Fun Astronomy Facts for Kids

Check out these fun astronomy facts for kids when you're looking for a science project. Kids naturally love learning about outer space, so amateur astronomy is the perfect hobby for any curious child. Your kids can also build up their online research skills as they learn more about astronomy. If you wish to teach your kids about bibliographies when doing research, have them jot down their sources as they answer the questions.

Start out by telling your kids a few teaser facts to get them interested in outer space before you set them loose with the computer searching for more answers. Let them know the sun is 90 million miles away and that 1 million earths could fit inside the sun. Tantalize them with thoughts of frying an egg on Mercury and freezing popsicles on Pluto.

Now give your children the challenge of finding the answers to the following astronomy questions:

What is the average temperature of the planets and the sun?
The Sun: 9944 degrees Fahrenheit
Mercury: 333 degrees Fahrenheit
Venus: 867 degrees Fahrenheit
Mars: -85 degrees Fahrenheit
Jupiter: -166 degrees Fahrenheit
Saturn: -220 degrees Fahrenheit
Uranus: -319 degrees Fahrenheit
Neptune: -328 degrees Fahrenheit
Pluto: -373 degrees Fahrenheit

Which planets have gaseous atmospheres?
Answer: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune

Why do the ocean tides change? Hint: It has to do with the moon.
Answer: The moon's gravity attracts the water, which leads to the tides as the moon orbits around Earth.

How long does it take for astronauts to travel to the moon?
Answer: About three days.

How many miles is it from the sun to Pluto when Pluto is closest to the sun?
Answer: 2.75 billion miles

Why is Pluto no longer officially considered a planet?
Answer: After Pluto was discovered in 1930, astronomers continued to learn more about the planet, and they decided that Pluto was too small to qualify as a planet in our solar system. Even though it has its own moons and orbits around the sun, there are other objects as big as or bigger than Pluto nearby, so the International Astronomical Unit decided to change Pluto's status.

What is a black hole?
Answer: A black hole resulting from a star's collapse. This hole has so much gravity that it draws everything around it, including stars and planets, into its center, and nothing can escape.

How is a star born? What is a star made up of?
Answer: Stars are made up of gas and dust, and stars come together when an event in the universe creates a center of gravity that draws up all the matter into a star.

Why do stars die out? What happens when a star dies?
Answer: Since stars are made up of gas, it should be no surprise that a star nears the end of its life when it uses up all of its hydrogen, which is a gas. The star gets hotter and hotter until it turns into a white dwarf or explodes into a supernova, depending on the original size of the star.

What is the North Star? Why was it significant to travelers in the past?
Answer: The North Star is also known as the "pole star" or Polaris. The star is the last one in the handle of the Little Dipper. This is important because it indicates true north, and you are going north if you head toward the North Star.

Can you see the same constellations all year round? Why or why not?
No. Since the Earth revolves on its axis and revolves around the sun, the constellations are always changing. The constellations are still there, but you can't see them during the daytime. However, on a clear night, you will always be able to see the North Star, which is part of the Little Dipper, because the earth's axis aims in that direction.

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