Fun Facts about our Solar System!
Did you know...?
*There is an asteroid belt which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, it features a large number of irregular shaped asteroids!
*The Sun contains 99.86 percent of the Solar System's known mass, with Jupiter and Saturn making up most of the rest. The small inner planets which include Mercury, Venus, Earth and mars make up a very small percentage of the Solar System's mass.
*Venus is the brightest planet in our sky and can sometimes be seen with the naked eye if you know where to look. It is the solar system's brightest planet - yellow clouds of sulfuric acid reflect the sun's light brightly!
*Earth has more exposed water than land. Three quarters of the earth is covered by water!
*Mars is the home of "Olympus Mons", the largest volcano found in the solar system. It stands about 27 kilometers high with a crater 81 kilometers wide.
*Jupiter is so big that you could fit all the other planets in the solar system inside it. The red spot of Jupiter is the biggest, most violent storm in the known universe -- that spot is at least three times the size of earth!
*Saturn is the second biggest planet, but it’s also the lightest planet. If there was a bathtub big enough to hold Saturn, it would float in the water! The ring that surrounds Saturn could be the remnants of a moon that was shattered by Saturn's gravity!
*Uranus’ axis is at a 97 degree angle, meaning that it orbits lying on its side! Talk about a lazy planet.
*Neptune was discovered in 1846 (over 150 years ago). Since that time it has still yet to make a complete orbit around the sun, because one Neptune year lasts 165 Earth years!
*Pluto’s orbit sometimes brings it closer to the Sun than Neptune. It jumped ahead of Neptune on September 5, 1989 and remained there until February, 1999 when it went back to being the farthest.
Note: Pluto is no longer considered a planet -- instead, astronomers call it a dwarf planet or planetoid. Whatever the name, our solar system isn't the neat model we once thought it was. It takes a bit for grown-ups (like me!) to adapt to the changes in our understanding (I now understand a bit better how folks felt when someone started telling them the earth was round not flat!)