Diagram of the Solar System

by Fraser Cain on July 23, 2008

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Diagram of the Solar System. Image credit: NASA

Diagram of the Solar System. Image credit: NASA

This image contains all of the largest objects in the Solar System. You can print this diagram of the Solar System, as well as this handy list of all the planets.

The Sun – The central star in the Solar System

Mercury – The first planet in the Solar System. It’s also the smallest planet in the Solar System. Mercury takes just 88 days to complete an orbit around the Sun.

Venus – The second planet from the Sun. In many ways, Venus is a twin to our own Earth. It has nearly the same size and mass as Earth, but the thick atmosphere on Venus makes surface temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Venus is also unusual because it rotates backwards to all the other planets.

Earth – Our home planet, the third planet from the Sun. Earth is the only planet in the Solar System known to support life. This is because we are at just the right distance from the Sun so that our planet doesn’t get too hot or too cold. We also have one moon – the Moon.

Mars – Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun, and is much smaller and colder than the Earth. Temperatures on Mars can rise to 20-degrees C, but dip down to -140-degrees C in the northern winters. Mars is thought to be the best candidate for life elsewhere in the Solar System. Mars has two small, asteroid-shaped moons: Phobos and Deimos.

Ceres – Ceres is the first dwarf planet in the Solar System, and the largest member of the asteroid belt.

Jupiter – Jupiter is the 5th planet from the Sun, and the largest planet in the Solar System. Jupiter has as much mass as 2.5 times all the rest of the planets combined – almost all of this mass is hydrogen and helium; although, scientists think it has a solid core. Jupiter has at least 63 moons.

Saturn – Saturn is the 6th planet from the Sun, and is well known for its beautiful system of icy rings. Saturn is almost as large as Jupiter, but it has a fraction of Jupiter’s mass, so it has a very low density. Saturn would float if you could find a tub of water large enough. Saturn has 60 moons at last count.

Uranus – Uranus is the 7th planet from the Sun, and the first planet discovered in modern times; although, it’s just possible to see with the unaided eye. Uranus has a total of 27 named moons.

Neptune – Neptune is the 8th and final planet in the Solar System. Neptune was only discovered in 1846. It has a total of 13 known moons.

Pluto – Pluto isn’t a planet any more. Now it’s just a dwarf planet. Pluto has one large moon, called Charon, and then two smaller moons.

Eris – The next dwarf planet in the Solar System is Eris, which was only discovered back in 2003. In fact, it was because of Eris that astronomers decided to reclassify Pluto as a dwarf planet.

I hope you find this diagram of the Solar System helpful.

Reference:
NASA Solar System Exploration Guide

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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