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Our Solar System
Many objects make up the Solar System.
The Sun Source: NASA
Center of our Solar System. 895,000 miles in diameter.
1,300,000 Earths would fill Sun.
Inner Rocky Planets
Mercury Source: MESSENGER Mission Website
Mercury Facts Closest planet To Sun. Smallest planet. 88 “day” year/59 “day” day.
Mercury Facts Very, very thin atmosphere. No rings or moon.
Venus Source: NASA
Venus Facts Second planet from Sun. 6 th largest planet. 225 “day” year/243 “day” day.
Venus Facts Entire surface covered with clouds (very thick atmosphere). Hottest planet (900 F.). No rings or moons.
Earth Source: NASA/Goddard Spaceflight Center
Earth Facts Third planet from Sun. 5 th largest planet. 365 “day” year/24 hour day.
Earth Facts Thick atmosphere. Only place we know there is life. No rings/one moon.
Mars Source: Hubblesite.org
Mars Facts Fourth planet from Sun. 7 th largest planet. 687 “day” year/24 hour day.
Mars Facts Very thin atmosphere. No rings/two moons.
Outer Gas Giants
Jupiter Source: Hubblesite.org
Jupiter Facts Fifth planet from Sun. Largest planet. 12 “year” year/10 hour day.
Jupiter Facts Very thick atmosphere. Faint rings/sixty-three moons.
Saturn Source: Hubblesite.org
Saturn Facts Sixth planet from Sun. 2 nd largest planet. 29 “year” year/10 hour day.
Saturn Facts Very thick atmosphere. Bright, easily seen rings/ sixty-three moons.
Uranus Source: Hubblesite.org
Uranus Facts Seventh planet from Sun. 3 rd largest planet. 84 “year” year/17 hour day.
Uranus Facts Very thick atmosphere. Very, very faint rings/twenty- seven moons.
Neptune Source: Hubblesite.org
Neptune Facts Eight planet from Sun. 4 th largest planet. 165 “year” year/15 hour day.
Neptune Facts Very thick atmosphere. Very, very faint rings/thirteen moons.
Dwarf Planets There are currently five dwarf planets. These are: Pluto Eris MakeMake Haumea Ceres
Dwarf Planets Diameters range from Pluto (1,400 miles) to Ceres (590 miles). None have rings. Pluto (3), Haumea (2), and Eris (1) have moons.
Other Members of the Solar System
Asteroids Source: Internet Encyclopedia of Science Found between Mars and Jupiter.
Asteroid Facts Over 100,000 asteroids. Vesta is the largest – 330 miles in diameter.
Asteroid Facts Size range – 330 miles to about 100 yards. Irregular-shaped rocky bodies. Some asteroids have moon(s).
Click here to see Dawn’s Virtual Flight Over the Asteroid Vesta.
Comets Source: European Space Agency
Comets Spaced Out - Comets
Origin of Comets
Long-period comets (over 200 years) found in the Oort Cloud. The Oort Cloud.
Oort Cloud is about one light year from the Sun.
The Oort Cloud.
Short-period comets (less than 200 years) found in the Kuiper Belt.
The Kuiper Belt is found beyond the orbit of Neptune.
are made up of three parts.
Comet Facts Nucleus – icy body – ice, frozen ammonia, dirt (“dirty snowball”). Coma- vaporizing gas.
Comet Facts Nucleus. Coma. Tail – gas and dust pushed away from comet by “solar wind.”
Comets Bright Tails, Black Hearts: Exploration of Comets
Meteoroid, Meteor, Meteorite
Meteoroid, Meteor, Meteorite Spaced Out: Meteors
Asteroid and Meteorite
These are made of rocks and dirt. A meteoroid is rocks or dirt in outer space.
A meteor is when the rock enters the atmosphere.
A meteorite is when the rock hits the Earth.
What holds the Solar System together?
Gravity is the force that holds the Solar System together. No gravity, no Solar System.
Planets would fly off in a straight line. Gravity keeps the planets in orbit.
The Sun is so large, its gravity holds everything together.
The Orbit of the Planets
Fact #1 – The closer to the Sun, the shorter the planet’s year. Fact #2 – The farther from the Sun, the longer the planet’s year.
Why? Closer to the Sun, planet must move faster because Sun’s gravity stronger. Farther from the Sun, planet can move slower because Sun’s gravity weaker.
Why? Closer to the Sun, planet travels along a smaller orbit. Farther from the Sun, planet travels along a larger orbit.
Examples Mercury is 36,000,000 miles from the Sun. It travels about 226,000,000 miles revolving around the Sun in one Mercury year.
Examples Neptune is 2,800,000,000 miles from the Sun. It travels about 217,500,000,000 miles revolving around the Sun in one Neptune year.
Weight on Other Worlds
The larger the body, the more mass and gravity it has.
The Sun has so much mass, if you weighed 100 pounds on Earth, you would weigh 2,700 pounds on the Sun.
Unit 2 Lesson 6 Small Bodies in the Solar System
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