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Become a nitrogen atom in the nitrogen cycle in our Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit/Game. See all our games, activity kits and classroom activities.

Exploratour - Evolution of the Solar System

This is a composite image of the small moons of Saturn.
Click on image for full size

This story explains the forming planets, but what of their moons? There are three theories about how moons came to be in place:
  • 1.) moons came out of their parent planet
  • 2.) moons were debris which were captured by their parent planet
  • 3.) that a planet and its moon(s) formed together out of the primordial nebula, as shown in the picture on the next page

Many of the moons surrounding other planets are really captured asteroids. One sign that a moon is really a captured asteriod is that it has a non-spherical shape, that is, an angular shape like a rock and not rounded like a planet. Moons such as these are the two moons of Mars; Phobos and Diemos. Another sign that a moon may be captured is if it orbits in a direction opposite to that of the mother planet. An example of a moon of this kind is Neptune's moon Neried.

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Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

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Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Exploratour - Evolution of the Solar System

This picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope shows what may be a disk of material forming around a distant star. The presence of such a disk might lead to the presence of planets around this star later....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 radiate in the infrared. The warmer the object, the higher the frequency and intensity of the radiation. Very hot objects give off other types of radiation in addition to infrared. Click...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

The awesome power of a giant black hole was revealed by looking at this galaxy in three different types of light. The picture that you see is of Centaurus A, a very peculiar galaxy. A galaxy is just a...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