Our Solar System

Our solar system comprises of sun and eight planets along with their satellites, Asteroids, Comets, Meteors, Dwarf Planets etc.(Pluto, earlier considered to be the 9th planet is no-more considered a planet). The Sun is just one of the billion stars in the Universe & only star in our Solar System.

Why Sun is called a Star in our solar system?

Sun is a celestial object producing light and energy a characteristic feature of Star. The production of light and energy is the resultant of Fusion Process undertaking at the center of Sun.

What are the characteristics of the planets in our Solar System?

Name of Planet

Orbits Sun in

No.of Satellites

Imp Features

Rotation

Mercury

88 days

0

Without atmosphere, 2nd hottest. West to east (Anti-clockwise)

Venus

225 days

0

Hottest, also k/a Morning & evening star. East to West (Clock-wise)

Earth

365 ¼ days

1

Has atmosphere, water and life. West to east (Anti-clockwise)

Mars

687 days

2 (Phobos, Deimos)

Red Planet due to presence of iron oxides on its surface. West to east (Anti-clockwise)

Jupiter

12 yrs

50+ 16 Provisional satellites

Largest, Heaviest, greatest in gravity. West to east (Anti-clockwise)

Saturn

29 yrs

53+ 9 Provisional satellites

Lightest (density), presence of gaseous ring. West to east (Anti-clockwise)

Uranus

84 yrs

27

Blue-Green planet due to photo chemical effect of light on methane, encircled with band of rings. West to east (Anti-clockwise)

Neptune

165 yrs

13

Farthest and coldest. West to east (Anti-clockwise)

What are Terrestrial and Jovian Planets?

Terrestrial planets are earth like planets as they are made up of rocks and metals and have relatively high density. First four planets of our solar system viz Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are Terrestrial Planets. They are also called Inner Planets. Jovian means Jupiter like, are large and gaseous planets mainly composed of helium and hydrogen. Last four planets of our solar system viz Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune are Jovian Planets. They are also called Outer Planets.

Why Venus is hotter than Mercury?

Venus has atmosphere (as compared to mercury, which has no atmosphere) Venus has high concentration of CO2 (Carbon-di-oxide) gas , a green house gas  that produces green house effect which traps the incoming high frequency and high energy solar radiations thereby increasing the temperature of planet.( global warming effect).

What are Asteroids?

Asteroids, sometimes called minor planets, are small, rocky fragments left over from the formation of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. Most of this ancient space rubble can be found orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter Nearly all asteroids are irregularly shaped, though a few are nearly spherical, and are often pitted or cratered. As they revolve around the sun in elliptical orbits, the asteroids also rotate, sometimes quite erratically, tumbling as they go.

What are Meteors?

Shooting stars or meteors are bits of extraterrestrial rock falling through Earth’s atmosphere; they are heated by the friction of the air. The bright trails as they are coming through the Earth’s atmosphere are termed meteors. Difference between  Meteors, meteoroids and meteorites.

 What are Comets?

Comets are the Trans- Neptunian objects formed in Kuiper belt. They are formed of rock fragments, dust particles & frozen gases. As it approaches the sun only bright head is visible, but as it gets nearer the comet develops a tail (sometimes millions of miles long) due to vaporization of frozen gases. The orbits of the visible comets are long ellipses.

What is Kuiper Belt?

The Kuiper Belt is a disc-shaped region of icy objects beyond the orbit of Neptune – billions of kilometers from our sun. Pluto and Eris are the best known of these icy worlds. The Kuiper Belt is believed to be the home of comets that orbit our sun.

What are Dwarf Planets?

Pluto was long considered our solar system’s ninth planet. But after the discovery of similar objects deeper in the distant Kuiper Belt, icy Pluto was reclassified as a dwarf planet. Dwarf planets lack the gravitational muscle to sweep up or scatter objects near their orbits. The main distinction between a dwarf planet and a planet is that planets have cleared the path around the sun while dwarf planets tend to orbit in zones of similar objects that can cross their path around the sun, such as the asteroid and Kuiper belts. Pluto is also a member of a group of objects that orbit in a disc-like zone beyond the orbit of Neptune called the Kuiper Belt. This distant realm is populated with thousands of miniature icy worlds, which were formed early in the history of our solar system. Other example of Dwarf Planets are Haumea, Makemake, Eris, Ceres- Located in Kuiper Belt.

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