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Ocean physics explain cyclones on Jupiter

Hurtling around Jupiter and its 79 moons is the Juno spacecraft, a NASA-funded satellite that sends images from the largest planet in our solar system back to researchers on Earth. These photographs have given oceanographers ...

NASA telescope set for launch on million-mile voyage

The world's most powerful space telescope is set to blast off on Saturday to its outpost 1.5 million kilometres (930,000 miles) from Earth, after several delays caused by technical hitches.

Earth and Mars were formed from inner solar system material

Earth and Mars were formed from material that largely originated in the inner solar system; only a few percent of the building blocks of these two planets originated beyond Jupiter's orbit. A group of researchers led by the ...

The earliest atmosphere on Mercury

Mercury is a most unusual planet. The smallest planet in the solar system, and the closest planet to the sun, it is in a 3:2 spin resonance, slowly turning and experiencing scorching heat up to 430 degrees Celsius, and the ...

Astronomers detect signature of magnetic field on an exoplanet

Researchers have identified the first signature of a magnetic field surrounding a planet outside of our solar system. Earth's magnetic field acts as a shield against energetic particles from the sun known as the solar wind. ...

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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