Heliocentric Model of the Solar System
Earth and Space

Relative positions of astronomical objects

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Confusing the locations of: Earth and Moon; the planets in our solar system; other stars

Wrong Track: You can see the stars at night and the planets like Jupiter and Saturn are just there with them.

Right Lines: You can often see the planets in the night sky, but these are much closer to us than the stars. For example the Plough constellation (Ursa Major) is about 64–95 light years away (the different stars which make up the Plough are at different distances from the Earth, they just look as though they are in the same plane), while Jupiter is only about 600 × 106 kilometre away when the Earth and Jupiter are aligned on the same side of the Sun.

IOP DOMAINS Physics CPD programme

New videos on forces

Our first collection of videos gives teachers and coaches of physics a preview of the training we offer ahead of this term's live support sessions.

Find out more