The Solar System
The solar system is the Sun and the objects that travel around it. The Earth is part of the solar system because it also travels around the sun.
The Sun is a star similar to the other stars in the sky but it is much closer to the Earth. The Sun is mostly a big ball of gases composed mainly of hydrogen and helium.
There are seven other planets that travel around the sun, too. These planets, in order, include Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Earth is located between Venus and Mars. The path the planets use when traveling around the sun is oval-shaped and is called its orbit. Each of the planets in the solar system take a different amount of time to orbit or travel around the Sun.
The planet Earth takes 365 days or one year to orbit the Sun. The other planets take more or less time to orbit the Sun. It takes Mercury less than two months or 88 days to travel around the Sun. It is the shortest time compared to the other planets. The planet taking the longest time to go around the Sun is Neptune. It takes Neptune almost 165 years to travel around the Sun.
The planets of the solar system are also a variety of sizes and are made up of different substances. The largest planet in the solar system is Jupiter. Over 1,000 Earths could fill the size of Jupiter. The smallest planet is Mercury, which is also the closest planet to the Sun. Earth and Venus are similar in size to each other.
The four inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are made of rock containing many different minerals. The four outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are mostly made up of different gases. Jupiter is mainly helium, hydrogen, and water. The four outer planets also have rings that encircle them with Saturn having the most rings.
Other objects in space include the moons of six planets. A moon is a celestial object (object in space) that orbits another body in space. There are approximately 173 moons throughout the solar system. Earth has a single moon, Mercury and Venus have none, and the planet with the most moons is Jupiter with 63. Not far behind Jupiter is Saturn with 62 moons.
The asteroid belt is another object in the solar system. The asteroid belt is approximately located between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. The asteroid belt contains irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids which are believed to be left over from the beginning of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. The objects are rocky and irregular in shape, and some may be hundreds of miles across, but most of the asteroids are very small.
In summary, the solar system is the Sun and the objects that travel around it including the eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Each of the planets follow an oval-shaped path around the Sun which is called the planet's orbit. Many of the planets also have moons which are celestial objects that orbit another body in space. Finally, there is also an asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter containing irregularly shaped objects called asteroids.
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