Exploring Our Solar System - August 2021 Update  [Banner & Activity - Exploring the Solar System]

Exploring Our Solar System - August 2021 Update [Banner & Activity - Exploring the Solar System]

  • Daytime Event
  • Inside Venue
  • Outside Venue
  • Target Audience
  • Child, Teen, Adult

UPDATE July 29, 2021: The Kansas Astronomical Observers' NSN Coordinator, Jerelyn Ramirez, shared these updated maps showing the positions of the planets for August 2021's oppositions of Jupiter and Saturn - find them below or download here.Thank you Jerelyn, and happy observing, all!

What planets can we see in the night sky? Why can't we see all the planets now? Where has NASA explored in the Solar System, and where are they now?

The Exploring Our Solar System banner helps you answer these basic questions your visitors may have prior or observing and is a fun, interactive way for both you and your visitors to visualize the layout of our solar system as it relates to how we see it in our dark skies. This map can help visitors see why Venus and Mercury can be both "evening" and "morning" planets, how conjunctions happen, and even what retrograde motion is. 

Links to the original banner artwork and locations of NASA missions are included to allow you to print out your own banners.

You can also modify this sheet to demonstrate positions of the planets at their oppositions  as demonstrated in these examples shared by Jerelyn Ramirez:

Jupiter and Saturn - August 2021
https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/docs/Oppositions.pdf

Mars 2020:
https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/docs/ExploringtheSolarSystemMarsOpposition.pdf

Pair this handout with the Where Are The Planets? sky map handout,, along with the "I Saw X" planets & more stickers, for a night of unforgettable planetary observing with your guests!

This resource is part of the Exploring the Solar System Toolkit.

Uploaded: December 7, 2007
Last Update: July 30, 2021

Video

Exploring Our Solar System Banner

Demonstration of the activity on YouTube.

Activity Key

Daytime Event
Daytime Event
Nighttime Event
Nighttime Event
Inside Venue
Inside Venue
Outside Venue
Outside Venue
star
Target Audience