MAR 24, 2020 3:59 PM PDT

How Much Do You Know About the Solar System?

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Our solar system is only one out of hundreds of stellar systems residing in the Milky Way galaxy. It’s comprised of the Sun and eight known planets, half of which are Terrestrial (sporting solid, Earth-like properties), while the other half are Jovian (sporting massive, Jupiter-like properties).

Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars make up the solar system’s four Terrestrial planets, and among those, Earth is the only one known to support life. Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, is the smallest and hottest planet in the solar system. Venus, Earth, and Mars are each similar in size, give or take, with Venus being the hottest of the three and Mars being the coldest. It’s believed that Mars may have supported life up to 3.7 billion years ago.

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune make up the solar system’s four Jovian planets – among those, Jupiter and Saturn are considered gas giants and comprised predominantly of hydrogen and helium, while Uranus and Neptune are considered ice giants and comprised of rock, ice, water, methane, and ammonia, among other things. Captivatingly, only members of the Jovian planetary family are known to sport planetary rings.

Separating the Terrestrial and Jovian planets is the infamous asteroid belt, which contains space dust and rocks ranging from microscopic to the size of Texas, and it’s thought that these space rocks are too heavily disturbed by Jupiter’s gravitational influence to coalesce and form planets. Similarly, another belt orbits the Jovian planets, and it’s called the Kuiper Belt. Few spacecraft have ventured this far out in our solar system, with NASA’s New Horizons mission being one of the most recent.

Well beyond the Kuiper Belt is the Oort Cloud, a large collection of icy debris at the edge of our solar system. It’s here that the Sun’s light and gravitational influence end, and for that reason, it’s believed that the boundaries of the Oort Cloud should also be also be considered the boundaries of our solar system. It’s possible that more planets exist between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud, but astronomers have yet to pinpoint such a world.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 13, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Observe the Birth of a Magnetar
NOV 13, 2020
Researchers Observe the Birth of a Magnetar
Scientists think they have witnessed the birth of a magnetar for the first time, when a massive burst of gamma rays took ...
NOV 27, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Our Chemistry Connection to Stars and the Cosmo
NOV 27, 2020
Our Chemistry Connection to Stars and the Cosmo
A common entity that connects everything from majestically looking galaxies and nebula to the enormously diversified bio ...
DEC 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
DEC 12, 2020
Superhighways in Space Enable Super Fast Travel Between Planets
Astronomers from Serbia have found that invisible structures created by gravitational interaction in our Solar System ge ...
JAN 05, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Could Earth's Microbes Help Us Find Extraterrestrial Life?
JAN 05, 2021
Could Earth's Microbes Help Us Find Extraterrestrial Life?
As scientists are learning more about microbes existing in the higher echelons of the Earth's atmosphere, they are b ...
MAR 16, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Revealing the Origins of Jupiter's Spectacular Auroras
MAR 16, 2021
Revealing the Origins of Jupiter's Spectacular Auroras
Many years ago, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to catch a glimpse of amazing auroras that occur on Jupiter. Now res ...
MAR 31, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Were These the First Structures in the Universe?
MAR 31, 2021
Were These the First Structures in the Universe?
It's been theorized that our Universe started as a hot, incredibly dense point that exploded in the Big Bang. It's thoug ...
Loading Comments...