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Basics of Our Solar System

How much do you know about our solar system, the galaxy it's found in, and the universe beyond? Get the quick facts on the solar system right here!

Our Solar System - What's In It?

If the Milky Way galaxy were shrunk down to the size of North America, our solar system would fit inside a coffee cup. Our solar system is made up of a star that we call the Sun , along with eight or nine planets (more on that later): Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the most controversial: Pluto. The solar system also includes the satellites of these planets, numerous comets, asteroids, and meteoroids.

Our Solar SystemOur Solar System

Our Solar System - How Many Planets?

It has long been taught that our solar system contains nine planets, but that number was cast into doubt in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union voted to reclassify Pluto as a dwaft planet. The reason for it's demotion has to do with Pluto not being "gravitationally dominant" in its orbital zone. What does that mean? For an object to be gravitationally dominant it must exert a gravitational pull on the objects surrounding it. For example, the earth has a stronger pull on the Moon than the Moon has on the earth. That means the earth is gravitationally dominant. There are two other dwarf planets in our solar system besides newly demoted Pluto: Ceres and Eris.

Planet NamesPlanet Names

Our Solar System - How Big is It?

In order to get a good visual of the relative sizes of our solar system, imagine a model that has been reduced by a factor of one billion. That means the Earth is now the size of an olive. The Moon is a pepper corn orbiting about a foot away. The Sun is now the height of a man and about a city block from Earth. Jupiter has just become the size of a large grapefruit and is five blocks away from the Sun. Saturn, the size of an apple, is ten blocks away, Uranus and Neptune, both lemons, are twenty and thirty blocks away. A human on this scale is the size of an atom and the nearest star is more than 24,850 miles (40,000 km) away.

Our Solar System - How Was It Created?

The question of how our solar system - and also our universe - were created is a seriously contentious issue! There is a chance that we might never know entirely, but there some well-researched theories as to how it was created. The most famous and believed by astronomers is the Big Bang theory. The theory goes that about 14 billion years ago, the entire universe was thousands of times smaller than a pinhead. It was incredably hot and dense. At some point the micor-universe exploded, the blast made all this debris in the universe. The planets, moons and asteroids today are the survivors from that explosion and our Sun is the central star and the universe is still expanding to this day.

  • Drop us a line if you know something cool about our solar system. It is a great subject for a science project at school.
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What's Your Favorite Heavenly Body?

  • Earth.
  • Mercury.
  • Jessica Alba.
  • Saturn.

General In The Forums

AlphaT
AlphaT posted in Debating:
"JaneDoe2" wrote: You're a Trump fan? Whatever gave it away?
reply 1 minute
ThatRandomChick719
(Oops I forgot to censor something earlier. Sorry KW) Section Seven Yoshiki Kishinuma was beyond panicked. He had to tell himself not to scream. He heard the clapping. But... Only two. Something happened to Morishige. He wouldn't mess around at a time like this. "Crap crap crap! MORISHIGE! Where are you?!" Before he could come to his senses, he felt someone tap his shoulder. "There you are, Kishinuma-kun!! Have you seen Suzume?" "H-huh?! Shinohara?" "Mhm! Seiko Shinohara, at your service!" "...What are you going on about? Did Suzumoto come with you...?" "Yeah! She told me Morishige-kun went to look for you. She was worried, and I decided to help her look for you two. So... Where is he?" "...That's what I want to know. Shinohara... Something happened to him." "...H-huh?!" "He was signaling me... But he didn't finish. He was supposed to clap three times, but he only clapped twice." Shinohara's eyes went wide. This couldn't be happening. Morishige, the loner... "...Well, where did he go?!" "Hmm... Over there. Near that trailer." "Let's go, Kishinuma!" "Right." He began to walk in the direction of the trailer. He made sure he was cautious and didn't make a lot of noise. Shinohara followed suit. They made it there after some time passed, and they noticed an insane looking guy standing around. He was tall, wearing black, and holding a bloody knife. "Su... Zu... Mo... To..." His tone then became a sing song. "You're going to regret going in there! Hehehehehehehe." Kishinuma approached the thug and punched him without hesitation. "What... Did you... Just say?!" "Ohoho! It's you! The guy that failed to protect his girlfriend! Yoshiki Kishinuma, right?" "...Shinozaki is not my girlfriend! Where are they? Her. Morishige. And Suzumoto. TELL ME!" "You won't like it. But you can go inside and look for yourself. Heheh... Please, do. I would love to see the look on your face! HAHAHAHAHA!" "...Kizami... What is wrong with you?!" Whatever, that didn't matter. He ignored whatever response Kizami gave and opened a window, and climbed inside. Shinohara was too torn as to what to do, so she stayed behind and ran off. He didn't blame her, though. It was freaky. And at this point... He could handle it on his own. "SHINOZAKI!!! MORISHIGE!!! SUZUMOTO!!!" No response. He decided to fire the big guns. "AYUMI 'CLASS REP' SHINOZAKI! SAKUTARO 'SHIG' MORISHIGE! MAYU 'SUZUME' SUZUMOTO! WHERE ARE YOU, DANG IT?!" He lost all composure and fell to his knees. They were nowhere to be seen... He cried. A lot. "Aww, come on! Don't leave me! That's not cool...!" As he continued wailing protests, he heard a familiar voice scream out. A male. "Kishinuma!!! Where are you...?! AND DON'T CALL ME SAKUTARO OR SHIG! I WILL GET YOU... Ugh..." Ah, Morishige. Kishinuma didn't even care that he was butt hurt. He was relieved to hear his voice. "I'm in this creepy trailer...! Wait! I'll follow the direction of your voice. Just hold on!" "No... Don't...!" Kishinuma didn't listen. He followed Morishige's voice until he reached a dimly lit room. This must be where the light was coming from... On closer inspection, he saw the three people he was looking for. Ayumi was laying across a table, and her eyes were open in horror. Morishige was stuck to a wall. He had cuffs on his wrists and ankles. Suzumoto wasn't trapped, just trying to free him. "Suzumoto! Are you getting it undone?!" "Yeah... Why don't you get the class rep?" Morishige protested. "Mayu, don't say that! Kishinuma... Don't do anything! Let me... Take care of it... Please..." "MORISHIGE! How... HOW COULD YOU SAY THAT?! That's the whole reason I came here! I WILL get her! Understand me?!" "...Kishinuma, I'm being serious! It's... For your own good!" "SHUT UP! I'm tired of your lies!" Morishige continued to protest, but Kishinuma ignored him. He walked over to Shinozaki, and noticed something. She had blood all over her uniform. She was paler than ever... And she didn't say anything. He bent down closer, and noticed she wasn't breathing. "...N-no..." Mayu finally freed Morishige, and they both watched him. "...WHAT DID THEY DO TO YOU... Shinozaki..." Mayu walked over to him. "...Why... Why don't we let Shig handle it?" "..." He didn't say anything else as he ran out of the trailer. He felt tears streaming down his face. Mayu followed him, and it didn't take long for Morishige to retrieve the body and catch up with them.
reply 17 minutes
Kirsteeeeen
This thread has been moved. Click here to see the new thread.
reply 26 minutes
JaneDoe2
JaneDoe2 posted in Debating:
You're a Trump fan?
reply about 1 hour
CaptJolee
"ThatRandomChick719" wrote: (Aww thank you!! And probably laziness and stuff XD) (XD)
reply about 2 hours