Monday, June 4, 2007

Explained: The Solar System

The Solar System is where Earth and my other objects are located. The sun is at the center of the solar system. The Sun’s huge size and massive gravity keep many things in orbit around it. The solar system is comprised of eight planets and three dwarf planets. The four inner planets (or terrestrial planets), Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are the four closest planets. These planets are rocky and have a solid surface.

Image Credit: Wikimedia

Beyond the rocky planets lies the four gas planets (or Jovian planets), Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These four planets are comprised mostly of gas. These outer planets are larger than the inner planets. Of the four gas planets, Jupiter is the largest.

Image Credit: NASA JPL

Between the orbit of Mars and Jupiter lies a region known as the asteroid belt. Many asteroids are located in this belt and orbit the sun. The asteroids are the leftovers from the creation of the solar system, from the sun, and planets. The largest of these asteroids is Ceres, a dwarf planet.

Past the orbit of Neptune are the other two dwarf planets, Pluto and Eris. Pluto and Eris lie on the border between our solar system and a region of rock known as the Kuiper belt. The Kuiper belt is akin to the asteroid belt, but contains large and small bodies of cold ice and some rock, which were left over from the makings of the solar system. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Alternate Article: Solar System

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