The Solar System
The solar system consists of sun and all other object
that travels around sun. These objects include planets, asteroids (pieces of
rocks), natural satellites, meteoroids, comets, dwarf planets, dust and gases.
The sun is the center of our solar system and exerts tremendous gravitational
pull on planets, comets, asteroids, satellites and other objects. Our solar
system is a part of the Milky Way Galaxy. There are many such galaxies
in the universe.
The sun lies in the center of the Solar system. It is
massive ball of burning gas called a star. It is around 100 times bigger
than our earth. Sun looks bigger because it closer to the earth than the any
other stars. Sun is very hot because of continuous huge explosion of gases
happening in the sun. It gives heat and light to planets in the system. Light
from the sun reaches earth in approximately 8 minutes. The sun looks yellow
from earth. Without the sun, life is not possible on earth. Sun’s light is very
strong so, we should avoid looking at the sun directly as it could damage our
Sun is very important for our existence on earth. In
the absence of sun our earth would be just a ball of ice coated rock.
Significance of sun in our life:
- It provides energy to the plant to prepare food.
- It is an important part of water cycle.
- It kills germs and dries our clothes.
- It is the ultimate source of energy.
The closest planet to the sun is Mercury. It has rocky
surface with large holes called craters. These craters were made by fast
moving rocks hitting into the planets from the space. When we look at mercury
from earth, these craters looks like dark spot. Mercury has no atmosphere. Life
is not possible on mercury because it is either too hot or too cold. Mercury
has no moon.
Venus is the second planet from the sun. It is almost
as big as earth. It has thicker atmosphere compared to earth. The sun ray’s
passes through the thick clouds and warms the planet’s surface but the cloud
stop the heat from escaping which makes the planet very hot. Venus is the
hottest planet in the solar system and so life is not possible there. Venus
also rotates in the opposite direction as almost all the other planets. Instead
of the Sun rising in the east and setting in the west, the Sun on Venus would
appear to rise in the west and set in the east. Venus has no moons.
The earth is at the right distance from the sun and has
right mixture of air, heat and water which makes life possible on earth. It is
the only planet where life is known to exist. Earth is 7926 miles in size.
About 70% of the earth is covered with water and 30% with land. Earth has one
moon. Moon is natural satellite. Scientists have sent many man made satellite
which revolve around the earth. These satellites help to capture important
information about earth such as weather forecast etc. and helps in transmission
of radio and television programs. Existence of life on earth makes it unique
planet in the solar system.
Mars is cold and fourth planet from the sun. It has two
moons. It is a rocky planet. Its surface is covered with red dust and hence
called red planet.
Jupiter is the biggest planet in the solar system. It
is the fifth planet from the sun. It is made mostly of gases and does not have
solid surface. There is huge storm that has been raging for thousands of years
and hence it is referred as stormy planet. Different cloud formation and
storms in the atmosphere make Jupiter a colorful planet. It has a big red spot
where storm raging for at least 300 years. This red spot is also called “The
Eye of Jupiter”. Jupiter is also a cold planet. It has more than 60 moons
moving around it.
Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar
system. It is sixth planet from the sun. It is made mostly of gases. It has
millions of pieces of rock and ice moving around it. These look like solid
rings. Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune also have rings. From far away, these look
like solid rings. It has 62 moons.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. Uranus is a
gas giant. Uranus spins differently. It spins on its side. It is an extremely
cold planet and hence been called the “ice giant”. It has faint rings
around it which made of millions of specks of dust. It has 27 moons.
Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun. It is very
cold planet like Uranus. There is dark blue swirl of storm raging on the planet
which makes it look blue in color. It has 14 moons.
Pluto was considered a planet till 2006. It is now
considered as dwarf planet. It has 4 moons.