Stars, Constellations and Other Celestial Bodies Science Grade 3 | Orchids
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The Solar System

Concept: Stars, Constellations and Other Celestial Bodies

What are stars?

  • Stars are luminous astronomical objects that constantly emit heat and light.
  • Stars are made with gaseous components.
  • We can see many twinkling stars through our naked eyes in the night sky.
  • The Sun is the closest star to Earth.
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Stars around us:

a) Sun:

  • It is a hot ball of glowing gases.
  • The Sun is situated at the centre of the solar system.
  • The Earth and all other planets belonging to the solar system revolve around the Sun.
  • Sun gives us heat and light necessary for the existence of life on Earth.
  • In many cultures, the Sun is considered an important deity because of its massive importance.
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b) Pole star:

  • The Pole star appears like a stationary star in the sky at night.
  • This star can be seen in the night sky in the North direction.
  • Pole star is called Dhruv Tara in Hindi.
  • We cannot see the Pole star from the southern hemisphere.
  • In the past, the sailors used to locate the north with the help of the Pole star.
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c) Constellations:

  • Constellations are a group of stars that can make recognisable patterns in the night sky.
  • These groups of stars might take the shapes of animals, objects, or people.
  • In many instances, they are named after mythological figures of the ancient world.
  • Constellations are used in astronomy, navigation, and storytelling.
  • Constellations can be seen through telescopes.
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The different constellations are briefly described below—

i) Orion:

  • This constellation is clearly visible in the night sky.
  • Orion is named after a famous Greek mythological character known by the same name.
  • In the middle, it has a set of three stars, and if we join those, they look like a belt; hence is known as Orion’s belt.
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ii) Ursa major:

  • This constellation has many names like Plough or the Big Dipper, and Great Bear.
  • In India, this constellation is called Saptarishi.
  • This constellation points towards the North Star.
  • In the past, this constellation helped people navigate the northern hemisphere.
  • This constellation is made of seven bright stars.
  • It looks like a big dipper if we join all the stars with a line.
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iii) Pegasus:

  • This constellation is named after the Greek mythological character that looks like a winged horse.
  • It consists of a square set of four stars and with other stars surrounding that square.
  • This constellation is attached to another constellation called Andromeda.
  • Except for the square, other parts of this constellation appear fuzzy in the night sky.
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iv) Canis major:

  • This constellation represents the figure of a dog in the night sky.
  • It has Sirius, which is the brightest star in the night sky.
  • This constellation is visible in the northern hemisphere during winter and in the southern hemisphere during summer.
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Celestial bodies:

The heavenly bodies that are present in the universe are called celestial bodies.

Examples: Stars, planets and satellites.

Different celestial bodies up in the sky:

a) Planets:

  • Planets do not emit light and heat like stars. They reflect the light of the Sun.
  • These are large celestial bodies moving around the Sun in fixed paths.

Examples: Earth, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, etc.

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b) Satellites:

  • Satellites are heavenly bodies revolving around the planets.
  • They also do not emit light and heat like stars.
  • Satellites always revolve in a fixed orbit.

Examples: Moon.

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c) Comets:

  • Comets are small celestial objects that revolve around the Sun.
  • They look like fireballs with long tails in the night sky.
  • Comets are only visible when they come close to the Sun.
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d) Meteors and meteorites:

  • Meteoroids are celestial bodies revolving around the Sun in different orbits.
  • If they come out of the orbit, they fall towards the Earth’s surface, catch fire, and are called meteors.
  • Meteors may vary in size. If some of their remains reach the surface of the Earth without burning completely, they are considered meteorites.
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New Words:

Luminous: Something that possesses the light of its own.

Deity: A god or goddess.

Stationary: Something that does not move.

Atmosphere: A layer of gas mixture surrounding the Earth.

Dipper: A scoop or a ladle.


Did You Know?

  • Next to the Sun, Proxima Centauri is the closest star to Earth.
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  • At present, we know about 88 constellations.
  • Asteroids are a type of celestial bodies that are present between the planets Mars and Jupiter.
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