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Water Cooler: Explore space with YouTube

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 24, 2021

In this illustration, the Perseverance rover, with its heat shield facing the Red Planet, begins its descent through the Martian atmosphere. To learn more about Mars, Smile and Learn offers high-quality animations and fun narrations on YouTube.  (NASA)
In this illustration, the Perseverance rover, with its heat shield facing the Red Planet, begins its descent through the Martian atmosphere. To learn more about Mars, Smile and Learn offers high-quality animations and fun narrations on YouTube. (NASA)

Space has captured the imagination of humans throughout history. Even today, with all our developments here on Earth, space still holds endless mysteries. If you love to dream about space, and maybe need a bit of fun, escapist learning, then head over to YouTube to enjoy a wealth of information on astronomy alongside helpful and exciting visuals. Here are a few videos to start with.

“Let’s Explore Space! | Astronomy for Kids,” posted by SciShow Kids – A fantastic 101 on basic astronomy. Learn what gives stars their glow, what type of star our sun is and what makes stars glow different colors. Visit the other planets in our solar system and learn about what other kinds of things float around there, some natural and some made on Earth. Discover the astronomical conditions that make Earth hospitable compared with other planets.

“Space Compilation: Crash Course Kids,” posted by Crash Course Kids – This compilation is also a great introduction to basic astronomy, discussing topics like how light travels from the sun to the Earth, Earth’s cosmic address, how scientists measure space, Earth’s second-closest star, constellations and how stars have been viewed throughout history and how the stars have been used for navigation.

“StoryBots Outer Space | Planets, Sun, Moon, Earth and Stars,” posted by Netflix Jr. – If you love learning along with catchy songs, this video is an entertaining and quotable way to learn about our solar system. Each planet and Earth’s moon is their own character, providing a helpful device for young learners to remember each planet’s characteristics. The music has good production value and is fun to listen along to. The sun raps about its temperature and gases, the moon sings about how it reflects light at the Earth each night, and the Earth make rhymes about all the awesome people and places it has.

“The Solar System Song (with lyrics),” posted by KidsTV123 – This animation made to “The Solar System Song,” written and performed by A.J. Jenkins is great for younger learners. It’s a short length, great for quick and entertaining learning. The relaxed song has just a few lines for each planet, paring down information and presenting it in a calming way. This video would work as a great wind down song before bed.

“Mars, the Red Planet – Solar System 3D Animation for Kids,” posted by Smile and Learn – English – Mars has been in the news a lot recently with the new rover, Perseverance, having just landed there. Learn more about the Red Planet with high-quality animations and fun narrations. The entire video is subtitled in English so it’s a great video for children who are practicing their reading.

“Jupiter 101 | National Geographic,” posted by National Geographic – This video likely works best for older kids and adults, but with the high-quality visuals you would expect from National Geographic, it’s a great way for people of any age to get a great look at the planet Jupiter. The information is an excellent introduction of Jupiter, explaining what makes it a gas planet, its immense density, its stormy atmosphere, and details about the Great Red Spot. On-screen graphics make this video easy to follow along with and the inclusion of archival footage is a treat to see.

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