Cosmic Wonders

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Want to get an idea of how big God’s love is?

Take a look at some pictures of space. Our universe is huge. It holds billions of galaxies. A galaxy like our own Milky Way holds billions of stars like our own sun. When you think about it, Earth is just a teeny tiny speck in the huge universe.

But God is so big that he’s in charge of the whole universe. Stars, planets, galaxies--they all belong to God. But even with a huge universe to rule over, God still cares about every person here on Earth.

God cares about your feelings, your friends, and your family. God can help you with the smallest problem or the biggest decision.

We’re all just tiny specks in space, but God loves each one of us more than we can imagine. The Bible says that God even knows how many hairs are on your head (that’s about 100,000!).

So take a look at space when you want to feel how big the love of God is.

Our universe belongs to God—and so do you!

Solar System Road Trip

Our solar system is the sun and the nine planets that circle it. Our solar system is only a very small part of space, but it’s still huge.

Stars and planets are very, very far away from each other, even though they look close in the night sky. For example, the distance from the Earth to the sun is 93 million miles (almost 150 million kilometers)!

If you could get in your family’s car and drive from the sun to the planets, here’s how long it would take if you were going 70 miles per hour (about 113 kilometers per hour):

Mercury 57 years Venus 106 years Earth 152 years Mars 223 years Jupiter 762 years Saturn 1,396 years Uranus 2,809 years Neptune 4,400 years Pluto 5,700 years

Fun Facts

After the sun, the star closest to our solar system is Proxima Centauri. But it’s so far away that it takes four years for its light to reach Earth. So if you look at Proxima Centauri through a telescope when you’re 8 years old, the light you see started its trip to Earth when you were 4!

Want to know how much you’d weigh on the moon? Multiply your weight by 0.162. The product is your moon weight. So if you weigh 55 pounds (25 kilograms) on Earth, you’d weigh 8.9 pounds (4 kilograms) on the moon--about as much as a cat!

A kind of spacecraft called EO-1 (Earth-Observing 1) can tell the difference between oak trees and maple trees from space! To read more about this, visit www.spaceplace.nasa.gov and search for “hyperion.”

To launch a rocket into space, the people at NASA click a computer mouse just like the one on a home computer. (OK, they do a lot more than that to get ready for the launch, but when it’s all set, one click starts the launch!)

Big Dipper in a Can

The Big Dipper is one of the most famous constellations (groups of stars). Wanna take it with you wherever you go? Here’s what you’ll need to make your very own Big Dipper in a Can:

  • Pattern of the Big Dipper constellation (see below)
  • Clean soup can, one end cut off
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Small nail
  • Hammer
  • Flashlight

Directions:

  1. Put the soup can upside down on a table.
  2. Trace the pattern of the Big Dipper onto the tracing paper. Cut it out, FLIP IT UPSIDE DOWN, and tape it to the closed end of the can. (If you don’t flip the paper over, your constellation will be backward.)
  3. Use the hammer and nail to punch small holes in the can where the dots are on your tracing paper.
  4. Now take the paper off. Shine a flashlight through the can to make the Big Dipper show up on the wall or ceiling in a dark room.

Comet Crash!

On Jan. 12, scientists at NASA (the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration) sent a spaceship called Deep Impact into outer space. Its job is to help us find out what comets look like inside.

On July 4 a piece of the spacecraft called an impactor will drop off and head right for a comet named Tempel 1.

The impactor will crash into the comet at 23,000 miles per hour (36,000 kilometers per hour) and get blown to bits. But before that happens it will take pictures of the inside of the comet and send them back to Deep Impact.

How cool is that? To learn more about Deep Impact, visit NASA’s website: www.nasa.gov/deepimpact. (And visit the website again after the July 4 crash to see pictures of comet guts.)

About the Author

Sandy Swartzentruber serves as the resource coordinator for Faith Formation Ministries and is a member of Sherman Street CRC in Grand Rapids, Mich.

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