Solar System Portal


The Solar System consists of the Sun and the other celestial objects gravitationally bound to it: the eight planets, their 168 known moons, five currently identified dwarf planets and their seven known moons, and billions of small bodies. This last category includes asteroidsKuiper beltobjects, cometsmeteoroids and interplanetary dust. In broad terms, the charted regions of the Solar System consist of the Sun, four terrestrial inner planets, an asteroid belt composed of small rocky bodies, four gas giant outer planets, and a second belt, called the Kuiper belt, composed of icy objects. Beyond the Kuiper belt lies the scattered disc, the heliopause, and ultimately the hypothetical Oort cloud. In order of their distances from the Sun, the planets are MercuryVenusEarthMarsJupiterSaturnUranus, and Neptune. Six of the eight planets are in turn orbited by natural satellites, usually termed “moons” after Earth’s Moon, and each of the outer planets is encircled by planetary rings of dust and other particles. All the planets except Earth are named after gods and goddesses from GrecoRoman mythology. The five dwarf planets are PlutoMakemake, and Haumea, the three largest known Kuiper belt objects; Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt; and Eris, the largest known object in the scattered disc.

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