Space Facts for KS2 Children and Teachers

Space is a fascinating topic to study with your class. Check out these fun and informative space facts for KS2 children:


What is the universe?

The Universe is everything! It comprises everything we can see, hear, touch and detect. The Universe is enormous – it’s so big that we can’t even see the edge of it, if there even is one. The part of the Universe we can see is at least 93 billion light years across. A light year is the distance light travels in a year (about 9 trillion kilometres). So multiply 9 trillion kilometres by 93 billion and that’s how big the visible Universe is!

Space Facts for KS2 - Studying Space Astrophysicists use lots of high-tech equipment to study the universe.


What is the solar system?

The solar system is a system of stars, planets and other objects that are all gravitationally bound to the Sun. In other words, the solar system includes anything that orbits the Sun because the movement of the planet balances with the gravity of the Sun to keep the objects moving around the Sun.

Our solar system consists of the Sun (a star), the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, dwarf planets such as Pluto, lots of moons and millions of asteroids, comets and meteoroids.

The Solar System


What is a galaxy?

The Universe is made up of billions of galaxies. A galaxy is a collection of dust, gas, billions of stars and their solar systems. A galaxy is held together by gravity. Galaxies can be all sorts of different shapes, sizes and colours. There are so many galaxies in the universe that we can’t even count them all yet!

The Andromeda Galaxy - Space Facts for KS2 The Andromeda Galaxy, a spiral galaxy


What is the Milky Way?

The Milky Way is our galaxy. When you look at the stars at night, you are looking at the stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists estimate that there are about 100 billion stars in the Milky Way. Because we are inside the Milky Way, we can’t get a picture of what it looks like from the outside, but scientists think it is a large barred spiral galaxy.

Space Facts for KS2 - The Milky Way Earth in the Milky Way galaxy


What is a black hole?

A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out. Black holes are invisible because light can’t get out. A special telescope has to be used to find black holes.

Some black holes can be as tiny as an atom but have the same mass as a large mountain. Other black holes, called stellar black holes, can have a mass that is twenty times bigger than the mass of the Sun.


What is a planet?

Not everyone agrees on what the definition of a planet should be. The most recent definition of a planet was defined in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union. It says that a planet:

  • must orbit a star (in our solar system, this is the Sun)
  • must be roughly spherical in shape
  • must be big enough that its gravity is big enough to clear away any other objects of a similar size near its orbit around the Sun.

Until 2006, Pluto was considered to be a planet but then its status was changed to ‘dwarf planet’. This is because it does not meet the last of the three criteria – it hasn’t cleared its neighbouring region of other objects because its gravitational force isn’t big enough.

 

Planet Facts

Mercury:

Diameter: 4,878 km

Distance from the sun: 58 million km

Time taken to orbit the sun: 88 days

Time taken to complete one rotation: 1,408 hours

Composition: Rock and metal

Moons: No moons

Interesting facts: Mercury is the closest planet to the sun causing extremes in temperature. Temperatures can reach up to 450°C during the day and -170°C at night.

Space Facts for KS2 - Mercury Mercury

Venus:

Diameter: 12,100 km

Distance from the sun: 108 million km

Time taken to orbit the sun: 225 days

Time taken to complete one rotation: 5,832 hours

Composition: Rock and metal

Moons: No moons

Interesting facts: Venus is often mistaken for a star because, after the moon, it is the brightest object in the night sky.

Space Facts for KS2 - Venus Venus

Earth:

Diameter: 12,800 km

Distance from the sun: 150 million km

Time taken to orbit the sun: 365 days

Time taken to complete one rotation: 24 hours

Composition: Rock and metal

Moons: 1 moon

Interesting facts: Earth is the only planet in which water can exist as a liquid instead of ice or gas due to the distance from the sun.

Space facts for KS2 - Earth Earth

Mars:

Diameter: 6,800 km

Distance from the sun: 230 million km

Time taken to orbit the sun: 687 days

Time taken to complete one rotation: 25 hours

Composition: Rock and metal

Moons: 2 moons

Interesting facts: Mars has 24 hour days just like earth, as well as polar caps and an atmosphere. This has caused many scientists to believe that Mars could support extraterrestrial life.

Space Facts for KS2 - Mars Mars

Jupiter:

Diameter: 142,980 km

Distance from the sun: 778 million km

Time taken to orbit the sun: 4332 days

Time taken to complete one rotation: 10 hours

Composition: Gas (mainly hydrogen and helium)

Moons: At least 63 known moons

Interesting facts: Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It only takes 9 hours and 55 minutes for Jupiter to rotate on its axis.

Space Facts for KS2 - Jupiter Jupiter

Saturn:

Diameter: 120,535 km

Distance from the sun: 1433 million km

Time taken to orbit the sun: 10,756 days

Time taken to complete one rotation: 11 hours

Composition: Gas (mainly hydrogen)

Moons: At least 60 known moons

Interesting facts: Saturn’s rings are made up of billions of ice particles, ranging from micrometres to hundreds of metres in width. Saturn is so light it could float on water.

Space Facts for KS2 - Saturn Saturn

Uranus:

Diameter: 51,12O km

Distance from the sun: 2873 million km

Time taken to orbit the sun: 3O,6OO days

Time taken to complete one rotation: 17 hours

Composition: Ice, gas and rock

Moons: At least 27 known moons

Interesting facts: Uranus also has a series of rings which are made up of dust. Uranus is the only planet that spins on its side.

Space Facts for KS2 - Uranus Uranus

Neptune:

Diameter: 49,53O km

Distance from the sun: 4.5 billion km

Time taken to orbit the sun: 6O,1OO days

Time taken to complete one rotation: 16 hours

Composition: Gas (mainly methane which gives Neptune its blue colour)

Moons: 13 moons

Interesting facts: Neptune has the strongest winds of any of the planets. Wind speeds can reach up to 2,1OO km per hour. It is also the coldest planet.

Space Facts for KS2 - Neptune Neptune


 

Top 10 Fascinating Space Facts:

  1. Space is completely silent because there is no atmosphere. This means that there is no way for the sound to travel in the vacuum of space. Astronauts use radios to communicate in space because radio waves can be sent and received.
  2. Our solar system is around 4.571 billion years old.
  3. The highest mountain found in our solar system is on Mars. It is 16 miles high, making it nearly three times as high as Mount Everest.
  4. It would take a modern spacecraft 450 million years to travel to the centre of the Milky Way.
  5. The Sun is so big that the Earth could fit inside it 1.3 million times over.
  6. There are more stars in space than there are grains of sand in the world.
  7. The footprints made by the Apollo 11 astronauts will probably stay there for at least 100 million years. This is because there is no atmosphere and therefore no wind or rain to erode the footprints.
  8. If two pieces of the same metal touch in space, they will be permanently stuck together. This is called cold welding and it happens because the atoms have no way of knowing that they are different pieces of metal, so they join together. On Earth, air and water get between the pieces, meaning they won’t bond.
  9. In the visible universe, there are an estimated 2 trillion galaxies.
  10. The Sun makes up more than 99% of all the mass in the solar system.

We hope you enjoyed our space facts for KS2 children and teachers! There is so much more to find out about space. Why not see what else you can discover!


Teachers: If you're looking for lessons on space, check out our ready-to-teach Space Cross-Curricular Topic for KS2 children. 


Becky CranhamBecky Cranham

@PlanBeeBecky

Hi! I'm a former primary teacher. I set up PlanBee in 2009 to help redress the teacher workload balance. I'm passionate about primary education matters, and I love finding new ways to make teachers' lives easier! Read more


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