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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

LUCYQWERTY123
LUCYQWERTY123 posted in Random:
"Nisya-" wrote:It would be a... super-fast-wings so I could fly anywhere and anytime :D SAME!!!! :punk 8) :D [s:p/zxl]
reply 20 minutes
irisboulevard
irisboulevard posted in Random:
Teleportation. 
reply about 2 hours
Fairkss
Explanation: Hoshi was best friends with the moon girl, Sina who secretly loved him but they drifted apart when Hoshi met Dimitre, a Russian boy. He hung out with Dimitre more and they both fell in love with each other. However, Sina was jealous and so she got Cira, the sun girl, who was in love with Dimitre to distract him and hang out with him. Dimitre was too kind to reject her so he just hung out with her. In the shadows, Sina was bullying and threatening Hoshi not to meet with Dimitre because if he did she would hurt Dimitre. One day Hoshi couldn't handle it and so he ran to find Dimitre after school. He saw Dimitre and went towards him only to get hit by a car. Dimitre saw Hoshi lying on the floor and rushed towards him and hugged him while Hoshi slowly died in his arms. Dimitre never got over his death after that point.
reply about 6 hours
Fairkss
There once was a boy named Hoshi. Just like his name his smile was as bright as the stars in the sky. One day he met another boy who's eyes were a mixture of the aqua ocean and green land, Earth. His name was Dimitre and he came from a far away land. They fell hard for each other. Their love stronger than anything in the galaxy. The star left the moon's side to join hands with the earth in their journey of love. But a girl carrying a name that meant the moon felt jealous. Jealous of the stars love for the Earth. She wanted to make it so that Hoshi could never meet Dimitre again, and with the help of another girl with her sun-kissed hair, the star could never see the Earth. The sun would blind the Earth so much that he couldn't see Hoshi who would shine brightly with teary eyes, and then when the sun would go to sleep so did the Earth, and only the stars would feel pain. Months went by and Hoshi's heart only broke harder and harder until a plan popped in his brain. The star, lost and all alone, cut off the wings that allowed him to shine and he fell out of the sky with hot fiery pain. Dimitre saw Hoshi in his hurt and painful state and embraced him. They could finally be together. Only for a brief moment, until Hoshi could feel himself slip into a deep sleep wrapped in Dimitre's arms. The star had gone out, and had left a gaping hole in the Earth's heart that could never be filled.
reply about 6 hours
nqme
nqme posted in Debating:
I appreciate it, but that doesn't help my conscience.  To me, you're practically saying "if one of us dies, that's okay because there are still plenty of other humans all around the world".  I don't put other animals above us, of course, but they still exist.  Anyway, good day.  Enjoy this egg's before  [s:p/1n9v] and after  [s:p/1n7e] because I'm not sure how to say "good day" without sounding sarcastic.
reply about 7 hours