Our Solar System

Our Solar System is composed of the Sun and all of the objects that revolve around it including:

  • Planets
  • Moons
  • Asteroids
  • Comets
  • Meteoroids
  • Dwarf Planets

 

All of the objects in our solar system formed from a swirling cloud of gas and dust revolving around the Sun.  These tiny particles of gas and dust collided and stuck together become more massive with a stronger gravitational pull.  Eventually through this process of growth through gravity called ACCRETION we got objects as large as planets.

THE SOLAR SYSTEM IS ABOUT 4.5 BILLION YEARS OLD!

The planets

The largest objects in the solar system are the 8 PLANETS.  They are listed in the ESRT on page 15 in order from the Sun outward:

  • Mercury
  • Venus
  • Earth
  • Mars
  • Jupiter
  • Saturn
  • Uranus
  • Neptune

Any specific information you could need about the planets is listed here in the Solar System Data Table.

Terrestrial Planets

The first four planets are classified at Terrestrial Planets because of the characteristics they share.  The terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars) are all characterized by:

  • Close to the Sun
  • Small Diameter
  • Dense
  • Solid Rocky Surface w/ craters
  • Few to no Moons
  • No Rings
 

Jovian Planets

The outer four planets are classified as Jovian Planets because of the characteristics they share.  The Jovian Planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) are all characterized by:

  • Far from the Sun
  • HUGE Diameters
  • Low density
  • Mostly gas with tiny solid core
  • Lots of Moons
  • Have Rings

 

What about pluto?

Pluto is no longer considered a planet for several reasons:

  1. It is not large enough to dominate its own area of space.  When it comes close to Neptune, its orbital path is pulled in towards Neptune.
  2. We have discovered other large objects beyond Neptune that we are not willing to classify as planets either.

Instead we consider bodies like Pluto and Eros to be dwarf planets.