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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

Exploratour - Evolution of the Solar System

This is a schematic showing the forming solar system.
Click on image for full size
C. Alexander

Because the cloud was spinning, it flattened into a frisbee shape, just like a ball of pizza dough becomes flat when a chef spins it in the air. The frisbee shaped cloud grew hotter and denser in the center, with a disk of gas and dust surrounding it that was cool.

As the cloud flattened, the gaseous material inside was forced to begin changing into solid form. These little particles of solid material were warm, soft and sticky, and whenever they touched each other, further clumped together to form larger balls of solid material somewhat the way pieces of "silly putty" would stick together if they came into contact. The hot and dense part in the center we call a proto- sun, meaning that it was a forming sun. It was not a star yet, but eventually would become our Sun. The large balls of clumpy stuff, which could be boulder sized to asteriod sized, we call "planetismals", meaning that they were miniature planets. Eventually only a few large clumps of this material remained in the forming solar system, and they became the core of "proto-planets".


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Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

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Exploratour - Evolution of the Solar System

This tour is not ready yet, but you can click through and look at the pictures if you wish! Please come back in 30 days. This page is the start of the tour of the Evolution of the Solar System. The navigation...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

All warm objects (not just people) radiate in the infrared. Warmer objects give off more infrared radiation. Very hot objects radiate other types of light in addition to infrared. Click on the picture...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Imagine you found a pair of special glasses that not only gave you telescopic vision but gave you the ability to see all forms of radiant energy. The universe in visible light contains all the familiar...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a picture of a galaxy in visible light. A galaxy is a large number of stars, some like our sun, some bigger, some smaller and all moving together through space. This galaxy is called Centaurus...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA