The Solar System
This title will cover one of the most important interactions in all of physics - the force due to gravity. You will learn about the factors that govern the strength of gravitational forces, the masses of objects and the distances between them, and why gravitational forces are important. We will explore the planets, the differences and similarities between them, and consider the controversy over what constitutes a planet and what doesn't. The title also explains what causes planets to orbit, and what causes moons and other satellites to orbit planets. You will learn about the Earth, its internal structure and the composition of the atmosphere. We will also discuss how humans are affecting its atmosphere. Finally, the title will consider Earth's seasons, detailing what causes them and how they affect life on Earth.
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Curriculum and Exam Board Information
- Communication Satellites
- Communications satellites are usually put into a geostationary orbit above the equator
- describe the nebular (gas cloud) model for the formation of the solar system
- explain changes in day length, seasonal changes and changes in the elevation of the sun in terms of the tilt of the Earth's axis and its movement around the Sun
- Gravitational Force
- Gravitational force provides the centripetal force that allows planets and satellites to maintain their circular orbits
- interpret data relating to changes in composition of the atmosphere and climate change
- know how science can be used to monitor environmental change resulting from human activities: CO2 levels (in atmosphere, historical levels in ice cores)
- know how science can be used to monitor environmental change resulting from human activities: emissions from motor vehicles and power stations
- know how science can be used to monitor environmental change resulting from human activities: temperature and precipitation records
- outline the origin of the Earth's atmosphere
- recall the position of the Sun and planets within the solar system and how they move relative to each other
- Recall, evaluate and discuss the historical evidence for the heliocentric solar system as opposed to the geocentric
- state why it is important to monitor these changes (climate change and health issues)
- The formation of stars
- The orbit of any planet is an ellipse (slightly squashed circle), with the Sun at one focus.The further away an orbiting body is the longer it takes to make a complete orbit. To stay in orbit at a particular distance, smaller bodies, including planets and
- The Solar System
- The solar system, galaxies and the Universe
- The Sun and other stars in the Milky Way galaxy
- The Universe and galaxies
- understand that gravitational force acts towards the centre of every astronomical object and that this force determines the motion of the planets and comets round the Sun and satellites round the planets
- understand that gravitational forces act between all masses and know that the magnitude diminishes with distance and increases with mass
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