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The Wonders of Outer Space

By Alina Yisi Liu 5-JC

This book is dedicated to my dear teacher, Mr. Curran who helped me revise and edit my story and also to my classmate and friend Andy Jay Song who gave me many original ideas to help write this book

Table Of Contents 2 3 4 5 Cosmic 6 Asteroids, Comets and 7-8 Black/White 9 10 11-12 About the 13

Introduction If you look outside from your window, and if it happens to be a clear night with no fog, you might be able to see the wide expanse of night sky dotted with stars. If you are lucky, you might be able to see planets’ outline against the dark sky. Have you ever wondered about these planets and stars, and what just might be beyond them, hidden from view? p

Our small solar system of the galaxy, the Milky Way, is very small when compared to the huge galaxy. A solar system is a system in which things such as planets and their moons revolve, or travel in orbit around a star. Our solar system consists of 8 planets and their moons and other natural satellites that move around our star, the Sun. There are also many asteroids and comets that are in the gravitational pull of the Sun. Solar systems are only a part of the universe, though. If we actually look farther away, we would see that our solar system, even the Milky Way, are just a tiny part of the entire outer space. But to us, the Milky Way is already so big that even at the speed of light, it would take 100,000 years to cross it.

Want to learn more about the mysterious world of outer space? Then read on!

Stars Stars, born in cloud formations called nebula, can live for billions of years. They are huge, hot balls of gas that glow. The cloud formations are clouds of interstellar gases and dust. When stars get older, they gradually expand and then explode. When they explode, the gases inside and the dust formed from the explosion slowly combine and eventually create a new star.

Stars are hot and bright. That’s because they’re basically huge nuclear reactors. They produce energy with the help of nuclear reactions. The energy makes the stars become hot and bright. The nuclear fusion reactions can only start with a temperature of about 15 million degrees- that’s why any space ship that goes too close to the sun gets fried.

Did you know that the largest stars have the shortest lives? That’s because the larger they get, the more energy they produce, and they are hotter and burn faster than smaller sized stars.

Planets Our solar system is formed around the Sun. It is the center of our solar system. Other than the Sun, from the order of closest to the Sun, the planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth (our planet), Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Last of all is Pluto. Pluto used to be classified as a planet, but it was so small that later on it was classified as the largest dwarf planet, or a plutoid. A mnemonic to remember the order of the planets (including Pluto) is: My Very Excellent Mother Just Sent Us Nine Pizzas.

Did you know that Jupiter is the biggest planet, and is so big that all the other planets could fit in it? Earth is also the fifth largest planet.

All planets, asteroids, comets, meteors and other objects of our solar system orbit around the Sun, because it is the center of it. These objects orbit the Sun on circular orbits. Pluto is the only exception- it has a slightly tilted orbit.

Galaxies are giant space systems. There are more than 100 billion galaxies that are observable, and there are probably many more. Some are similar to our galaxy, the Milky Way, and some are different.


Did you know that elliptical galaxies are called dwarf elliptical galaxies if they are smaller than normal, just like dwarf planets?

Galaxies are divided into three types: spiral galaxies, elliptical galaxies, and irregular galaxies. Spiral galaxies are disk shaped with arms coming out from the center. They are spiral because orbiting objects inside them create a fast speed, therefore causing matter to take on a spiral shape. (The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy.) Elliptical galaxies are round but they are longer at one end than the other. They contain many stars, but few stars are formed, so the stars will eventually die out after a few billion light-years. They are the biggest galaxies, some taking 2 million light-years to cross. Elliptical galaxies contain more random orbits, too. Irregular galaxies are neither spiral nor elliptical.

Cosmic Collisions In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding at a large rate. This led to the theory that the universe was just one big lump 14 billion years ago, and something happened that blasted it apart, called the “Big Bang”. The “Big Bang” supposedly created the universe. It is only a theory, but it is believed by more and more scientists and astronomers now.

Another cosmic collision was the one that brought humans and other animals to Earth to replace the dinosaurs. An asteroid crashed into Earth, probably near where New Mexico is now, and started a huge fire that spread all around the world, killing the dinosaurs. Only the strongest survivors lived and evolved into the animals we know today. This is also a theory, though. Anyways, while the “Big Bang” created the universe, this cosmic collision was the one to bring humans to Earth.

Did you know that some survivors of the asteroid crash didn’t evolve and are still alive and well today? One of those extraordinary plants is the monkey puzzle tree. It was named because its branches were so tangled monkeys couldn’t puzzle out how to climb it.

Asteroids, Comets and Meteors Many people get asteroid, comet and meteor definitions mixed up. Here is the real meaning for each of them.

An asteroid is a rocky object that orbits the Sun. Asteroids don’t have atmospheres. They are also known as planetoids, or minor planets. Asteroids also travel together- there is an asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter.

Comets are small, icy bodies that also orbit the Sun. They have a tail that trails behind them, that always points away from the Sun because of solar winds. The tails are made of the dust swirled up from its orbit speed.

A meteor is a meteoroid that has entered Earth’s atmosphere. A meteoroid is a piece of a broken asteroid. A meteor shower is in which a lot of meteors start falling at the same time, and if it is very intense, it is called a meteor storm. A meteorite is a meteor that has fallen to Earth. They are small because of the mass lost during the fall through Earth’s atmosphere.

Did you know that falling meteors are also called shooting stars? A meteor shower is also a shooting star rain.

Black/White Holes  A  black  hole  is  a  region  of  space   in  which  nothing  can  escape,  not   even  light-­‐  that’s  why  it’s  called  a   black  hole-­‐  it  is  a  sucking  hole  in   outer  space.  Black  holes  are   made  when  really  big  stars-­‐   called  supergiant  stars-­‐  explode,   but  are  pushed  inwards,  and  the   force  created  makes  a  giant   mass.  (Stars  die  when  they  run   out  of  nuclear  fuel)  Black  holes   are  found  nearly  in  every  major   galaxy,  and  they  formed  when   the  universe  was  still  new.  They   even  played  a  part  in  creating  the   galaxies.

A white hole is the opposition of a black hole, blowing things out. Black and white holes are like portals, the black one sucking a person in and usually, the white one spitting them back out. They might be able to be used to make quick escapes into other galaxies in other times in the future. Wormholes aren’t holes, but they connect white holes and black holes, like a tunnel through time and space. Did  you  know  that  black  holes  can  be   deadly?  That’s  because  black  holes  can   only  suck  in,  not  spit  out.  So  when  the   white  hole  spits  a  person  out,  they  are  in   a  different  time  in  a  different  galaxy,  and   there  is  no  way  of  ever  coming  back.  

Glossary Asteroid: Large orbiting chunk of space rock Comet: Orbiting object that has a ‘tail’ made of dust Meteor: Matter that has entered Earth’s atmosphere Atmosphere: The layer of gases surrounding objects Planetoid: Another term for asteroid Minor Planet: Another term for asteroid Asteroid Belt: A ‘belt’ of asteroids Solar Winds: Flow of charged particles from the Sun Meteoroid: Small orbiting body in space Meteor Shower: A shower of lots of falling meteors Meteor Storm: An intense meteor shower Meteorite: A meteor that has fallen to Earth already Shooting Star: Another term for a falling meteor Shooting Star Rain: Another term for a meteor shower Black Hole: Space mass with strong gravitational field Supergiant Stars: Huge stars that form black holes Nuclear Fuel: The fuel that all stars use to burn Opposition: The opposite of something else Portal: A sort of thing that ports things to elsewhere White Hole: The other half of the black/white portals

Big Bang: The explosion that created the universe Cosmic Collisions: A collision, or crash, in space Evolve: Change gradually to be better suited to life Dwarf Elliptical Galaxies: Small elliptical galaxies Spiral Galaxies: Galaxies of same type as our galaxy Elliptical Galaxies: Galaxies similar to spiral galaxies Irregular Galaxies: Galaxies neither spiral nor elliptical Expanse: A large mass Revolve: To turn continually Orbit: To slowly revolve around the Sun Satellites: Machines that fly in space to learn about it Gravitational Pull: The pull created by gravity Dwarf Planet: A planet smaller than normal Plutoid: Another name for a dwarf planet Mnemonic: Words or pictures that help you remember Nebula: A cloud of gas and dust in which stars form Interstellar: Occurring or situated between stars Nuclear Reactors: Where nuclear reactions form Edwin Hubble: Man who came up with the “Big Bang” Wormhole: A structure connecting black/white holes

Photo Citations solarsystem.jpg black-hole-wallpaper-1152x864.jpg

About the Author

Hello! My name is Alina Yisi Liu and I am 10 years old. I am in Mr. Curran’s class and I am currently in Grade 5. I love science and I often do things related to science. My other hobbies can be piano or rollerskating. I love to explore nature with friends. When I grow up, I want to be either a scientist, inventor or explorer. I also love math and language learning. P.E. is one of my favorite subjects in school.

The Wonders of Outer Space “Excellent information! I feel like I learned a lot more about space after reading your book.” -Mr. Curran

“Great fun facts! I like how you used great scientific terms in the book.” -Ivy Zhou

Have you ever gone on an adventure in space? Well, do you want to go on one? You might not be able to go on a real spaceship, but if you read this book, your mind sure will feel like you went on one! The Wonders of Outer Space is a great book to read if you want to learn all about the basic (and not-so-basic) facts of outer space. Most of the pages also have fun facts for you to check out.

The Wonders Of Outer Space by Alina Liu