Facts About The Solar System



Our Solar System to Scale
Our Solar System to Scale
Click image for larger version

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Our solar system is an amazing place full of planets, moons, stars, comets and numerous other exciting objects (some of which we may not have even discovered yet). There are 8 main planets in our solar system – there used to be 9 but Pluto was relegated to dwarf planet status a few years ago so that leaves us with Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars which are the inner planets that are closest to the Sun and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune which are known as gas giant planets that are not very hospitable planets (certainly for human life anyway). All of the main planets in our solar system have moons orbiting them except for Mercury and Venus, the 2 closest planets to the Sun and there are roughly 150 known moons. Beyond Neptune is the Kuiper belt which is the home to Pluto and further on is the Oort cloud where most of the comets in the solar system are formed.



Read on for more fascinating facts about our solar system.

The Sun contains approximately 99% of the mass of the whole of the solar system and is by far the biggest object in our solar system.

One theory about how the solar system was originally formed is that it was formed from a giant gas cloud billions of years ago.

All 8 of the main planets in our solar system orbit the Sun.

We have not yet found evidence of life in our solar system other than on the Earth. This is not to say that there is definitely no other life in our solar system. Our solar system is so large and we have explored such as small part of it that life may exist somewhere (although perhaps not as we know it!)

Our solar system is elliptical in shape. This means it is shaped like an egg.

Scientists believe that the solar system is well over 4 billion years old. Current estimates suggest that it is 4.6 billion years old.

The orbits of the planets that travel around the Sun are almost circular although each planet takes a different amount of time to complete a full orbit.

Our solar system is part of a galaxy known as the Milky Way with the Sun at the centre of the solar system.

There is a huge amount of information about the different parts of our solar system on 8planets.co.uk so choose the part that you are most interested in and check out some of the amazing facts.


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