Hey Friends! What do you think about how large is our home? No, No, No… I am not talking about Earth. Here I am talking about the home of our Earth.
Yes! I am talking about the solar system. Solar System, home to our Earth and 7 other terrestrial and extra-terrestrial planets.
Our solar system is not only the home of these planets but also of various mysterious celestial objects like moons, dwarf planets, comets & asteroids. Most importantly its master, the Sun, around which all these objects are orbiting.
Of these objects, planets, dwarf planets, comets and most asteroids are directly orbiting the Sun. Apart from these, there many moons which are indirectly orbiting the Sun.
Around 4.6 billion years old, our solar system was formed by a gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud and has the vast majority of mass inside its only star, the Sun.
Our entire solar system is full of mysteries and bizarre activities and interesting facts. Today I am going to tell you 10 of those interesting facts which will amaze you. So, let’s start…
1. Exact location of our Solar System in the Universe
Hey there, where do our solar system located in this vast Universe? Any guess? Let me clear it…
If we talk about this entire universe, it is divided into many clusters. Then those clusters are composed of billions of galaxies. In these galaxies, there are billions of stars and their stellar system.
In this chronology, our solar system is located in the Virgo Super Cluster. Out of its billions of galaxies, there is a galaxy named milky way named due to its milky white appearance.
In milky way galaxy, at its spiral arm named Orion Spur which further extends towards the Sagittarius arm, our solar system is located.
2. Sun The Most Massive And The Master Of The Solar System
As we know from the post, Sun – The Master of The Solar System, our sun is the most massive object in our solar system. But, what is the weightage of it in the solar system?
Well, the sun alone has a share of 99.86% of the entire solar system’s mass. Our sun is so large that we can fit 100 earth in a row to make its diameter equals to the sun’s diameter.
Sun is so massive that we can fit all the 8 planets inside it not once, not twice but 600 times. Yes! You read it right, our sun is 600 times equal to the size of all planets combined.
3. Space Explorers Divided it into Three Main Regions of Solar System
For our ease of understanding, space explorers have the solar systems in three main regions as mentioned below…
- Inner Solar System
- Outer Solar System
- Trans-Neptunian Region
1. Inner Solar System
It is the region where terrestrial planets and asteroids belt are comprised of. The inner solar system is mainly composed of silicates and metals and is relatively closed to the sun.
If we talk about the members of this region of the system, then there are especially 4 planets made of metals & rocks, few moons of those planets made of same materials and a belt of gravity-bound rocks are known as the asteroid belt.
2. Outer Solar System
The outer region of the Solar System is home to the giant planets and their large moons. The centaurs and many short-period comets also orbit in this region.
Due to their greater distance from the Sun, the solid objects in the outer Solar System contain a higher proportion of volatiles, such as water, ammonia, and methane than those of the inner Solar System because the lower temperatures allow these compounds to remain solid.
This region of the solar system consists of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn as well as the Ice giants Uranus and the Neptune along with their giant moons.
3. Trans-Neptunian Region
This region of the solar system is composed of a great ring of debris, like the previous one the asteroid belt but different in the material of composition which ice in this case. This belt is known as the Kuiper belt.
Apart from this icy belt, there is a large variety of other celestial objects. These celestial objects include dwarf planets, Pluto, Charon, Makemake, Haumea, etc. Makemake is smaller than the Pluto but it is the largest object in the Kuiper belt.
4. A long Path to Complete
What time does earth take to complete one orbit around the sun? 365 days. Yes, that’s almost correct. These 365 days make a year here on Earth.
We all have studied that everything in this cosmos is moving. If everything is moving, then it is natural that our solar system must be moving along its object.
So, if the solar system is moving, which object is it orbiting around? What time does it take to complete one orbit? Here is the answer, our solar system is orbiting around the galaxy in which it has been formed that is Milky Way.
Now, what time does it take to complete one orbit? It takes a long time of 230 million years to complete one orbit around the Milky Way. In spite of this long time taken by the solar system, it has been completed 20 orbits successfully. This period of time is known as Galactic Year
5. The longest and shortest day in the solar system
Do you know which planet has the longest day? And which has the shortest? Any Idea?… Well, Mercury has the longest day and the giant Jupiter has the shortest.
Mercury the closest planet has the longest day in the solar system with a period of 176 Earth days. With only a short period of 9.9 Earth hours, Jupiter has the title of the planet has the shortest day.
This long and short duration is due to the distance of planets from the Sun. As the planets get closure their orbiting speed slows down which makes the planets to take a long time to complete an orbit.
But there is a question, as Jupiter is not the farthest planet, it is Neptune, So, why Jupiter has the shortest not the Neptune? It is because of the vastness of Jupiter and its gravity, Jupiter has different speeds for orbit at different sections. On the equator, it has a speed of around 43000 km/h.
6. Amazing Rings of the Planets
Do you know which planets in the solar system have Rings? Well, no terrestrial planet have rings. This means there is no ring around Mercury, Venus, Earth not even around mars. But, all the extra-terrestrial planets have rings.
Do you know Saturn is not the only planet that has a ring? All the gas giants have rings, whether it is Jupiter or Saturn, Uranus or Neptune all the gas and ice giants have rings.
Each planet has its own specific type of ring-like Jupiter has a ring system of gas and dust while Saturn has a ring system made of ice. Uranus and Neptune also have a ring system as the Jupiter has.
Rings around the Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune are dull fainter while Saturn has a bright, broad and expanded ring system.
Rings around gas giants are thought to be transient over the lifetime of the planetary system. That is, if we had lived at a very different time, perhaps we would not see big rings aroundSaturn, but another one of the gas giants.
7. Giant Red Spot & Giant Dark Spot
We all know that Jupiter has a giant red spot on its surface which actual a jovian storm raging for the last thousands of years. Neptune has a similar character in its southern hemisphere called Great Dark Spot.
This great dark spot was first spotted by Voyager 2 in the year of 1989. Just like Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, it is also an appearance of weather patterns.
8. Retrograded Spin of Uranus & Venus
In which direction all the planets are rotating around the sun? Most of the planets and other celestial objects do rotate in an anticlockwise direction. This is the direction of rotation of most of the components of our solar system and called Prograde rotation.
What if some objects rotating opposite to the direction mentioned above? Just imagine, you are playing during your bath with a toy duck and a bucket of water. You are whirling the water in a direction and following this, the water in the bucket is moving towards the direction you whirled, while the duck is moving just opposite to that.
Is it possible? Of course, it is. This kind of rotation is known as retrograde spin or rotation. In our solar system, there are two planets that rotate opposite to the direction most of the planets do.
Those two planets are Venus & Uranus. Venus and Uranus have retrograded spin. They rotate in a direction opposite to the direction of rotation of other planets.
9. Pluto and the Dwarf Planets
As in the introduction, our solar system has not only 8 planets but it has few more planets which so small that they have to be excluded to be a planet.
In 2006, astronomers coined a new term for planetary objects and that is a dwarf planet. They defined the dwarf planets to be the object which does not dominates in its own orbit or neighborhood.
So, according to this definition, Pluto had to be taken by its title of being a planet and categorized into a new category of planets, dwarf planets.
Pluto is not alone in this category, there two more like it. One Eris and the other is Ceres.
10. The only place in the known universe to have life.
Hah! You are reading the article which I wrote a few days back. You are alive and I might be then. Was it possible for us, for anyone if there was not any place to nurture life forms? No, not at all.
You are reading this because you are alive, and you are alive because this Planet is the only which has a suitable atmospheric condition for life forms to harboured.
Earth is the only planet in the universe that has any living thing. By the date now it is the only planet. Maybe in the future, we could get succeed in finding another. But for now, it is the only world where we or any other life form can live.
Here on Earth, the atmosphere is well settled that it can nurture life. It has a large number of water resources around 71% which produces enough oxygen. Earth has around 21% of oxygen in its atmosphere. Earth’s Atmospheric pressure and gravity are so settled that it can easily be adapted by living objects.
Vegetation on Earth plays an important role in the life system coz they are the reason behind the production of oxygen during their photosynthesis process.
So, those were the few amazing facts among the millions and billions of our solar system. Our system is mostly made up of Hydrogen and Helium along with a few heavier elements like Nitrogen, Oxygen, Carbon, Iron, etc.
The Sun, which also the center point of the solar system is not only the largest component but also consists of the massive amount of the total solar mass. It is surrounded by objects in 3 broad regions.
Our Solar system takes a total of 230 million years to complete one orbit around the Milky Way Galaxy. Which a huge amount of time. Jupiter has the shortest day while Mercury has the longest.
In the entire universe, ours is the only solar system where life can nurture here on Earth.
If you have any queries related to any topic, do not hesitate to comment or mail me. My contact details are on the contact us page. It would be my pleasure to help you out and improve my knowledge and yours as well.