Characteristics of the Universe Assessment 

Standard: Analyze the main components of the universe.



The life cycle of a star.

Theories as to how the universe formed.

How to measure distance in space.

The basic characteristics of our solar system and the sun.


  • Spectrum
  • Apparent Magnitude
  • Absolute Magnitude
  • Light Year
  • Red Giant
  • White Dwarf
  • H-R Diagram
  • Main Sequence
  • Supernova,
  • Neutron Star
  • Pulsar
  • Black Hole
  • Galaxy
  • Nebula
  • Cosmology
  • Big Bang Theory
  • Solar Nebula
  • Comet
  • Asteroid
  • Asteroid Belt
  • Meteoroid
  • Meteorite
  • Meteor
  • nuclear fusion
  • Satellite



  1. Create a project describing the life cycle of a star.
  2. Explain the effects of the earth’s rotation and revolution on objects (earth-seasons, stars-motion and moon-phases) in the solar system.
  3. Explain formation of the universe theories and evidence to support them. 
  4. Create a project contrasting comets, asteroids, and meteors (meteorites and meteoroids).
  5. Create a project to analyze the main components of the universe (stars, galaxies, etc…)






Khan Academy

Cosmology and Astronomy


Solar System 101 (National Geographic)

How was our solar system born? Join scientists as they journey into the mesmerizing mysteries of space. Hear their expert theories, then decide for yourself! WATCH VIDEO NOW


Characteristics of the Universe Study Guide

Supernova – a gigantic explosion where this massive star collapses and sheds its outer layers into space                                               

Neutron Star – a star that has collapsed under gravity and the electrons and protons get smashed together to form neutrons

Black hole- an object so massive and dense light cannot escape it              

Pulsar – a rapidly spinning neutron star that emits rapid pulses of radio and optical energy

White Dwarf  - a small, hot, dim star leftover from an old star                              

H-R Diagram – a graph that shows the relationship between a star’s temperature and absolute magnitude

Red Giant – A large, reddish star late in its life cycle

Main Sequence – where most stars are located on the H-R diagram


Study Questions

  1. What size star is the sun?  It is a medium sized star 
  2. What pulls together the gas and dust to make a star? gravity
  3. What is nuclear fusion? When hydrogen turns into helium
  4. What information does the H-R diagram give us? Be prepared to draw/plot certain color stars on an H-R diagram.  Also be prepared to show where the main sequence stars are found.
  5. Know stages in order for a medium/average star.
  6. What is the big bang theory? Theory that the universe began with a huge explosion
  7. What is cosmology?  The study of the universe
  8. Is the Universe still moving today? Yes – it is expanding.
  9. What do Scientists think will happen to the Universe in the future? That is will just continue to expand forever.
  10. Know the three different types of galaxies.  Be prepared to draw a sketch and give defining characteristics of each.

                                    Spiral – disc shaped (Milky Way)

                                          Elliptical – oval shaped

                                          Irregular – no definite shape