Related topics: planets · nasa · earth · orbit · asteroid

SpaceX to send TU Dresden satellite into space

TU Dresden's SOMP2b satellite will be lifted into orbit by SpaceX on January 22, 2021. It will be used to investigate new nanomaterials under the extreme conditions of space, to test systems for converting the sun's heat ...

Solar system formation in two steps

An international team of researchers from the University of Oxford, LMU Munich, ETH Zurich, BGI Bayreuth, and the University of Zurich discovered that a two-step formation process of the early Solar System can explain the ...

Oldest carbonates in the solar system

A meteorite that fell in northern Germany in 2019 contains carbonates which are among the oldest in the solar system; it also evidences the earliest presence of liquid water on a minor planet. The high-resolution Ion Probe—a ...

NASA explores solar wind with new view of small sun structures

Scientists have combined NASA data and cutting-edge image processing to gain new insight into the solar structures that create the Sun's flow of high-speed solar wind, detailed in new research published today in The Astrophysical ...

Reconstructing the solar system's original architecture

As the solar system was developing, the giant planets (Jupiter and Saturn) formed very early, and as they grew, they migrated both closer to and further away from the sun to stay in gravitationally stable orbits.

NASA extends exploration for two planetary science missions

As NASA prepares to send astronauts back to the Moon and on to Mars, the agency's quest to seek answers about our solar system and beyond continues to inform those efforts and generate new discoveries. The agency has extended ...

Quantum wave in helium dimer filmed for the first time

Anyone entering the world of quantum physics must prepare themself for quite a few things unknown in the everyday world: Noble gases form compounds, atoms behave like particles and waves at the same time and events that in ...

Can white dwarfs help solve the cosmological lithium problem?

For the first time, hard-to-find lithium has been identified and measured in the atmosphere of burned out stars called white dwarfs, according to a study led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill published online ...

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Solar System

The Solar System[a] consists of the Sun and those celestial objects bound to it by gravity, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The Sun's retinue of objects circle it in a nearly flat disc called the ecliptic plane, most of the mass of which is contained within eight relatively solitary planets whose orbits are almost circular. The four smaller inner planets; Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, also called the terrestrial planets, are primarily composed of rock and metal. The four outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, also called the gas giants, are composed largely of hydrogen and helium and are far more massive than the terrestrials.

The Solar System is also home to two main belts of small bodies. The asteroid belt, which lies between Mars and Jupiter, is similar to the terrestrial planets as it is composed mainly of rock and metal. The Kuiper belt (and its subpopulation, the scattered disc), which lies beyond Neptune's orbit, is composed mostly of ices such as water, ammonia and methane. Within these belts, five individual objects, Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris, are recognised to be large enough to have been rounded by their own gravity, and are thus termed dwarf planets. The hypothetical Oort cloud, which acts as the source for long-period comets, may also exist at a distance roughly a thousand times beyond these regions.

Within the Solar System, various populations of small bodies, such as comets, centaurs and interplanetary dust, freely travel between these regions, while the solar wind, a flow of plasma from the Sun, creates a bubble in the interstellar medium known as the heliosphere, which extends out to the edge of the scattered disc.

Six of the planets and three of the dwarf planets are orbited by natural satellites, usually termed "moons" after Earth's Moon. Each of the outer planets is encircled by planetary rings of dust and other particles.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA