Our solar system consists of eight planets which all orbit around our home star, the Sun.Our planetary system was formed 4.6 billion years ago!
For most of history it was thought that everything in space moved around the Sun, however around the 17th century the idea, that the earth is just one of the planets in the system, started gaining popularity.
In fact, the Sun is only one of more than 200 billion stars moving about in the Milky Way!
Our solar system consists of eight planets which all orbit around our home star: the Sun.
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. It is only about as wide as the Atlantic Ocean! 18 Mercuries would fit into the Earth. The planet does not have an atmosphere, just like it is on all the other planets. There is no water present on this dangerous planet either!
Venus – named after the Roman goddess of beauty – is also known as the evening or morning star. Yellow clouds made of sulfur and sulfuric acid cover the entire planet causing light to reflect off the surface.
Earth is the fifth largest planet of our solar system and has one large natural satellite, the Moon. Did you know that all planets were named after Roman and Greek gods and goddesses, except the Earth. The name ‘Earth’ nevertheless is more than 1,000 years old and means just ‘ground’.
Mars, the most likely candidate for a future human habitat, is affected by huge dust storms that occur every now and then and cover the entire planet! Mars is very cold and dry but water exists in form of ice at the North and South poles. The surface of Mars has many craters, deep valleys and volcanoes.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. The most famous feature on the surface of the planet is the ‘Great Red Spot’ which is actually a storm that has been blowing for about 350 years, if not longer.
Saturn is a gas giant just like Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus. This means that it doesn’t really have a proper solid surface as it is mainly made up of gases with a small rocky core.
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Uranus is the second furthest planet from the Sun and therefore also has to travel a pretty long time to go once around out home star. It takes Uranus roughly 84 years to orbit once around the Sun.
Neptune is closely related to Uranus, the atmosphere is composed of almost the same gases and just like Uranus, Neptune also appears blue. Neptune inherits its name from the Roman god of the sea as reference to its deep blue color.
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