As most of you probably know, our Solar system is composed of the sun and everything else that orbits our star; planets, dwarf planets, moons, and space rocks.
Astronomers believe that the ‘edge’ of our solar system is located around 15 billion kilometers from our Sun.
The planets of our solar system have been of extreme interest for ancient civilizations throughout thousands of years and followed them across the sky and recorded their positions and even based every-day life in accordance to them and the stars.
There are countless things that few people know about the solar system, in this article we will introduce you furthermore to the solar system with a few facts, so let’s start.
According to astronomical research, our solar system formed 4.6 billion of years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud.
Our Sun needs 240 million years to complete one single orbit around the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
According to astronomers, ever since our Sun was formed, it completed nineteen orbits around the galactic center.
Did you know that our star, the Sun, rotates counterclockwise?
The surface temperature of our Sun is about 5505 degrees Celsius.
Since its formation, our Sun has used up about half of the hydrogen in its core. This means it has still a lot of fuel to burn, so don’t worry.
The vast majority of the solar system’s mass is within the Sun over 99 percent, while the remaining mass is contained on Jupiter.
According to astronomical calculations, Jupiter’s magnetic field is approximately fourteen times stronger than that of Earth.
Remeber that massive Storm on Jupiter? Well, this gigantic storm is one of the biggest mysteries of astronomy. Experts have almost no information about it. Everything about is a mystery. What powers it, what caused it and why it’s…red?
Did you know that the great red spot on the surface of Jupiter is in fact an anti-cyclonic storm? It is believed to have started some 300-400 years ago.
The solid objects of the solar system; planets, moons, etc., comprise 0.0001% of the Solar System’s total mass.
Even though our Sun is gigantic, it is small if we compare it to VY Canis Majoris; a red hypergiant located in the constellation Canis Major. This star is so big that If it would be placed in our Solar System, the surface of VY Canis Majoris would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter. VY Canis Majoris is so big that astronomers estimate it to be 1,000,000,000 bigger than our Sun.
Did you know that Jupiter saved the Earth? Lexells Comet was traveling towards Earth following a trajectory that would make it impact our planet. However, thanks to the intense gravitational pull that Jupiter has, the comet was pulled towards the planet.
Our Sun is composed of roughly 98% hydrogen and helium.
We practically live WITHIN our Sun. This is because the Sun’s outer atmosphere extends far beyond it is visible surface; it is enormous. Earth orbits within this delicate atmosphere.
Practically a million of Earths’ could fit into the Sun.
As most of us have probably learned in school, the distance from the Sun to Earth is one Astronomical Unit or AU.
The Heliosphere which is the Sun’s outer atmosphere is considered to extend to around 100 Astronomical Units; One Astronomical Unit equals 149 597 871 kilometers.
Scientists suggest that the limit of the Heliosphere, referred to as Heliopause is located fifteen billion kilometers from our Sun.
Experts believe that the Sun’s atmosphere extends billions of kilometers downwind, as they believe Sun’s atmosphere has in fact a “teardrop” shape.
Compared to the rest of our solar system, the Sun’s mass is only one trillionth of a percent of the entire volume of our Solar system.
Astronomers believe that within our solar system alone are more than ten thousand objects that may be large enough to have been rounded by their own gravity.
If we were to look at the universe from an outside perspective, we would see that our solar system is located in the Orion arm, which in turn is located around 26,000 light years away from the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
As most of you already know, there are eight planets in our solar system, but hundreds of unidentified objects that lurk in the outermost region of our cosmic neighborhood.
The moon is considered the closest astronomical object to Earth. Why haven’t we visited it more often?
Out of the eight planets in our solar system, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are composed mostly out of rock and metal. Oh and there’s a planet missing between Mars and Jupiter.
Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and Saturn are mostly made out of hydrogen and helium. They are Gas Giants.
According to astronomers, Neptune has the fastest winds in the Solar System; The winds on the surface of Neptune can reach up to 2100 kilometers per hour, scientists have yet to determine the reason.
Uranus is the coldest planet in our solar system with temperatures that can drop to a freezing -224 degrees Celsius.
Jupiter is the fastest planet in our Solar System. It takes Jupiter little under ten hours to complete a full rotation around its axis.
Comets are usually referred to as “Dirty Snowballs” because of their composition, ice, and rock.
According to astronomical observations, there are 176 known natural satellites that orbit planets in our solar system out of which 168 moons orbit full-size planets. 8 moons orbit dwarf planets.
Jupiter is the planet that has the most amount of moons; a total of 63 confirmed satellites have been discovered, and some astronomers argue they may be even more moons hiding around the gas giant.
Jupiter, being the largest planet in our solar system is considered to have the largest ocean in the solar system; astronomers believe that it is about 40,000 km deep.
Astronomers have discovered several objects that orbit the sun that are located considerably further than Pluto. One such object is believed to be Planet X, a theoretical planet that should be there, but astronomers have still not found.
The Kuiper Belt is one of the two main reservoirs of cometary material and is believed to extend to over fifty astronomical units. Astronomers also considered it as one of the most distant regions in our solar system.
The Oort comet cloud is believed to extend to 50,000 Astronomical Units from the Sun.
Astronomers estimate that the Oort cloud contains TRILLIONS of icy bodies.
According to experts, at the outer edge of the Oort cloud, distant cosmic bodies are believed to have more gravitational influence from nearby stars than from the Sun.
Saturn could actually “float”, well at least partially, since the overall density of Saturn is 0.69 – seventy percent the density of water.
Saturn isn’t the only planet that has rings, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune also possess beautiful rings.
Jupiter’s dark rings are mostly made out of dust particles and are thus very hard to detect. Astronomers believe that within these rings are particles ejected by Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io.
Astronomers have found that the ring system of Uranus is similar to Jupiter’s, although the content of Uranus ring system is mostly composed of a material that resulted from collisions of relatively small “satellites”.
Saturn is cool. In fact, the planet has another gigantic ring, discovered in 2009; it can only be seen via infrared.
Did you now that the Solar System’s favorite planet Pluto was actually discovered by accident in 1930 after astronomers noted small and unexpected variation from the predicted orbit of Uranus and decided to look into this; thus Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto.
Pluto was considered the ninth planet of our solar system for seventy-six years, it was demoted to a dwarf planet and has been our favorite dwarf planet since 2006.
Pluto is extremely small. Mainstream scholars estimate that Pluto is just over 2,253 kilometers across, smaller than the United States of America.
Despite the fact that Mercury is the closest planet to orbit the Sun, it isn’t the hottest. Because of the fact that Mercury does not have an atmosphere, there is nothing that would keep the Sun’s heat on the planet.
According to astronomers, the hottest Planet in our solar system is Venus. The second closest planet to the Sun has a very thick atmosphere; astronomers estimate it to be a hundred times thicker than Earth’s atmosphere. Due to this, massive amounts of heat from the Sun is retained on the planet, and astronomers calculate that the average temperature on Venus is over 468 degrees Celsius. This makes the exploration of Venus really difficult.
Even though Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, researchers believe that near Mercury’s poles Ice can be found
Did you know that Venus is the only planet in our Solar System that spins in the opposite direction of every other planet? Venus is a true rebel. Now I say why they say women are from Venus. 😛
Here’s a fun fact: A single day on Venus is, in fact, longer than its year; It takes Venus much more time to rotate on its own axis than to orbit our Sun.
Saturn’s moon Titan has a remarkably similar atmosphere to Earth’s atmosphere. Titan’s atmosphere is twenty percent more extensive than Earth’s atmosphere.
Scientists suggest that given the similarities to Earth, may have biologic activity; making it an ideal place to search for life outside Earth.
Ganymede, Jupiter’s natural satellite is considered the largest natural satellite in our Solar system and has a diameter of 5,268 km which is 8 percent larger than that of the planet Mercury.
The diameter of Ganymede is 2% larger than that of Saturn’s Titan which is the second largest moon.
Did you know that Ganymede, the largest and most massive moon of Jupiter, has the highest mass of all planetary satellites? It has 2.02 times the mass of the Earth’s moon.
Ganymede is the only moon in the Solar System known to possess a magnetosphere which is an area of space near an astronomical object in which charged particles are controlled by that object’s magnetic field.
Saturn’s moon Mimas is one of the most heavily cratered objects in our Solar System, it also eerily resembles the “Death Star” (the fictional space station known from the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) due to the gigantic impact crater on its surface, a 130 kilometers across.
Mimas is the smallest astronomical body that is known to be rounded in shape because of self-gravitation.
Asteroid 243 Ida has a satellite orbiting it called Dactyl. 243 Ida is also one of the most cratered objects in the solar system.
The largest dwarf planet that orbits our Sun is called Eris, orbiting the Sun at three times the distance of Pluto.
Eris was discovered recently (2005), and is the ninth most massive body known to directly orbit the Sun.
Eris is estimated to be 27 percent more massive than Pluto but there are uncertainties about its size; to properly calculate it, more research is needed.
Dysnomia is so far the only known natural moon of Eris, its diameter is estimated to be between 350 and 490 km.
Saturn’s moon Hyperion is the largest non-spherical moon in our Solar System.
In its composition, Hyperion is half as dense as water meaning that it would actually float if placed in water (hypothetically).
Astronomers believe that Hyperion is a fragment of a much larger object that was broken up in the distant past thus obtaining its irregular shape.
Hyperions surface contains a large amount of deep, sharp craters that together with its irregular shape, give the moon the appearance of a giant sponge.
Ceres is so far the only known dwarf planet located in the inner part of the solar system and is closer to the Sun than Neptune.
It is considered the largest asteroid in the inner part of our solar system.
Researchers estimate that Ceres contains an internal ocean of liquid water under its surface.
This dwarf planet contains more fresh water under its surface than all of the freshwater on Earth combined.
Sedna, a large planetoid is the first dwarf planet discovered in the Oort cloud.
In visible light, Sedna is one of the reddest objects in the solar system.
Sedna is one of the most distant objects known in the Solar System.
Sedna has the longest known orbital period in the Solar System, its orbit takes around 11,400 years to complete.
2012 VP113 is a planetoid that has the largest known perihelion – (closest approach to the Sun). Researchers suggest that 2012 VP113 is about half the size of Sedna.
There are four objects in our solar system that have perihelia larger than 47 Astronomical Units; Sedna, 2010 GB174, 2004 XR190 and 2004 VN112.
Olympus Mons, located on Mars is actually the largest Volcanic mountain to have been discovered in our Solar System.
Mars has water; Scientists have discovered the traces of water on Mars but not in liquid form.
Comet Hyakutake is believed to have had the longest ever discovered tail, over 570 million km in length.
Did you know that Uranus is the only known planet in our Solar System that actually rotates on its side? 😉
Guess what, if you were to scream in space, no one would actually hear you scream. This is because there is no air in space, which means that nothing could carry your voice, so, even if you would actually scream or talk, no one would actually be able to hear you.
Researchers have a hard time explaining the Moons of Mars; Deimos and Phobos, some even theorize that these moons were trapped in Mars’ orbit.
Phobos will probably one day impact into Mars. Because of its extremely low orbit, tidal forces are slowly lowering the orbit of Phobos. Astronomers have estimated that in about 50 million years, this moon will crash into the red planet.
Curiously, Mercury and Venus are two planets in our solar system that do not have moons orbiting them.
Did you know that Earth’s moon has water; and it is called Lunar water more accurately. Astronomers suggest that water in the form of ice can be present in craters on the Moon.
We’ve explored our solar system significantly in recent years. But despite this fact, Mercury is the least explored of the planets in our solar system.
Did you know that there are more than 500,000 minor planets that have been discovered and cataloged by the Minor Planet Center?
Venus apart from being the hottest planet is also the most dangerous planet since in its atmosphere is filled with sulfuric acid.
Despite the fact that there is a great possibility that hundreds of dwarf planets exist in the Kuiper belt, the International Astronomical Union has only accepted four: Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake.
Astronomers believe that more than 50 tons of space rock and dust fall on Earth each day.
One day on Mercury equals to 58 days on Earth.
The gravity on our planet is six times stronger than on the surface of the Moon; this means that you would weigh less on the Moon than on Earth.
The magnetosphere is one of the central reasons why life can exist on our planet. The magnetosphere helps divert harmful radiation from the Sun away from Earth.
Experts do not understand Saturn’s rings completely, Some astronomers believe they could be extremely old and may have existed since the beginning of the solar system. However, there are others who believe they could be relatively new… compared to the age of the planet.
Astronomers believe that there is a very high chance that there is life on Saturn’s moon, Enceladus.
Mars, the planet that is very similar to Earth has the largest dust storms in the Solar system, they can ever last for months and cover the entire planet.
I have no more facts to write about… just kidding, here is one more:
There are relatively few stars within ten light years of the Sun, as the closest is the triple star system Alpha Centauri located around 4.4 light years away.
Let me know if I missed something that is worth including into the article, and share your thoughts.
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