The Universe is a huge place. Its dimensions are so colossally large that they are difficult even for the most experienced astronomers to imagine. It is a place full of stars, nebulae, galaxies, black holes, planets, moons, asteroids and many other types of astronomical objects. However, in the midst of all that cosmic immensity, there is a place, a small corner of the universe that we can consider our home; the cradle where everything began for our species: that place is called Solar system.
|number of planets||8|
|Age||≈ 4.57 billion years|
|nearest star||Proxima Centauri|
|Size||≈ 120 AU|
|Number of dwarf planets||5|
|Number of natural satellites||≈ 400|
|number of comets||3,151|
Distance to the center of your galaxy
≈ 27,500 light years
What is the solar system?
The solar system is a planetary system. A planetary system is made up of a star (or sometimes a set of stars) and the heavenly bodies that revolve around itthat is, they are under the influence of its gravitational field, whether they are planets with their respective moons, minor planets, asteroids, comets, or stardust.
In the case of the solar system, the star that shapes the entire planetary system is the Sun, which occupies the center of a huge disk of material that extends for more than 30,000 million kilometers, in which, as we said, find their eight planets and other celestial objects.
What are the parts of the solar system?
Most of the solar system, like all other planetary systems, is empty space. However, around all that space there are many objects influenced by the Sun’s gravity, which make up the solar system.
How could it be otherwise, the Sun It is the most important part of the solar system. It is located at its center, and all objects in the solar system are influenced by its gravity. It is a G-type star, also known as yellow dwarfs, which is approximately in the middle of its life, today about 4,600 million years. The sun is made up of three quarters of hydrogen and one of helium, it rotates on its own axis, around which it takes 25 days to go around, and by itself it represents approximately 99.86% of the total mass of the solar system .
Due to their size, the next most important objects in the solar system are the planets, which we can divide into two different classes. Thus, occupying the inner orbits of the solar system are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. These are the smallest planets, due to their position in the solar system known as inner planets and due to their solid nature of rock and metal also called rocky planets. On the other hand, in the outer orbits of the solar system we will find the outer planets, much larger and composed of gas, which is why they are called gas giants and ice giants. Thus, in order of their distance from the Sun we find Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
Apart from the planets, 5 of the so-called planets are also known in the solar system. Tiny planets. As their name suggests, they are much smaller objects characterized by having enough gravity to have acquired a spherical shape, however not enough to have cleaned the neighborhood of their orbit from other objects, which differentiates them from the planets. These are Ceres, located in the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter, and Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Erisalso called as plutoids and located in the so-called Kuiper belt.
The asteroid belt is a region of the solar system located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter that is home to a large number of small objects made of rock and ice, mostly asteroids, which are believed to be the remains of a planet that never formed due to to the gravitational influence of Jupiter. More than half the total mass of the belt is contained in 5 objects: Ceres, the dwarf planet; and the asteroids Pallas, Vesta Hygia and Juno.
The kuiper belt is a region of the solar system located beyond the orbit of Neptune. It is similar to the asteroid belt, but it is much larger: 20 times wider and up to 200 times more massive, and like it, it is mainly composed of small residual objects from the formation of the solar system, in this case composed mainly of water, methane and ammonia in the form of ice.
The oort cloud It is a spherical cloud of objects that are beyond the orbit of Neptune, up to a light year away from the Sun. According to estimates, this cloud could house between 1,000 and 100,000 million objects made up of ice, methane and ammonia that they could add up to a mass of 5 times that of the planet Earth.
Where is the solar system located?
The solar system is part of our galaxy, the Milky Way, a barred spiral galaxy with a diameter of approximately 105,000 light-years between its most distant extremes. In its structure, the Milky Way, is made up of two main spiral arms, called Shield-Centaur and Perseus, and two secondary arms, those of Norma and Sagittarius. Our Solar System is located in the Orion or Local arm, which is part of the Sagittarius spiral arm. The Sun, that is, the star around which the entire solar system revolves, in turn moves at 210 kilometers per second within the Milky Way and takes 225 million years to complete one revolution around the center of the galaxy. It is what scientists know as a galactic year.
Regarding our neighbors in the galaxy, to find another planetary system we have to travel at least 4.4 light years to reach Alpha Centauria 3-star system in which 2 planets approximately the size of Earth have been found so far.
What are the limits of the solar system?
Where does the solar system begin and end? Without a doubt, this is a question with no easy answer. On November 4, 2019, NASA announced that the space probe Voyager 2, had left the solar system 40 years after his departure from Earth. His twin probe, the Voyager 1, he had already achieved it 7 years earlier, in March 2012. But what was NASA referring to?
According to the US space agency, the probes, both the furthest human-made objects ever from Earth, had left the heliospherethat is, the space region that is under the influence of the solar wind and its magnetic field, and crossed by the heliopausean imaginary line that constitutes the limit of the heliosphere and in which the solar wind joins the interstellar medium and interacts with the stellar wind coming from other stars.
How did the solar system form?
Scientists have multiple theories that try to explain how the solar system was formed, however, one of the most accepted proposes that before the solar system existed, its place was occupied by a huge cloud of molecular gas that accumulated in larger and larger quantities and density due to the low temperatures that prevail in most of the Universe.
The theory seems to indicate that at a certain moment, either due to the gravitational collapse of this interstellar gasr (gravity accretion), or motivated by a supply of energy from an exploding star or supernovNearby, the birth of a protostar took place.
Is protostar, that is, our Sun in a gestation state, continued to attract gas and matter, forming a disc of material around it and from which the planets would form. Subsequently, the protostar would reach a density and pressure sufficient for the nuclear fusion processes that characterize these stars, converting hydrogen into helium, and in turn giving rise to the origin of the interstellar wind that cleaned debris from the orbits of the current planets.
During this entire process and from all the material that was not incorporated into the Sun, planets, moons or asteroids were also formed. As we said, this material formed a massive disk around the early Sun. Inside the disk were the heavier materials, which were joined by the same gravity giving rise to rocky planets. After the Sun formed, the solar wind also carried lighter materials out of the solar system, where gas giants were formed.
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