We call it the Solar System because everything in it is centered around the Sun. The word “Solar” is used when we talk about anything to do with the Sun. If you look up into the night sky you can see many of the Stars in our Solar System. The brightest star is the Sun, it’s a distance of almost 93 Million miles from Earth. This great distance may make the Sun look small from Earth, it’s actually the largest star in the Solar System.
The Sun is 100 times wider than planet Earth. The massive amount of gravity from the Sun keeps the Earth and other planets circling around it.
The Sun is a giant ball of Hydrogen and Helium gas that burns at millions of degrees in the middle. The burning Sun provides Planet Earth with heat and light which allows our plants and trees to grow.
Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. It can be visible without using of a Telescope. Mercury is the smallest planet in the Solar System. Mercury is very similar to our Moon, it’s surface is covered with rocks and craters. Mercury is one of the 5 planets you can see in the night sky without needing a Telescope. It looks like a bright star during sunrise and sunset. Mercury only takes 88 days to travel around the Sun. Mercury has no Moons
Venus is the 2nd planet from the Sun. It can be visible without using a Telescope. Venus is sometimes referred to as the sister planet to Earth because of its size. It’s a very different planet though, it’s so hot that nothing could live there. The heat from the Sun is trapped by a thick layer of carbon dioxide. Venus wouldn’t be a fun place to visit, but it’s fun to look at from Earth, it’s quite easy to spot as it’s the second brightest star in the night sky after the Moon. Venus orbits the Sun every 224 days. Venus has no Moons.
Earth is the 3rd planet from the Sun. As far as we know our planet Earth is the only planet where things can live, because it’s not too hot and not too cold. Earth takes 365 days to travel around the Sun. Earth has just one Moon.
Mars is the 4th planet from the Sun. It can be visible without using a Telescope. Mars surface is covered with red iron oxide dust, that’s why it’s sometimes referred to as 'The Red Planet'. This cold and rocky planet has a very thin atmosphere. There’s water on Mars so it’s possible that the planet could allow people to live there, but they would need special equipment to do so. Mars orbits the Sun every 1.88 years. Mars has two Moons.
Jupiter is the 5th planet from the Sun. It can be visible without using a Telescope. Jupiter is the largest planet in the Solar System. The planet is sometimes called 'The Gas Giant' because it’s mostly made up of gases. Jupiter is the 3rd brightest star in the night sky. There’s a storm that’s been happening on Jupiter for the last 200 years, it’s called the Great Red Spot. Jupiter orbits the Sun every 11.86 years. Jupiter has 79 Moons.
Saturn is the 6th planet from the Sun. It can be visible without using a Telescope. The Rings of Saturn are beautiful to look at; although they look solid, they’re actually made up of small ice particles, along with dust and rocks. Saturn is also a Gas Giant and it’s the farthest planet that can be seen without using a Telescope. Saturn orbits the Sun every 29.46 years. Saturn has 60 Moons.
Uranus is the 7th planet from the Sun. It is a Gas Giant that is much smaller than Saturn and Jupiter. Did you know that Uranus spins tilted on its side. Uranus is covered with methane gases which give it a cool blue color. Uranus orbits the Sun every 84.01 years. Uranus has 27 Moons.
Neptune is the 8th planet from the Sun. It is another Gas Giant with methane gases in its atmosphere, although its color is a deeper blue. It takes Neptune 164 years to orbit the Sun, due to it being so far out in Space. This is the longest orbit in the Solar System. Neptune has 14 Moons.
Since 2006, Pluto is no longer considered a Planet due to its very small size. Pluto is now considered a 'Dwarf Planet'.