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An introduction to the systems of our solar system

I know I have. Yet most of us have never even left the Earth!

  1. Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants, and Uranus and Neptune are ice giants.
  2. You are permitted to view, print and download these resources for your own personal use only, provided any copyright lines on the resources are not removed or altered in any way.
  3. This is what a typical solar system should look like in model form!

Can you believe that no human has ever set foot on another planet? Despite this, scientists still have lots of data about the Universe.

In particular, space travel and man-made probes have taught us much about solar systems! Advances in technology have helped us understand our Solar System better! Solar systems, or planetary systems, are groups of celestial bodies that connect to one central star by gravity.

Picture a star first. Stars are just giant, fiery balls of gas, so you can represent it with an orange circle.

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Because stars are so huge, they have very strong gravitational fields. This means that stars can use gravity to attract smaller objects around them! In outer space, these smaller objects are planets and their satellites. All the planets would have burned up a long time ago! In other words, the planet moves forward while being pulled towards the star at the same time. As a result, the planet will start to move around the star in an elliptical path!

  • More available elements then help the Outer Planets retain mass and volume!
  • In particular, space travel and man-made probes have taught us much about solar systems!
  • First, we have the star in the middle;
  • And, as you might guess, water is a very key ingredient for life!
  • As a result, the planet will start to move around the star in an elliptical path!

This curved movement of planets around a star is orbital motion. Follow this link to see a demonstration of what orbital motion looks like!

Our Solar System

First, we have the star in the middle. Around the star are the planets in their orbits. The heavier a planet is, the bigger its orbit is around a star! Planets of different masses will have different orbits around the central star. So now, our star has several elliptical rings, or orbits, around it. On each orbital ring is a spherical planet — kind of like a bead on a bracelet!

This is what a typical solar system should look like in model form!

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We simply call it the Solar System. The Milky Way looks like a band in the sky, but it is actually a spiral galaxy and is shaped more like a disk! The Solar System consists of the Sun — which is our central star — and 8 planets. In order of closest to farthest from the Sun, the 8 planets are: Here is a labeled image of our Solar System!

Look carefully at all the planets. Do you notice any patterns? These two groups have a lot of differences between them because of where they are in the Solar System! Venus, the 2nd closest planet to the Sun, is the hottest planet in the Solar System!

Solar Systems (Planetary Systems)

If we were to live on Venus, we would quite literally be toast! The Outer Planets are all giants: Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants, and Uranus and Neptune are ice giants.

Whereas Inner Planets are all compact, terrestrial planets. Since the Inner Planets are close to the Sun, they are a lot hotter. These hot temperatures evaporate everything, except for metals with super high melting points! More available elements then help the Outer Planets retain mass and volume! So far, Earth is the only planet scientists have found to have life! Earth is the third closest planet to the Sun, which is the Goldilocks zone — not too hot and not too cold! This means that water can actually stay as a liquid on Earth.

And, as you might guess, water is a very key ingredient for life! In the Solar System, Earth is the best planet to live on! Not only does Earth have liquid water, but it also has lots of oxygen in its atmosphere!