Planets Coloring Book

Our solar system is amazing.  Studying it with kids leads to limitless possibilities.

Solar-system-montage
Planets of the solar system montage, courtesy of NASA

 

To get your solar system exploration started, here’s a planets coloring book for you: The Planets in Our Solar System Coloring Book.  It covers the eight planets of our solar system.  It includes a handwriting line to practice writing the planet’s name, and also some interesting facts about each one.

The Planets in Our Solar System Coloring Book

Fabulous Facts About The Planets

While kids are coloring, you can learn even more with these fabulous planets facts.

Mercury

mercury
Mercury, courtesy of NASA
  •  If you wanted to stay up for one Mercury day, you would have to stay up for 176 Earth days.
  • Even though it’s very close to the sun, it may have ice at its north and south poles.
  • Temperature varies a lot on Mercury, from 797 degrees F to -279 degrees F.
  • The sun sometimes rises twice in the same day, due to Mercury’s slow rotation and fast year.

Venus

Venus
Venus, courtesy of NASA
  •  On Venus the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
  • Five Russian probes have landed on Venus, each one being crushed by its high atmospheric pressure within about an hour.
  • The surface temperature reaches around 867 degrees F because of the greenhouse effect.
  • The atmosphere is made of mostly carbon dioxide gas.

Earth

earth
Earth, courtesy of NASA
  •  The 23 1/2 degree tilt in our axis is what causes our seasons.
  • Earth is the only inner planet with a large moon.
  • The continents move at about the same pace that our fingernails grow.
  • Earth is the only planet we have found life on.

Mars

Mars
Mars, courtesy of NASA
  •  The surface of Mars is covered with rust.  That’s why we call it the Red Planet.
  • If you climbed to the top of Olympus Mons, the tallest mountain in the solar system, you’d actually be standing in space.
  • Mars has polar icecaps that melt and freeze, changing sizes with the seasons just like ours on Earth do.
  • Valles Marineris, Mars’ largest canyon, stretches as far as the distance between Los Angeles and New York.  The Grand Canyon is tiny by comparison.

Jupiter

Jupiter
Jupiter, courtesy of NASA
  •  Jupiter is kind of like a mini solar system, with all its rings and moons orbiting around it.
  • Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, gets stretched out like Silly Putty because of Jupiter’s strong gravity.
  • Jupiter has a giant storm that has been going on for over 400 years.  We call it the Great Red Spot.
  • We’re not sure, but we think that Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons may have saltwater oceans under its frozen surface.

Saturn

Saturn
Saturn, courtesy of NASA
  •  If you had a bathtub big enough, Saturn would float in it.  It’s less dense than water.
  • In the upper atmosphere it’s windy!  Winds blow around 1,100 miles per hour.
  • Saturn’s poles have northern and southern lights like ours.
  • Saturn’s rings are made of ice chunks.

Uranus

Uranus and its moons, courtesy of NASA
Uranus and its moons, courtesy of NASA
  • On a very clear night you can sometimes see Uranus without a telescope.
  • Its rings were discovered by accident in 1977.
  • Many of its moons are named after Shakespeare’s characters.
  • Seasons on Uranus last over 20 years.

Neptune

Neptune, courtesy of NASA
Neptune, courtesy of NASA
  • Neptune wasn’t located through observations in the sky.  It was located using mathematical predictions.
  • It takes 164 years for Neptune to go around the sun.  That means it hasn’t been a full Neptune year since we discovered the planet.
  • Seasons last 41 years on Neptune.
  • There are ice volcanoes on Triton, its largest moon.  They blow ice plumes about 5 miles up in the air.

 On The Web:

Go explore NASA’s website.  You’ll be amazed!

Additional Layer:

For a fun art project about the solar system, make a cool planets mobile using 2 sticks of dowels screwed together, perpendicular to each other.  Attach a variety of planet spheres made of a variety of materials.  Some ideas include: Christmas ball ornaments, styrofoam balls, pom-poms, paper strip spheres, or paper mache surrounding balloons.  Paint them all decoratively.

Planets-mobile

 More From Layers of Learning

All the science sections of these units cover astronomy.  It makes for a fascinating study, especially because we are learning more about what’s out there every single day.  Hope you check them out.

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