Solar System

What is the solar system

The set of stars and celestial matter that gravitates in an orderly fashion around the sun is called the solar system. There are several solar systems in the universe, but we usually refer to our solar system, located in the galaxy known as the Milky Way.

It is called the solar system because the central axis of rotation is determined by the sun. The sun attracts the group of planets, dust, matter, radiation and magnetic fields of the galaxy.

Among the components of our solar system are the following elements:

  • the central star sun;
  • the planets;
  • dwarf planets;
  • the satellites;
  • minor bodies present in the interplanetary medium as well as objects in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and the Kuiper belt (comets, meteoroids and asteroids);
  • the interplanetary medium (solar wind, dust, gas, radiation and magnetic fields).

planets of the solar system

Solar systemIllustration of the solar system with the planets surrounded by their main satellites and the dwarf planets. Above and in white, representation of the scale between the planets.

In our solar system there are eight planets, which trace elliptical orbits.

Following the order of proximity to the sun, the planets of the solar system are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus.

Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, closest to Earth, are considered terrestrial or rocky planetsbecause their surfaces are compact rocks.

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Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are considered jovian or gaseous planetsnamed for their large size and gaseous nature, although some have a solid center.

Most of the planets have satellites. Among those discovered so far, the following can be mentioned:

  • Earth has a satellite called Luna;
  • Mars has two satellites called Deimos and Phobos;
  • Jupiter has 79 satellites (for example, the moons Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto);
  • Saturn has 82 satellites (for example, Titan);
  • Uranus has 27 satellites (for example, Titania);
  • Neptune has 14 satellites (for example, Triton, Proteus, and Nereid).

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Tiny planets

In addition to the eight planets, the solar system also has dwarf planets. The dwarf planets are so called because they are smaller than the other planets and, due to their size, their gravity does not completely clear their orbit while they coexist with other bodies.

So far, five dwarf planets have been identified in our solar system: Ceres —located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter—, and Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris —located in the Kuiper belt.

dwarf planets also have satellitesexcept for Ceres. The following may refer:

  • Pluto has five satellites (Charon, Hydra, Nix, Cerberus, Styx);
  • Haumea has two saltites called Hi’iaka and Namaka;
  • Eris has a satellite called Dysnomia;
  • Makemake has a satellite called MK2.

Solar System Characteristics

  • The solar system is only a small part of the universe.
  • The solar system has a heliosphere and one heliopause.
  • The heliosphere refers to the area of ​​the Milky Way that is subject to the sun’s magnetic field.
  • The heliopause is the limit of the heliosphere, in which the solar wind comes into contact with the interstellar medium, demarcating the border of the sun’s magnetic field.
  • Planets and asteroids revolve in elliptical orbits around the sun.
  • The sun is a star formed from burning plasma, with a diameter of 696,000 kilometers.
  • Due to its dimensions, the sun gathers more than 99% of the matter of the solar system.
  • Most of the celestial bodies rotate in the so-called “ecliptic plane”.
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See also:

  • Sun
  • Land
  • Galaxy
  • Universe
  • Moon