The Solar System

A Beautiful Outside World

Solar Facts

A planet's path around the Sun is called an orbit. The Sun is about 93 million miles away from Earth and over 1 million Earths can fit inside of the Sun. The Sun is the closet star to our Earth. The Sun's temperature is over 10 thousand degrees fahrenheit. The Sun is known as a third-generation star and is a yellow dwarf. After a star dies, the residue of it's core is left behind and most of the stars in space are not alone.

Mercury is very hot. It is way hotter than you can imagine. Mercury is the closest planet to the and due to its proximity it is not easily seen except during twilight. For every two orbits of the Sun, Mercury completes three rotations about its axis and up until 1965 it was thought that the same side of Mercury constantly faced the Sun. Thirteen times a century Mercury can be observed from the Earth passing across the face of the Sun in an event called a transit, the next will occur on the 9th May 2016

Venus is named after the Roman Goddess of love, beauty, and springtime because it shone the brightest of the five planets known to ancient astronomers. It's also the only planet named after a female. In ancient times, Venus was thought to be two different stars - the evening star and the morning star.

Earth has a big moon. Earth also has a crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. As Earth orbits the Sun, it is traveling at 67 thousand miles per hour and is always spinning.

Every star in Earth's night sky is a member of our galaxy which we call the Milky Way. In the middle of the Milky Way there is a black hole plus gases and dusts form young stars.

Mars is about one million miles away from the sun and has a volcano that is 17 miles high. Mars is about half he size of Earth. The Romans named it Mars after the God of War. Some scientists believe Mars has 3 stages of life. In the first, cold, wet age, enough liquid water and energy was present to make Mars potentially habitable. In the second "Snowball Mars" age, conditions became extremely challenging, and the liquid water that could have made life possible became scarce. In the current hyper-arid age, conditions on the surface have become largely uninhabitable, save perhaps some isolated niches.

Jupiter is the biggest planet that we know. Jupiter has 64 moons. The moons were first discovered by Galileo around 1610. A robotic spacecraft, named Galileo (after the ancient astronomer) started it's 6-year journey to Jupiter in October 1989. The Great Red Spot is a persistent anticyclone storm, 22° south of Jupiter's equator, which has lasted for at least 181 years and possibly longer than 346 years. The storm is large enough to be visible through Earth-based telescopes.

Neptune can only be seen with a large telescope and was first seen in 1846 from an observatory in Berlin. However, it was first discovered a year earlier in 1845.

Past Neptune is the Kuiper Belt. The Kuiper Belt is an area in the atmosphere where ice gets stuck and orbits the sun.

Comets have been called a "Dirty Snowball" of the solar system. Halley's Comet's journey around the Sun is less than 200 years.

A rocket is needed to bring objects into space. The Ariane rocket is the bunch vehicle of the European Space Agency.

Atlantis, the space shuttle, docked with Mir, the space station, for about 100 hours as they orbited Earth in June 1995. It takes about 3 days for a spaceship to reach and land on the moon. Sometimes the moon has a banana shape.