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What is the Solar System?

The planets of the Solar System. In order of distance from the Sun (which is on the left-hand side), they are: Mercury, Venus,...Read More >>The planets of the Solar System. In order of distance from the Sun (which is on the left-hand side), they are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The main part of the Asteroid Belt lies between Mars and Jupiter. Beyond Neptune lies the dwarf planet Pluto and the Kupier Belt. This is made up of many thousands of small icy objects.The Solar System consists of the Sun and all the objects that orbit (move around) it. They are: the planets, their moons, asteroids, meteoroids and comets. There are eight major planets. They are, in order of distance from the Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Pluto was once described as a planet, but astronomers now call it a dwarf planet. 



The planets' orbits around the Sun are shown here in different colours. All the planets move in an anticlockwise direction. The...Read More >>The planets' orbits around the Sun are shown here in different colours. All the planets move in an anticlockwise direction. The path of Halley's comet is shown in white.

The four terrestrial planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, shown in a single photograph to scale

The planets

All the planets orbit the Sun in an anticlockwise direction. They have a rounded shape. They are made of rock, metal, liquid and gas, or a combination of these.

The Sun is not stationary. Along with billions of other stars, it completes one orbit of the Milky Way Galaxy every 225–250 million years. It travels at about 250 kilometres per second (150 miles per second).

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