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Solar System Facts

Solar System Facts

The solar system is nothing more than a collection of planets, asteroids, comets, and dust that exists in space. All these elements are gravitationally bound to the sun and exist in their own ways, out of reach from planet earth. The solar system is huge and filled with billions of stars and other forms of matter that scientists spend their entire lives studying. 

Understanding the solar system can be challenging, especially since there are so many elements to choose from! This guide will walk you through a list of cool facts about the solar system. Let’s take a closer look.  

13 Interesting Facts About the Solar System 

The solar system is billions of years old

The solar system is billions of years old

While this first fact might not surprise some people, it’s an important part of our knowledge because it tells us how the solar system came into existence. 4.6 billion years ago, an exploding star called a supernova triggered the explosion of a cloud of dust or gas. The collapsed cloud of dust created a solar nebula to form. The solar nebula eventually collapsed on itself and formed the sun and planets we now know as the solar system! 

The sun makes up most of the solar system’s mass. 

The sun makes up most of the solar system’s mass

The sun is one of the solar system’s biggest stars, making up over 98% of the solar system’s mass! The sun produces huge amounts of energy that radiate into the solar system and space as electromagnetic radiation. It also provides the planet earth with light and energy that helps plants, animals, and humans survive daily. 

No one can stand on Uranus. 

No one can stand on Uranus

Even though Uranus is considered to be a planet, you cannot actually stand on it. This is because Uranus is nothing more than a giant ball of gas made up of helium, hydrogen, and water. Additionally, a spacecraft would have nowhere to land when it reached Uranus because there isn’t anything solid to land on. Uranus is also one of the least dense planets and is the coldest planet in the solar system. 

Also Read: Fun Gas Facts

Water can be found all over the solar system. 

Water can be found all over the solar system

Even though many believe that the earth is the only planet with large bodies of water, we’re here to tell you that that isn’t true. Physicists have discovered water in many different places in the solar system and different forms as well. For instance, Saturn’s rings consist of ice and rocks. There are also large amounts of ice in the craters on Mercury! While scientists haven’t fully discovered liquid water in parts of the solar system that aren’t planet Earth, they suspect that there might be liquid water under the surface of Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

Human creations could cause other planets to become contaminated

Human creations could cause other planets to become contaminated

To some people, the thought of finding life on other planets might sound bizarre to some people, but to scientists, the idea seems plausible! Scientists discovered microbes and other potential forms of life that exist in volcanoes and vents when conducting research on other planets. As a result, they have taken multiple measures and precautions to send sterilized spacecraft into space. This is because they want to try and prevent any contamination from occurring on the other planets, especially because they want to try and study those microbes in the future and see if there are signs of life on other planets. 

The red spot on Jupiter is getting smaller. 

The red spot on Jupiter is getting smaller.

The red spot on Jupiter is not a patch of land in a different color, but it is a solar storm that has been raging for thousands of years. However, in recent times and thanks to the advancements in technology, scientists have discovered that the size of the red spot has decreased significantly. It has shrunk by about 50%, indicating that the storm is more than half the size it was several decades ago!

The largest moon on Jupiter has an ocean. 

Ganymede - Jupiter's Moon
Ganymede – Jupiter’s Moon

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and its moons are also huge. The largest moon that orbits Jupiter has a vast ocean of so much water that the Earth’s water supply wouldn’t fill it! This moon is called Ganymede, the largest moon in the entire solar system. 

Mercury orbits the sun the fastest. 

Mercury orbits the sun the fastest

While the Earth takes 365 days to complete a single orbit around the sun and Neptune takes 165 years to complete an orbit around the sun, Mercury takes only 88 days. Mercury is the planet closest to the sun, meaning it takes very little time to orbit the sun. Additionally, Mercury doesn’t have any moons, but scientists cannot get very close to the planet because of its proximity to the sun. 

There might be an undiscovered planet in the solar system. 

We all believed Pluto was a planet for quite a long time, but physicists have debunked that idea. However, a group of scientists discovered that there might be a ninth planet at the far end of the solar system! If their theory were correct, this ninth planet would be located beyond the planet Neptune and its orbit. These scientists also have an alternative hypothesis, believing that it might be a black hole if this planet isn’t a planet. 

The sun will consume the earth someday. 

sun will consume the earth someday

As scary as it sounds, we won’t be here to witness it as scary as it sounds! In around 130 million years, the sun will have finished burning through the hydrogen that it possesses. After it burns through the hydrogen, it will become a massive red star that will eventually eat Mercury, Venus, and the earth. 

All the comets in the solar system come from the Kuiper belt. 

Solar System Facts - Kuiper belt

The comets in the solar system all come from the Kuiper belt. This belt is nothing but a ring that consists of debris made from ice. These comets aren’t dangerous or threatening to life on earth because they usually exhaust their inner power and ice quickly, making them dead or dormant. 

Pluto is no longer part of the solar system. 

This particular fact might not come as a surprise to some of you, but Pluto isn’t considered to be a part of the solar system. This is because physicists and scientists have come up with a proper definition for the word ‘planet,’ and unfortunately, Pluto didn’t exactly qualify. According to scientists, a planet needs to be able to eliminate space debris and objects from planets, and sadly, Pluto didn’t have that ability. 

Also Read: Pluto facts for kids

Venus experienced climate change. 

Venus experienced climate change

The solar system’s hottest planet is Venus, thanks to the fact that its atmosphere consists mainly of carbon dioxide. Scientists believe that before Venus became as hot as it is today, it was once a planet that might have been habitable due to evidence that there was an ocean of water on it. However, as time passed, Venus became so hot that it could not support any form of life, no matter how strong or powerful it was. 

Also Read: Hottest Planet in the Solar System: Why it isn’t Mercury?

Conclusion 

In this article, we walked you through a list of 13 facts about the solar system. When we were researching this article, we discovered that there is so much information about the solar system and all its components that we didn’t know what to choose and where to start! However, after slowly digging through the wealth of information available about the solar system, we realized that our list of facts would only make a small dent in the knowledge you gain. The next time you’re stuck trying to find tidbits of information, we hope you return to our list for help!