The the sun in the form of heat

The Solar System

What’s in Our Solar System?
•Our Solar System consists of a central star
(the Sun), the nine planets orbiting the sun,
moons, asteroids, comets, meteors,
interplanetary gas, dust, and all the “space”
in between them.
•The eight planets of the Solar System are
named for Greek and Roman Gods and
Goddesses.

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Inner and Outer Planets
•Inner Planets:
–Mercury
–Venus
–Earth
–Mars
•Outer Planets
–Jupiter
–Saturn
–Uranus
–Neptune

The Relative Size of the Planets in
the Solar System

The Sun
•The sun’s energy comes from
nuclear fusion(where hydrogen is
converted to helium) within its
core. This energy is released from
the sun in the form of heat and
light.
•Remember: Stars produce light.
Planets reflect light.
•A star’s temperature determines its
“color.” The coldest stars are red.
The hottest stars are blue.

The 8 Planets of the Solar System
•Planets are categorized according to
compositionand size. There are two main
categories of planets:
–Inner Planets: small rocky planets
(Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars)
–Outer Planets: gas giants (Jupiter, Saturn,
Uranus, and Neptune)

Characteristics of the Inner Planets
(aka Terrestrial Planets and Small Rocky Planets)
•They are made up mostly of rock and metal.
•They are very heavy.
•They move slowly in space.
•They have no rings and no more than 2
moons (if any).
•They have a diameter of less than 13,000
km.

Mercury
•Closest planet to the Sun.
•Smallest planet.
•Has craters like our moon.
•No moons orbit Mercury.
•Has a revolution period of 88
days. Mercury has extreme
temperatures, ranging from
800?F (daytime) to -270?F
(nighttime).
•Even though it is the closest
planet to the sun, Scientists
believe there is ICE on Mercury!
The ice is protected from the
sun’s heat by crater shadows.

Venus
•2ndPlanet from the Sun.
•Venus is the brightest object in
the sky (after the sun and
moon) because its atmosphere
reflects sunlight so well.
People often mistake it for a
star.
•Its maximum surface
temperature may reach 900?F.
•Venus has no moons and takes
225 days to complete an orbit
around the Sun.
•Closest in size to Earth.
•Has more than 1,000 volcanoes.

Earth
•3rdplanet from the Sun.
•Earth is the onlyplanet
known to support living
organisms.
•Earth’s surface is 71% water.
–Water is necessary for life on
Earth.
–The oceans help maintain
Earth’s temperatures.
•Earth has one moon and an
oxygen rich atmosphere.

Earth’s Moon
•It takes the moon approximately 29 days to
complete one rotation. The same side of the moon
always faces us.
•The moon’s surface is covered in dust and rocky
debris from meteor impacts. It has no water or
atmosphere.
•The moon reflects light from the sun onto the earth’s
surface.

•4thPlanet from the Sun.
•Like Earth, Mars has ice caps at its
poles.
•Mars has the largest volcano in our
solar system: Olympus Mons
•Mars appears red because of iron
oxide, or rust, in its soil.
•Mars has two moons and takes about
two years to complete an orbit.
•Giant dust storms often cover Mars.
Mars

Characteristics of the Outer Planets
(aka Gas Giants)
•They are made up mostly of gases
(primarily hydrogen ; helium).
•They are very light for their size.
•They move quickly in space.
•They have rings and many moons.
•They have a diameter of less than 48,000
km

Jupiter
•5thPlanet from the Sun.
•The largest planet.
•It’s diameter is 11 times
bigger than that of the
Earth’s.
•About12 years for Jupiter to
orbit the sun.
•Jupiter has 53 known
moons.
•Great Red Spot –a circular
storm on the planet

Saturn
•6thPlanet from the Sun.
•Saturn is made of almost
entirely of hydrogen and
helium.
•2ndlargest planet.
•Saturn has thousands of rings
made of ice, rock, and dust.
•Saturn has 53 confirmed
moons, some of which orbit
inside the rings!
•It takes Saturn about 30
years to orbit the sun.

Uranus
•7thPlanet from the Sun.
•Uranus is blue because of
methane gas in its atmosphere.
•Uranus has 13 faint rings
surrounding it.
•Uranus has 27 confirmed moons
•Takes 84 years to complete one
orbit around the Sun.
•It rotates on its side.
•Coldest planet.

Neptune
•8thPlanet from the Sun.
•Neptune has the fastest
winds in the solar
system
•Has a circular storm like
Jupiter
•Neptune is also blue in
color due to methane gas
in its atmosphere.
•Neptune takes 165 years
to orbit the sun
•Has 13 confirmed
moons.

Pluto
•Pluto has only one moon
and takes about 249 years to
orbit the sun.
•Part of Pluto’s orbit passes
inside that of Neptune, so at
times Neptune is the planet
farthest from the sun.
•Pluto was located and
named in 1930, but today
Pluto is no longer
considered a
planet.

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