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The solar system

Our solar system, formed from a nebula, consists of the sun, eight planets, asteroids, and comets. The inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, are rocky, while the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, are gas giants. The asteroid belt separates these two groups, and the Oort cloud, filled with comets, lies beyond Neptune. Created by Khan Academy.

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  • starky ultimate style avatar for user The Sky Rider
    Where's Pluto, And the other dwarf planets?
    They are definitely not asteroids, as they are too massive, and Pluto at least, has moons
    (25 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Hannah
    Question 1:
    How exactly did the collision of the nebula form the inside of Earth if it's made of metal and other chemical elements?

    Question 2: How did asteroids form and be located between Mars and Jupiter?

    Question 3: How come Venus is hotter than Mercury?
    (6 votes)
    • boggle blue style avatar for user Aspen
      The collision of a nebula was not directly responsible for the formation of the metal and other chemical elements inside Earth. Rather, these elements were formed through a process called nucleosynthesis, which involves the fusion of atomic nuclei under high temperatures and pressures.
      The region between Mars and Jupiter, known as the asteroid belt, is a collection of small rocky objects, known as asteroids. The current theory for the formation of the asteroid belt suggests that it was once home to a planet that never fully formed, due to the gravitational influence of Jupiter. This planet, often called a protoplanet, was in the process of forming from the same materials that make up the rest of the solar system. However, the gravitational forces of Jupiter disrupted the protoplanet's formation, causing it to break apart and scatter its material throughout the region.
      Venus has a very thick atmosphere, so heat can't come out as easily as mercury's very thin atmosphere.
      (22 votes)
  • starky sapling style avatar for user slm.paderanga
    Who first discovered the solar system?
    (11 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user write2ayaps
    What is the actual distance from the Sun to the Earth? And do we know how many asteroids are in the Asteroid Belt?
    (4 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user Winter Soldier
      Earth's average distance to the Sun is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers). We do not know exactly how may asteroids are in the asteroid belt, it is estimated to contain between 1.1 and 1.9 million asteroids larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) in diameter, and millions of smaller ones.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions :)
      (10 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
    Where do comets come from ? I mean, I know that comets are also nick-named as space’s snowballs, but how and why did they enter our solar system? What is their origin?
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Khup Naulak
    How much times has Neptune obit the sun
    (6 votes)
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    • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user CandyQueen
      We can approximate the amount of times Neptune has orbited the sun by using two separate variables: the age of Neptune itself, and the time it takes for Neptune to make one single rotation around the sun.

      According to our best estimates, Neptune formed roughly 4.5 billion years ago. It takes Neptune 165 Earth years to orbit the sun. So, by dividing the amount of time that Neptune has existed by the length of a Neptunian solar year, we can see that Neptune has orbited the sun roughly 27,272,727 times. That's a lot of repeating 2s and 7s!
      (3 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Briana Murray
    since the earth has a gravitational pull and the moon orbits us does that mean the moon will eventually crash into the earth and form a new moon
    (5 votes)
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  • duskpin tree style avatar for user LaurenV
    I have 1 huge question about the solar system. What specifically IS a black hole? What does it do? Whats inside of it? HOW are they formed? I've searched this up and got no answers help-😥
    (5 votes)
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    • leafers sapling style avatar for user mail.tanujk
      A black hole is a region in space where the pulling force of gravity is so strong that light is not able to escape. Black holes create deep gravity sinks. Black holes have two parts. There is the event horizon, which you can think of as the surface, though it's simply the point where the gravity gets too strong for anything to escape. And then, at the center, is the singularity. That's the word we use to describe a point that is infinitely small and infinitely dense. Primordial black holes are thought to have formed in the early universe, soon after the big bang. Stellar black holes form when the center of a very massive star collapses in upon itself. This collapse also causes a supernova, or an exploding star, that blasts part of the star into space.
      (4 votes)
  • stelly blue style avatar for user jahson.ken
    Did you know, in about 100 million years or so, Saturn will lose its rings and Mars moons will be destroyed by Mars gravity, as a result creates rings [basically Mars will get rings and Saturn will lose them].
    (6 votes)
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  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Rachel Elizabeth Lasater
    Why isn't Pluto considered a planet anymore? I get its small but so are planets like Mars.
    (3 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Narrator] The Earth isn't flat, but the solar system is. About 4.6 billion years ago, the material that makes up our solar system was in the form of a nebula, which is pretty much a big cloud of gas and dust in space. Gravity flattened this material into a disc like this one and then pulled everything towards the center. Eventually, the pressure became so great that the star was formed. The sun, the remaining dust and gas particles collided with each other and eventually formed larger objects like Earth. Together, the sun and all the objects in space that as gravity keeps an orbit, make up our solar system. We call the biggest objects that orbit the sun, planets. Our solar system has eight of them; Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These eight planets are divided by the asteroid belt. Asteroids are rocks that orbit the sun that are much smaller than planets and they're made up of nickel and iron. And unlike the planets, most asteroids aren't round. Beyond Neptune is the Oort cloud, a space at the very edge of the solar system that's filled with comets, which are like space snowballs that are made up of ice and dust. Sometimes comets enter the inner part of our solar system and can even be seen from Earth with long tails of ionized gases. One of the most famous comets is Halley's comet, which only comes near Earth every 75 years or so. Be on the lookout for it in 2061. The four planets on the side of the asteroid belt, closer to the sun, are called the inner or terrestrial planets. The word terrestrial comes from the Latin word for Earth. Terrestrial planets have solid, rocky surfaces, thin atmospheres, few or no moons and no rings. The closest planet to the sun is called Mercury. It's the smallest planet in the solar system and it doesn't have any moons. Next, there's Venus. It's the closest planet to Earth and like Mercury, it doesn't have a moon. Venus shines bright in the sky, like a star. It's about the same size as Earth, but you wouldn't wanna live on it. It's the hottest planet in the solar system and its atmosphere contains an unbreathable mixture of carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid. Next is our home planet, Earth. Earth is the only planet known to have life on it. The last terrestrial planet in our solar system is Mars. Mars has a very thin atmosphere of carbon dioxide and it has two moons. We've sent robots called rovers to Mars in order to explore the planet surface. The planets on the other side of the asteroid belt are called the outer planets. And unlike the inner planets, they're not made out of rock, instead, they're made out of gases and liquids and they have many moons and rings and they're much, much colder and much, much bigger than the terrestrial planets. For instance, the planet Jupiter is so big that it could fit about 1,300 Earths inside of it. We call Jupiter a gas giant, because, you guessed it, it's giant and made up of gas. Its atmosphere is mostly made up of hydrogen and helium. It has more than 50 moons. One of Jupiter's moons, Ganymede, is bigger by volume than the planet Mercury is. Jupiter spins really fast on its axis. This means that a day on Jupiter is a little less than 10 hours long. If you travel another 650 million kilometers or so from Jupiter, you'd see Saturn, another gas giant. In 1610, Galileo Galilei became the first person to see Saturn's rings. Because his telescope wasn't strong enough, he couldn't tell what they were. He thought it looked like the planet had ears. Even though Saturn's rings look smooth from a distance, they're actually made out of rocks and pieces of ice that orbit the planet because of Saturn's gravitational pull. The next planet is called Uranus. It's the sideways planet. Uranus has smaller rings than Saturn does and it's so far away from the Earth that we can only see it with a telescope. Even farther away from Earth, is the big and blue planet, Neptune. Because Neptune is so far away from the sun, it's really cold here. The average temperature of Neptune is about negative 214 degree Celsius. It's also the windiest planet in our solar system with winds going at more than 2000 kilometers per hour. So if you ever visit, bundle up. The planets don't all take the same amount of time to orbit the sun. For example, it takes Jupiter 12 years to orbit the sun just once. And the same amount of time, Mercury has already orbited the sun nearly 50 times and Neptune hasn't even made it around once. Although humans have visited the moon, we haven't built a rocket ship that can allow us to visit our neighboring planets yet. We've been able to learn more about our solar system by using other kinds of technology. Humans have built incredible telescopes that allow us to see into our solar system and beyond, and we've sent probes to other planets and captured stunning images. Even with all this research, scientists are still learning new things about our solar system and its place in the rest of the universe. So maybe one day you could help solve some of the solar system's great mysteries too.