The Nine Planets

Name:The Nine Planets

Brief Description of the Site:
With the successful landing on Mars of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity most of the focus is on the Red Planet itself. But what about Phobos and Deimos? They are the two moons orbiting Mars, as we learn from this comprehensive and scholarly site dedicated to the planets and other objects in our solar system, including Earth, which, we learn, is the only planet whose name does not derive from Greek/Roman mythology. Also deriving from mythology are the names of the moons and other objects orbiting the planets (such as Saturn’s Prometheus and Janus) and the site not only describes these bodies but includes a one-sentence explanation of the name. Explanation and description are the site’s strong point, as it provides an incredible amount of information about every object in our solar system, including Sedna, the most distant body orbiting the sun and the subject of recent scientific interest. The thorough explanations offer many hot links so that a serious student can spend hours gathering information and learning.

How to use the site:
For class research and as a resource for WebQuests. The site offers a wealth of information as well as statistics and, more important, comparisons and contrasts. It is an excellent place for middle-school and higher students to begin solar system research (it does require a fairly mature reading ability). The homepage is in outline format, with all entries clickable. It also offers many photos and links to further sources of information. English teachers might enjoy the succinct explanations of the names such as Titania and Calypso.

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