Discover the Ancient and Modern Solar System

This week we begin a crafty and curious exploration of our Solar System. Together we will discover:

  • Ancient Greek ideas about the Solar System.

  • The Greek mythology of planets and amazing planet facts

  • How to make your own Solar System model!

The Heliocentric Model of our universe. The Sun is at the centre of our Solar System.

The ancient Greeks observed that the planets appeared to move across the night sky. They were curious about how this happened and what made the planets move.

Today we know that a star called the Sun is at the centre of our Solar System. It creates a gravitational pull that pulls the planets into orbit around it. We know that larger objects, like the Sun, have more gravity than smaller objects.

The planets that make up our Solar System orbit the Sun in this order: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune.

The Geocentric Model of the universe was proposed by ancient Greek astronomers Aristotle, Plato and Ptolemy.

Ancient Greek astronomers and philosophers like Aristotle explained that the planets moved in spheres (circles) made of aether (pure air). The first astronomers arranged the planets in this order: the Earth was thought to be at the centre of the universe circled by the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. This was called the Geo-centric model of the universe, with the Earth at its centre. This model was incorrect.

Aristarchus of Samos Nicolaus Copernicus Heliocentric Model

Even though the ancient Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos correctly proposed that the Sun was at the centre of our Solar System in 200 BCE, other astronomers did not believe this. In fact, only hundreds of years later, in 1514 CE, the idea that the Sun was at the centre of our Solar System was proposed again. This time the Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus tried to convince the world that this was true. Copernicus wrote many books about his investigations and was inspired by Aristarchus of Samos.

MAKE: Your Own solar System Model

Watch this colourful video to learn how to make your own Solar System model. Keep your model as we discover the planets that were known to ancient Greeks

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