves, to microwaves, to infrared, to optical light, to ultraviolet, to very high-energy X- and gamma-rays.

Visible Light

Acronyms like "ROY G BIV"  help us to remember the spectrum in order. 

700 nm                                                                                                   400nm

Red          Orange          Yellow           Green            Blue          Indigo         Violet

Pick an element from the menu to see its spectral signature.


The rainbow is really a continuous spectrum that shows us the different energies of light (from red to blue) present in visible light. But the electromagnetic spectrum encompasses more than just optical light - it covers all energies of light extending from low-energy radio waves, to microwaves, to infrared, to optical light, to ultraviolet, to very high-energy X- and gamma-rays.

White light is the combination of red, blue and green light.  As seen in the image above, adding different combinations of light, like red and blue to make magenta, will display varied frequencies of the light spectrum.

Plants respond differently to frequencies (or colors) of light. This is why we use a plant grow light in the classroom terrarium.

Stellar Nebula: M42  by Chaz King

This shot taken in Melbourne, FL  March 2007;  66 minutes of exposure taken over 2 nights


Doppler Effect & Waves





Magnetic Field


All magnetic objects produce invisible lines of force that extend between the poles of the object.  Earth and Jupiter can be thought of as a dipole (2-pole) magnet.  Magnetic field lines radiate between Earth's north and south magnetic poles just as they do between the poles of a bar magnet. Charged particles become trapped on these field lines (just as the iron filings are trapped), forming the magnetosphere.  Jupiter is also surrounded by an enormous magnetic field called the magnetosphere, which has a million times the volume of Earth's magnetosphere. Charged particles are trapped in the magnetosphere and form intense radiation belts. These belts are similar to the Earth's Van Allen belts, but are many millions of times more intense.

  Magnetic Field


Northern Lights in the Ionosphere

*  Visible manifestation of the high-energy electrons
*  Reds and greens of oxygen and hydrogen and the purples and pinks of nitrogen
*  Typical 3-hour aurora discharges about 100 million kW hours of electric energy
*  Enough energy to power a medium sized city of 250,000 for nearly 9 days
*  = about 6 days of energy output by large nuclear power plant





Nuclear Energy



Our Solar System



Build a Solar System Chandra X-ray Observatory
BCC Planetarium & Observatory  


Inner and Outer Planets

inner planets
Meteor Belt

outer planets

  Click here for solar views

Obliquity of the (Nine)  Eight Planets

This photo shows the obliquity of the nine planets. Obliquity is the angle between a planet's equatorial plane and its orbital plane. By International Astronomical Union (IAU) convention, a planet's north pole lies above the ecliptic plane. By this convention, Venus, Uranus, and Pluto have a retrograde rotation, or a rotation that is in the opposite direction from the other planets.
(Copyright 1999 by Calvin J. Hamilton)
Definition of a Planet Planet Finder Telescope
  Solar System Exploration
Planet Diary

Solar System Matching Quiz

Planetary Fact Sheet

Solar System Simulator

Planet Knowledge

Space Photos

Planets & Motion

Views of the Solar System

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Weight vs. Mass

Weight is a force, it is the pull of Earth's gravity on an object. While weight of an object is a force, the mass measures inertia.

An object's weight changes if the pull of gravity changes, but an object's mass is the same everywhere in the universe. If air resistance were not a factor, everything near the Earth's surface falls with acceleration g, so weight = mg.

Try this ...

Your Age and Weight on Other Planets


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Earth's Seasons

click for demonstration

Each season -- spring, summer, autumn and winter -- lasts about three months and brings changes in temperature, weather and the length of daylight. The seasons keep changing because the tilt of the Earth's axis never changes while the earth circles the sun.
video clip on seasons



Phases of the Moon

Phase demo ~ click here

The different shapes of the moon through the month are called phases.  During these phases the moon doesn't change shape, we just see different parts of the lighted half of the moon.  With the exception of during an eclipse, when the earth's shadow covers the moon, the sun always lights half of the moon.  That's just like the sun lighting half the earth, giving us day and night.  The moon orbits around the earth approximately once every 29.5 days.  If the moon is between Earth and the sun, we don't see the "daylight" half because the moon is facing the sun.  The moon looks dark to us during this phase, which is called a "new moon."  If the sun is on one side of Earth, and the moon on the other, we see the entire lighted face of the moon, referred to as  a full moon, when planets are in "opposition".  The other phases are just the places in between these positions when we see just part of the moon's day.  Try the activity below and test your skill.




                 Waxing Crescent                                 Photo by Chaz King

Jan. 06, 2003   



Views from Melbourne, FL


click for larger image

Photo by Richard Marisa

Feb. 14, 2003

Valentines Day Halo 2003 

Moon halos are caused by ice crystals in high cirrus clouds.


Photo by Chaz King

Waxing Gibbous

Photo by Chaz King

  May 12, 2003


                                                                                                                                        Photo by Chaz King  2003

Lunar Eclipse   May 15, 2003 

 Melbourne, FL

 Lunar Eclipse

Photo by Chaz King

Eclipse Chasing  






   Chaz's first attempt of Mars: photo from telescope in driveway. Melbourne, FL






rings of Jupiter






Saturn in Opposition 

January 2002

Saturn false color infrared camera/NICMOS image

False color image of Saturn using the Hubble Space Telescope's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), April 23, 1998.

Hubble Provides Clear Images of Saturn's Aurora 

Hubble Image STScI-PRC1998-05

Saturn's auroral displays are caused by an energetic wind from the Sun that sweeps over the planet


Saturn's Moon: Enceladus

NASA's Cassini Spacecraft may have detected liquid water on one of Saturn's moons, EnceladusThe blue stripes seen capture what scientists believe to be geysers similar to what's found on Earth in Yellowstone park.

The photo above was taken in March of 2006.




 Celestron 9" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope/ Chaz' 1st scope

   Air-Spaced Triplet Refactor / Chaz's last scope

Takahashi's TOA 130mm  Ortho-Apochromatic Refractor is touted to be the most color free refractor on the market.

"Canon 20Da  DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex)  This 8.2 mega pixel camera, developed especially for astrophotography and has a cMOS chip that is quiet enough for extended exposures.  The noise from this chip becomes objectionable around 5-10 minutes of exposure at room temperature.  Seeing that digital exposures are linear, that is an addition of several shorter exposures yields the  same signal to noise ratio as a single longer exposure, the trick is to "stack" them.  This is done via Images Plus  digital photography software .  Then you can adjust levels crop and add the finishing touches in Photoshop."

--- Chaz King



M 86




Stars & Galaxies: Stellar Evolution




Stellar Nebula: M42  by Chaz King

This shot taken in Melbourne, FL  March 2007

66 minutes of exposure taken over 2 nights




 Our Milky Way Galaxy


Click for view of Milky Way

The Milky Way Galaxy is 100,000 light years across and 1,000 light years thick.  Although our Sun is the center of our solar system, it is not in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.  Our Sun is positioned on one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way.

This image of our galaxy, the Milky Way, was taken with NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer's (COBE) Diffuse Infrared Background Experiment (DIRBE). This view shows the Milky Way from an edge-on perspective with the galactic north pole at the top, the south pole at the bottom and the galactic center at the center. The picture combines images obtained at several near-infrared wavelengths. Stars within our galaxy are the dominant source of light at these wavelengths. Even though our solar system is part of the Milky Way, the view looks distant because most of the light comes from the population of stars that are closer to the galactic center than our own Sun. (Courtesy NASA)

Hubble Space Telescope image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3949, which is believed to be similar in shape and structure to the Milky Way.

This image was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the spiral galaxy NGC 3949.

Scientists believe this spiral galaxy is very similar to our own galaxy, the Milky Way.




Black Holes

click for info


Artist's View of Black Hole and Companion Star GRO J1655-40

GRO J1655-40 is the second so-called 'microquasar' discovered in our Galaxy.


Black Holes Hubble Views of Black Holes
 Black Holes: Gravity's Pull (interactive) Illustrations



International Space Station

Photo courtesy NASA
Artist's concept of the completed International Space Station.

Explore Space/NASA Odyssey Mission

ISS Visibility

Spacecraft Kits

Kids in Space Astronaut Corps


NASA Launch Schedule

Space Exploration

NASA Quest- Edu. Site

 Spacestation Location

  Spanish Translation: Ciencia@NASA



Photo courtesy NASA
The first ISS crew (left to right): flight engineer Sergei Krikalev, mission commander William Shepherd and Soyuz commander Yuri Gidzenko.

The first crew (above) was launched October 31, 2000  from Russia. 

Each team will live and work on the ISS for about 3 to 4 months at a time.  At the end of their stay they are greeted in space by their replacement crew.  The astronauts are conducting all types of  scientific experiments to better understand how systems respond at zero G,  cancer research, plant growth, crystal formation, in addition to many other experiments that will benefit mankind in  the future.


Saturday, February 1, 2003

We mourn the tragic loss of these seven brave souls...

The crew of Space Shuttle mission STS 107 (from left): David M. Brown (mission specialist), Rick O. Husband (commander), Laurel Blair Salton Clark (mission specialist), Kalpana Chawla (mission specialist), Michael P. Anderson (payload commander), William C. McCool (pilot), and Ilan Ramon (mission specialist).

 Courtesy NASA/Johnson Space Center.

Columbia Special Report

STS 107




Newton's 3rd Law

Action & Reaction at work!

Photo of Saturn V  at  Kennedy Space Center

Mrs. King's Science & Math Classes 2003

How Rockets Work

KSC-05pd-1174 : 05pd1174.jpg  (07/26/2005) --- KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA KSC-05pd-0518 : 05pd0518.jpg


Last modified: December 29, 2014