What is the Solar System? Types of Planets

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What is the Solar System? Types of Planets

The solar system is basically the sun and its surroundings. The planets, moons, meteorites, asteroids, comets, and all other substances are the tiny pieces of the sun that revolve around it. So, the sun and the things that revolve around it comprise a solar system.

What is the Solar System?

The solar system is a complex that involves huge bodies which revolve in their orbits around the Sun, which holds them by means of its gravitational force. These bodies are referred to as the planets. 

We are currently situated in this complex only, but we are too tiny to be considered at all. Simply put, the solar system consists of the Sun that holds the planets around it through its gravitational pull and these planets revolve around it in fixed orbits.

The Earth we are living in is also one of these planets. There are other objects in the Solar system held by the Sun that are:

  • Meteorites
  • Asteroids
  • Comets

 The Sun

The Sun covers about 99.85% of the total mass of the entire solar system. It is the biggest and the brightest star composed of hydrogen and helium gases where the former is 75% and the latter is only 25%.

This means that the planets and the other objects occupy only 0.15% of the total space so we can imagine how huge the Sun is.

Types of Planets:

The Planets

There are eight planets revolving around the Sun half of which are the real planets and the remaining half are Jovian. Let’s discuss them separately.

The real planets:

There are four planets which are considered as real in a sense that have solid surface and are like our Earth in terms of mass and atmosphere. They are referred to as terrestrial planets, namely:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars

The Jovian planets:

The remaining four planets are called jovian planets or “the giants”. They are all composed of only gases. They’re listed as follows:

  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune

Pluto was once regarded as one of the planets of the solar system but then in August, 2006, it was given the status of a dwarf planet and removed from the list of full-fledged planets by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

The Moons

All the planets have different number of moons. Our Earth has a single moon, whereas there are two moons on Mars. The remaining two terrestrial planets i.e. Mercury and Venus have no moons at all.

Talking about the giants, they have way too many moons as compared to the real planets. Starting from the lowest, Neptune has 13 moons, Uranus has 27, Saturn has 62 and Jupiter has about 67 moons.

Well since they’re all made of gases there can obviously be more chances of abnormalities stemming from their composition.

Asteroids

The solar system has number of mini planets made of either rock or metal. They are located in a belt looped between Jupiter and Mars. This belt is known as the asteroid belt whereas the mini planets are called Asteroids.

Comets

Comets are little icy bodies that also float in the solar system.

Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite

They all are related to each other. Where only a meteoroid exists in the solar system, the remaining two objects are the offshoots of a meteoroid when it enters the atmosphere of the Earth.

On entering the atmosphere, the meteoroid heats up due to friction and forms a luminous tail, thus it becomes a meteor. When the meteor hits the surface of the earth it is then called a meteorite.

Read More: What is Solar Energy? How does Solar Energy work?

 Interesting Facts About Solar System:

  • The Solar System that we are a part of is 4.5 billion years old.
  • To reach earth, the sunlight needs around 8 minutes.
  • 2 light-years are needed to cross the solar system.
  • Most of the Asteroids of our solar system are found between Mars and Jupiter.
  • The length of 1 year is different on each planet because of their distance from the sun.
  • The nearest star to Earth is the Proxima Centauri.
  • The nearest solar system to our solar system is the Alpha Centauri.
  • In Milky Way Galaxy, only 15% of the stars contain planets and the number those solar systems is 100 billion.
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