Last Thursday night saw us head out to Werribee where we were met with 12 Year 9 students from Suzanne Cory High School as well as their parents and siblings. The theme of the night was the Solar System and we started off the night with a talk from Dr Shane about all the planets in our Solar System. We found out that Jupiter and Saturn have over 60 moons each, that Mercury is really hot AND really cold and that Neptune is about 30 Astronomical Units from the Sun.
After listening to these amazing Solar System facts, we then went outside to see if the skies had cleared enough for us to look at some astronomical objects. Keep in mind that Melbourne had been drenched for the entire week and this had been the first dry day. We were in luck, though and the clouds parted just enough so we could get a glimpse of the Moon, Saturn and Mars. We also had Stellarium on hand so we could pick out some important constellations. There were also plenty of questions asked and answers given, as we were also lucky to have a couple of Astro students helping us out for the evening.
Finally when the clouds finally won out, we headed back inside to finish up with an activity. We each made our own scale model of the Solar System and not wanting to give away too many spoilers, there is a lot of empty space between the Sun and the Kuiper Belt (or Pluto for some).
Thanks to Suzanne Cory for a great night, it was wonderful to see such excitement and enthusiasm from the students and their knowledge of the Universe has already blown us away. We can’t wait to see what they want to look at next.
Head to our Resources page to find some more interesting facts and activities on the Solar System.