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Grades 6-8

Beyond Our Solar System

Science Bulletin

Beyond Our Solar System: Searching for Extrasolar Planets

Astrophysicists are discovering new extrasolar planets—those outside our Solar System—almost daily. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope (originally called SIRTF, or the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) and AMNH's Lyot Project Coronograph are two of the many technologies uncovering the attributes and evolution of these faraway worlds. The techniques employed by these instruments may one day help answer one of astronomy's reigning mysteries: do any extrasolar planets host life?
The feature video relates scientists' hopes for the Spitzer Space Telescope before its launch in 2003. It also gives a firsthand look into the making of the Lyot Project. The feature essays share how these two remarkable technologies are making progress in their goals to seek and understand extrasolar planets.

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Story

Meet the Biodiversity OLogists

If protecting the world's animals and plants is one of your goals, then you need to meet these OLogists. Find out where Ismael, Keally, Marco, and Eleanor have followed their curiosity.

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Story

Meet the Marine BiOLogists

Dive into marine biology with Gabriela, Gwyneth, Luke, and Melanie. You'll travel from the west coast of Africa to the north coast of Ireland, meeting sea birds, seals, and lots of fish.

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Story

Meet the Earth OLogists

Do you dig the Earth? If so, you'll want to meet Arjun, Diana, Ruthmabel, and Ed. From volcanoes to deep sea vents, find out where these OLogists' interests have taken them.

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Activity

What Do You Know About Earth?

How well grounded is your knowledge of our planet? Test your Earth science knowledge with this interactive quiz. Then, examine your faults—and the rights answers.

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Hands-on Activity

Create a Compass

From any place on Earth, a compass will always point north. But do you know why? Explore the inner workings of this tiny magnet by building one—and then testing it in your neighborhood.

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Hands-on Activity

Edible Earth

Want to take a close look at the layers that make up our solid Earth? Cook up a model that's good enough to eat—from the spice drop inner core to the thin chocolate crust.

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Hands-on Activity

Start a Rock Collection

Why collect rocks? Because every rock has a story to tell about how Earth, and life on it, has changed over time. Learn how to create a collection that rocks!

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Hands-on Activity

Grow Rock Candy

No matter where you find mineral salt—on your table or at the beach—you'll see its unique cube-shaped crystals. Take a sweet look at the crystal patterns and compositions of minerals.

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Curriculum Materials

Earth Books

Explore the Earth's deepest mysteries. Grasp the solar system and space exploration. See the powerful forces unleashed by nature. And put the world at your fingertips with these nine kid-friendly books.

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