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A constellation is a grouping of visible stars that form some type of pattern when viewed from the earth. Sometimes these patterns are animals or even creatures. There are 88 constellations that divide up the night sky: the brightest stars in the patterns that they make are then mapped. There are 13 zodiac constellations that are all located in a band where the sun, moon, and the planets all move. Constellations can be useful because they can help people recognize stars and help us keep track of the calendar. Many sailors have used constellations for navigation for centuries.
Stars are huge balls of hydrogen and helium that are formed in galaxies from great big clouds of gas and dust over billions and billions of years. All Stars are suns, just like our sun. Stars are just like people, they have a lifecycle and eventually will die out. Stars begin as cloud clusters of dust and gas. As more dust and gas stick together gravity pulls them together and hold them like glue. Stars twinkle in the in the night sky because of the Earth's atmosphere. The core of the star is extremely hot and produces energy. Some of this energy is released as visible light which makes the star glow.
Planets in our solar system circle around the sun. There are eight planets in our solar system. Smaller planets with solid ground include Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. There are four larger gas giants including Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. We are learning new things about our neighboring planets all the time. We send astronauts to space to take pictures, gather information and find out more about them. Their are eight planets inside of our own solar system and thousands of planets outside of our solar system.
Constellation and Star Games