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Planets & Solar-system

Our solar system consists of the sun, eight planets, moon’s, dwarf planets, an asteroid belt, comets, meteors and others. The sun is the centre of our solar system whereas the planets, their moon’s, the asteroids comets and other rocks and gas all orbits the sun. The eight planets that orbit the Sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Recent studies state Pluto is not a ‘planet’ but a dwarf planet.

Easy way to remember the order of the planets (and Pluto) are the mnemonics: “My Very Enchanting Mother Just Showed Us Nine Pizzas” (MVEMJSUNP).

The Sun

The Sun is the most prominent feature in our solar system. It is the largest object and contains approximately 98% of the total solar system mass. 109 Earths would be required to fit across the Sun’s disk, and it’s interior could hold over 1.3 million Earths.

1. Mercury:-

Mercury was named by the Romans after the fleet-footed messenger of the gods because it seemed to move more quickly than any other planet. It is the closest planet to the Sun, and second smallest planet in the solar system. Its diameter is 40% smaller than Earth and 40% larger than the Moon.

2. Venus:-

Venus, the second planet was known by ancient astronomers as the morning star and evening star. Early astronomers once thought Venus to be two separate bodies. Venus, which is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, is veiled by thick swirling cloud cover. Venus is scorched with a surface temperature of about 482° C (900° F). This high temperature is primarily due to a runway greenhouse effect caused by the heavy atmosphere of Carbon dioxide.

3. Earth:-

Our planet Earth appears to be big and sturdy with an endless ocean and air. Earth features blue waters, brown and green land masses and white clouds set against a black background from space. This travels at the speed of 108,000 Kilometres per hour. This is the 3rd planet from the Sun at a distance of about 150 million kilometres. It takes 365.256 days for the Earth to travel around the Sun and 23.9345 hours for the Earth rotate a complete revolution. It has a diameter of 12,756 kilometres, only a few hundred kilometres larger than that of Venus. Earth is the only planet in the solar system known to support life.

4. Mars:-

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is commonly referred to as the Red Planet. The rocks, soil and sky have a red or pink hue. It was given its name by the Romans in honor of their god of war. Other civilizations have had similar names. The ancient Egyptians named the planet Her Descher meaning the red one.

5. Jupiter:-

Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and is the largest planet in the solar system. If Jupiter were hollow, more than one thousand Earths could fit inside. It also contains two and half times the mass of all the other planets combined. It has a mass of 1.9 × 1027 kg and is 142,800 kilometres across the equator. Jupiter possesses 62 known satellites. The four largest are Callisto, Europa, Ganymede and Lo and were named after Galileo Galilei who observed them as long ago as 1610.

6. Saturn:-

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and is the second largest in the solar system with an equatorial diameter of 119,300 kilometres. It is visibly flattened at the poles, a result of the very fast rotation of the planet on its axis. It’s day is 10 hours, 39 minutes long, and it takes 29.5 Earth years to revolve about the Sun. Saturn’s ring system makes the planet one of the most beautiful objects in the solar system. The rings are split into a number of different parts, which includes the bright A and B rings and a fainter C ring.

7. Uranus:-

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and is the third largest in the solar system. The atmosphere of Uranus is composed of 83% hydrogen, 15% helium, 2% methane and small amounts of acetylene and other hydrocarbons. Methane in the upper atmosphere absorbs red light, giving Uranus its blue-green colour.

8. Neptune:-

Neptune is the outermost planet of the gas giants. It has an equatorial diameter of 49,500 kilometres. If Neptune were hollow, it could contain nearly 60 Earths. Neptune orbits the Sun every 165 years.
Some interesting topics of our solar system

Pluto:-

From its time of discovery in 1930 to 2006 it was considered to be the ninth planet in the solar system, but because additional objects have been discovered including Eris (largest dwarf planet) which is 27% more massive , the IAU reclassified Pluto and the other objects as dwarf planets.

Saturn Ring:-

The origin of the ring is obscure. It is thought that the rings may have been formed from larger moon’s that were shattered by impacts of comets and meteoroids. The ring composition is not known for certain, but the rings do show a significant amount of water. They may be composed of icebergs and/or snowballs from a few centimetres to a few meters in size.

Asteroids:-

Asteroids are rocky and metallic objects that orbit the Sun but are too small to be considered planets. They are known as minor planets. Asteroids range in size from Ceres, which has a diameter of about 1000 km, down to the size of pebbles. Asteroids are materials left over from the formation of the solar system. One theory suggests that they are the remains of a planet that was destroyed in a massive collision long ago.

Solar System:-

Our Solar system consists of an average star we call the Sun, the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. It includes: the satellites of the planets; numerous comets, asteroids and meteoroids; and the interplanetary medium.

The following table is a list of the mass distribution within our solar system:-

*Sun :. 99.85%
*Planets :. 0.135%
*Comets :. 0.01%
*Satellites :. 0.00005%
*Minor Planets :. 0.0000002%
*Meteoroids :. 0.0000001%
*Interplanetary Medium :. 0.0000001%

Facts about our Solar System

Uranus axis is at 97 degrees. Which means that it orbits on its side. (Most of the planets spin on an axis nearly perpendicular to the plane of ecliptic but Uranus axis is almost parallel to the ecliptic).

The three most recently discovered planets were Uranus in 1781, Neptune in 1846 and Pluto in 1930.

Mercury is the only planet whose orbit is coplanar with its equator.

Venus and Uranus are the only planets that rotate opposite to the direction of their orbit.

Jupiter has the shortest day of all the planets. Although it has a circumference of 280,000 miles compared with Earth’s 25,000 Jupiter manages to make one turn in 9 hours and 55 minutes.

According to scientists, Gold exists on Mars, Mercury and Venus.

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