This is What Our Solar System Looks Like
Our solar system consists mostly of a white star that we call the Sun and 8 planets which are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. It includes the satellites of the planets, numerous comets, asteroids, and meteoroids and the interplanetary medium.
The whole solar system, together with the local stars visible on a clear night, orbits at about 515,000 mph (828,000 kph) the center of our home galaxy which is a spiral disk of almost 200 billion stars that we call the Milky Way. It takes our solar system approximately about 230 million years to complete just one orbit around the galactic center of the Milky Way. Our galaxy, one of billions of galaxies known, is traveling through intergalactic space.
The Sun is the most prominent element in our solar system (hence the name). It is the largest object and contains around 98% of the total solar system mass. The Sun’s outer visible layer is called the photosphere and has a temperature of approximately 6,000°C (11,000°F). It is the main source of electromagnetic energy (mostly in the form of heat and light) in our solar system.
The Notorious Energy known as solar energy is created deep within the core of the Sun. It is here that the temperature reaches around 15,000,000° C (27,000,000° F) and pressure is so high that it is almost 340 billion times Earth’s pressure at sea level, in fact the pressure is so intense that nuclear reactions take place.
The Sun seems to have been active for about 4.6 billion years and has enough fuel to go on for approximately another five billion years. At a late stage of its life, the Sun will start to fuse helium into heavier elements and therefor begin to swell up, ultimately growing so large that it will swallow the Earth. This process will turn the sun from a white star into a Red Giant. After a billion it will suddenly collapse into a white dwarf. This stage is the final end product of our Star and it may take a trillion years to cool off completely.
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun, and the second smallest planet in the solar system.
Mercury’s rolling, dust-covered hills have been eroded from the constant bombardment of meteorites. Craters dot the surface. The Sun appears two and a half times larger than on Earth; however, the sky is always black because Mercury has virtually no atmosphere to cause scattering of light.
Venus is the second planet from the Sun. Astronomers refer to it as Earth’s sister planet.
Both Planets are similar in many aspects such as size, mass, density and volume. Both planets have formed about the same time and condensed out of the same nebula (a Nebula is an interstellar cloud that is made out of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases.). However, it has no oceans and is surrounded by a heavy atmosphere composed mainly of carbon dioxide with virtually no water vapor. Its clouds are composed of sulfuric acid droplets. At the surface of the hellish planet, the atmospheric pressure is 92 times that of the Earth’s at sea-level.
Venus is scorching hot with a surface temperature of about 482° C (900° F). This extremely high temperature is primarily due to a runaway greenhouse effect (also known as the green effect) caused by the heavy atmosphere of carbon dioxide this greenhouse effect causes the passing Sunlight through the atmosphere to heat the surface of the planet. The Heat is radiated out, but is trapped by the dense atmosphere and not allowed to escape into space. This makes Venus hotter than Mercury despite the fact Mercury being the closest planet to the sun.
Earth is the 3rd planet from the Sun with a distance of about 150 million kilometers (93.2 million miles). It takes approximately 365 days for the Earth to travel around the Sun and around 24 hours for the Earth to rotate a complete revolution. It has a diameter of around 12,756 kilometers (7,973 miles) making it only a few hundred kilometers larger than that of the earth’s sister the planet of Venus. Earth is the only planet in our solar system that is known for harboring life.
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is commonly referred to as the Red Planet due to fact that it has a red appearance.
According to biologists, Mars is self-sterilizing. They believe that the combination of solar ultraviolet radiation, the extreme dryness of the soil and the oxidizing nature of the soil chemistry all of these factors prevent the formation of living organisms in the soil of the red planet of Mars.
Jupiter one of the gas giants is the fifth planet from the Sun and is the largest planet in the solar system. It has a Gigantic mass of 1.9 x 1027 kg (hence the name gas giant) and has a diameter of 142,800 kilometers (88,736 miles) across the equator. Jupiter possesses 62 known satellites. The four largest are called Callisto, Europa, Ganymede and Io.
Surprisingly enough Jupiter has a very faint ring system however is totally invisible from the Earth. The atmosphere is so deep that it perhaps comprises the entire planet. Despite being a planet Jupiter is somewhat like the Sun. It is composed mainly of hydrogen and helium, with small amounts of other elements such methane, ammonia, water vapor and other compounds.
At great depths within Jupiter, the pressure is so great that the hydrogen atoms are broken up and the electrons are freed making the resulting atoms consist of protons only causing hydrogen to become metallic.
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and is the second largest in our solar system with an equatorial diameter of a whopping 119,300 kilometers (74,130 miles). Its day is 10 hours, 39 minutes long due to its fast rotation, and it takes around 29.5 years to revolve about the Sun. The atmosphere is primarily composed of hydrogen with small amounts of other elements such as helium and methane. Saturn is the only planet in our solar system that is less dense than water. Saturn’s hazy yellow is marked by broad atmospheric banding that is very similar to but fainter than that found on Jupiter.
The wind blows at high speeds on Saturn. The strongest winds are found near the equator where it reaches velocities of 500 meters a second (1,100 miles an hour).
Saturn’s ring system makes the planet arguably one of the most beautiful objects in our solar system. The rings are split into a number of different parts and their origin and composition are not known for certain, but the rings do show a significant amount of water.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun and is the third largest in the solar system. Uranus has an equatorial diameter of approximately 51,800 kilometers (32,190 miles) being the seventh planet from the sun it orbits the Sun once every 84 years. It has a vast distance from the Sun of 2.87 billion kilometers (1.78 billion miles). Uranus has at least 22 moons. The two largest moons are called Titania and Oberon.
The atmosphere of Uranus is composed of about 83% hydrogen, 15% helium, 2% methane and small amounts of other elements such acetylene. Methane which is in the upper atmosphere absorbs red light, giving Uranus its blue greenish color. The atmosphere is arranged into clouds that are running at a constant latitude that is similar to the gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn).
Neptune is the outermost planet of the gas giants and the furthest from the sun. It has an equatorial diameter of approximately 49,500 kilometers (30,760 miles). Neptune is nearly 60 times bigger than the Earth. Due to its massive distance from the sun Neptune orbits the Sun every 165 years. Neptune has eight moons.
The first two layers of Neptune are composed of mainly a mixture of molten rock, water, liquid ammonia and methane. The outer layer is a mixture of heated gases comprised of hydrogen, helium, water and methane. Methane is the element that is responsible for giving Neptune its blue cloud color.
Neptune is a dynamic planet with several large, dark spots that remind us of Jupiter’s hurricane like storms. The largest spot is known as the Great Dark Spot (hence the name) and it is about the size of the earth.
Neptune has a set of four rings which are narrow and very faint making it hard for people to spot them. The rings are made up of dust particles commonly thought to have been made by tiny meteorites smashing into Neptune’s moons.