For many thousands of years or perhaps millions, human beings lived by the notion that the earth was at the center of the solar system. However, great scientists opened a new era where they indicated that the solar system was too large, and the earth is just but a smaller, perhaps insignificant, part of the universe.
So, What is the Solar System?
The solar system comprises the sun at its center and numerous other objects that revolve around it, running into millions. The sun, classified as a star, is the largest body mass, exerting a force of gravity that holds together all the other objects that move around it. Other objects making up the solar system include planets, asteroids, moons, asteroids, and comets.
The sun, the largest in the solar system, accounts for more than ninety-nine percent of the total mass of the universe, which explains its immense gravity that pulls the rest of the objects to rotate in its gravity. The planets that revolve around the sun fall into three distinctive categories.
The inner planets consist of those closest to the sun and this has very small masses in comparison to those at farther distances. These inner planets include mercury, which is the closest to the sun, Venus, which comes next after Mercury, Earth, which is the only planet supporting life, and lastly Mars, which scientists suspect could have some life as well.
The outer planets come after the inner planets, most of them with larger masses in comparison to the inner planets. Jupiter is the largest of all planets, Saturn has some ring around it, which makes it unique from the rest of the planets and planet Uranus along with Neptune. Outer planets consist majorly of gas, including helium that is inert and hydrogen as well.
The last category comprises of those planets that they call “Dwarf” because of their small sizes. These planets include Pluto, Haumea, Eris, and Ceres.
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Everything About our Planets
While this may be common knowledge. Now, I still remember the solar system with nine planets, that changed greatly since the last time I had formal education on the solar system so this is a great starting point when exploring the planets we are closest to. This does not include the many dwarf planets we have discovered, but only the major core of our solar system put in order from closest to farthest away from the Sun.
- Mercury – This is the closest planet to the Sun. It’s small and very hot due to proximity to the sun and the lack of atmosphere.
- Venus – The second closest planet to the Sun, Venus closely resembles the Earth in size, though it is believed to be too hot to be habitable.
- Earth – You know it, you love it, you live on it. It’s the third planet from the Sun.
- Mars – It has been the focus of NASA for several years. Mars has been visited by rovers and satellites, and we know more about it than we do about any other planet in the solar system, excluding Earth.
- Here you’ll see the asteroid belt. It’s not a planet, but an important dividing point in our solar system. Many scientists believe this to be the end of the habitable zone in our solar system, but it also separates the gas giants from the more solid planets.
- Jupiter – The largest planet in the solar system, it is the fifth planet from the Sun. Jupiter is home to the giant red dot, a storm brewing on the body of this gas giant that is twice the size of Earth!
- Saturn – Known for its many rings, Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun. Another gas giant, it is the second-largest planet in the solar system.
- Uranus – The seventh planet from the Sun, this gas giant is the start of the two ice giants. When the Voyager 2 passed it 1986, it looked like a featureless disc but showed scientists that this complex giant contains a complex atmosphere.
- Neptune – The last planet in the solar system (number 8), this is the last of the ice giants. It contains spots similar to Jupiter, only a darker shade of blue or grey rather than Jupiter’s dark red spot.
- Pluto – Not a planet anymore, this former planet is now considered a dwarf planet, which is a sub-categorization of planets.
So there it is the eight planets of the solar system. These are believed to be the only planets in the solar system, but more large celestial bodies can be discovered out in the Kuiper Belt, though many scientist believe only dwarf planets and comets exist out there.
Fun Facts You Must Know
One of such funny solar system facts is the hottest planet. Definitely, the sun is the source of all-natural heat in the universe and so as you would expect, the closest planet to the sun should be the hottest, but it is not. Mercury lies close to the sun, but surprisingly, not as hot as Venus, which falls more than thirty million miles after mercury. This is because Mercury lacks an atmosphere to preserve any heat, allowing the easy escape of any heat, while Venus maintains a thick atmosphere that allows it to trap maximum heat and retain it from within.
While it is a general assumption that planets should be notably large, a few of them defy this common notion. Pluto, largely known as a dwarf planet, is the first suspect here. The diameter of Pluto is roughly one thousand five hundred miles, which is significantly lower, perhaps less than half the longest width of the United States. This implies that such a planet would simply be part of a bigger country like Russia. However, Pluto is not the only unfortunate planet falling in this category. There are four other planets, which in total make up the family of “dwarf planets”.
There is an ocean on Jupiter! Yes, this could be funny and fascinating at the same time, but science has it that there must be some great ocean on this planet, big enough that it could swallow up our planet if we try to immerse it in. This planet, which comprises majorly of hydrogen and helium, also experiences freezing temperatures and high pressure. The laws of physics simply dictate that under such conditions we would expect nothing but water.
Interesting Facts About the Solar System
The study of the solar system is not a young discipline but rather one of the oldest, dating back to the days of the kings. The solar system was formed more than four billion years ago, indicating that it is more than two thousand times as old as the start of human life, I mean according to science. While human beings are making great strides in understanding the solar system, much remains largely unknown, kicking off the numerous debates about the solar system. However, there are several facts about the solar system that we do know today.
The sun is responsible for the positions of the planets. This is the largest star we have and it holds all the other components of the solar system in place. The sun accounts for the largest mass of the whole universe, while the rest of the planets make up for the remaining mass.
While there are about a dozen planets, the solar system comprises of billions of objects, which scientists estimate to exceed the sand available on earth! Only planet earth supports life. While there is speculation that life could be existing on Planet Mars, there is no substantial proof yet to believe that this truly happens.
Jupiter is the largest of all planets we know to this day. Its size is about four to five times the size of the earth. This planet is so massive that it sucks dirt circulating freely in the solar system. This planet adds up to its own trend pouring several watts of its Magnetic field into our planet earth every day.
All the planets, irrespective of their location, go around the sun. However, the duration each of the planets takes to complete one cycle around the sun varies widely. While the earth takes a year to make a complete circulation around the sun, the planet Pluto takes approximately two hundred and fifty years to achieve the same.
Random Facts About our Solar System
The solar system is one of the most fascinating works of creation. Here are ten facts about it.
- The solar system began about 4.6 million years ago from the collapse of the giant interstellar nebula cloud due to gravitational pull.
- The solar system has a man-made object called Voyager 1 which took a grand tour to the outer planets so as to give the scientist a close look at them and as well send data to the earth
- The sun (a yellow dwarf star) which has helium and hydrogen is greater in diameter than the Earth, and it is at the center of the solar system. More so, it produces a massive amount of heat.
- All planets have oval-shaped orbits in the sun that revolve in an ecliptic way.
- One or more planets can orbit at least a third of the 200 billion stars in the Milky Way.
- One can see the planets with a naked eye in the solar system.
- Over 100 moons of examples are Enceladus and Titan that are found in Saturn and Europa in Jupiter furthermore eight planets are found in the solar system.
- The inner planets which are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are composed of rocks and metals they are also called terrestrial planets while the outer planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are the gas giant as they are large and more massive.
- The solar system is located in the Orion Arm, far away from the center of the galaxy called the Milky Way.
- The solar systems have other objects which include Kuiper Belt located past Neptune and it has dwarf planets like Pluto more so Comets originate from it. Asteroid Belt, which is between the paths of Mars and Jupiter, and it, also contains millions of rocks is another object.
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