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Bruce BettsFebruary 11, 2014

Intro Astronomy Class 1: Tour of the Solar System

In my first class of my Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class at California State University Dominguez Hills, I took students on a tour of the solar system.  Come fly with me in the video below.  For more information about the class, see my class page,

After some introductory information about the class, we started at the Sun, then moved out through the solar system, with overviews of Mercury, Venus, the Earth Moon system, Mars, near Earth asteroids and the asteroid belt, the Jupiter system including its large Galilean satellites, the Saturn system including its rings and moons, the Uranian system, the Neptunian system, trans Neptunian objects including Pluto and Eris, and comets.  For each, I tried to orient students to the sizes involved, particularly relative sizes and distances. I also gave overviews of the exploration history of each body and started discussion of some of the key solar system processes that have shaped worlds, such as impact cratering.

In the next class, I will talk about how we explore space including the electromagnetic spectrum and telescopes, as well as some easy things you can see in the night sky.

Read more: Enceladus, Titan, Saturn's moons, Saturn, Saturn's rings, Jupiter's moons, Jupiter's rings, Io, Pluto, Europa, Ganymede, 136199 Eris (2003 UB313), Callisto, Venus, Earth, the Moon, Mars, Phobos, Deimos, Jupiter, Mercury, the Sun, near-Earth asteroids, trans-neptunian objects, comets, Earth impact hazard, asteroids, Triton, Neptune, Neptune's irregular moons, impact cratering, explaining science, Uranus, Uranus' irregular moons

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Bruce Betts

Chief Scientist / LightSail Program Manager for The Planetary Society
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