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Portal:Solar System

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The Solar System Portal

The Sun and planets of the Solar System (distances not to scale)

The Solar System is the gravitationally bound system of the Sun and the objects that orbit it. It was formed about 4.6 billion years ago when a dense region of a molecular cloud collapsed, forming the Sun and a protoplanetary disc. The Sun is a typical star that maintains a balanced equilibrium by the fusion of hydrogen into helium at its core, releasing this energy from its outer photosphere. Astronomers classify it as a G-type main-sequence star.

The largest objects that orbit the Sun are the eight planets. In order from the Sun, they are four terrestrial planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars); two gas giants (Jupiter and Saturn); and two ice giants (Uranus and Neptune). All terrestrial planets have solid surfaces. Inversely, all giant planets do not have a definite surface, as they are mainly composed of gases and liquids. Over 99.86% of the Solar System's mass is in the Sun and nearly 90% of the remaining mass is in Jupiter and Saturn.

There is a strong consensus among astronomers that the Solar System has at least nine dwarf planets: Ceres, Orcus, Pluto, Haumea, Quaoar, Makemake, Gonggong, Eris, and Sedna. There are a vast number of small Solar System bodies, such as asteroids, comets, centaurs, meteoroids, and interplanetary dust clouds. Some of these bodies are in the asteroid belt (between Mars's and Jupiter's orbit) and the Kuiper belt (just outside Neptune's orbit). Six planets, seven dwarf planets, and other bodies have orbiting natural satellites, which are commonly called 'moons'.

The Solar System is constantly flooded by the Sun's charged particles, the solar wind, forming the heliosphere. Around 75–90 astronomical units from the Sun, the solar wind is halted, resulting in the heliopause. This is the boundary of the Solar System to interstellar space. The outermost region of the Solar System is the theorized Oort cloud, the source for long-period comets, extending to a radius of 2,000–200,000 AU. The closest star to the Solar System, Proxima Centauri, is 4.25 light-years (269,000 AU) away. Both stars belong to the Milky Way galaxy. (Full article...)

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Formation and evolution of the Solar System.
Formation and evolution of the Solar System.
The formation and evolution of the Solar System began 4.6 billion years ago with the gravitational collapse of a small part of a giant molecular cloud. Most of the collapsing mass collected in the centre, forming the Sun, while the rest flattened into a protoplanetary disc out of which the planets, moons, asteroids, and other small Solar System bodies formed. This widely accepted model, known as the nebular hypothesis, was first developed in the 18th century by Emanuel Swedenborg, Immanuel Kant, and Pierre-Simon Laplace. Beginning with the initial formation, the Solar System has evolved considerably. Many moons formed from circling discs of gas and dust around their parent planets, while many other moons are believed to have been captured or (in the case of the Earth's Moon) to have resulted from a giant collision. Collisions between bodies have occurred continuously up to the present day and are central to the evolution of the system. The planets' positions often shifted outward or inward, and planets have switched places. This planetary migration is now believed to be responsible for much of the Solar System's early evolution. Just as the Sun and planets were born, they will eventually die. In roughly 5 billion years, the Sun will cool and bloat outward to many times its current diameter (becoming a red giant) before casting off its outer layers as a planetary nebula and leaving behind a stellar corpse known as a white dwarf. (Full article...)

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The original scalloped margin dome, known as "The Tick"

  • ...that although NASA originally thought that there was only one scalloped margin dome on the planet Venus (pictured), they have since discovered hundreds of them?


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Solar System: Planets (Definition · Planetary habitability · Terrestrial planets · Gas giants · Rings· Dwarf planets (Plutoid· Colonization · Discovery timelineˑ Exploration · Moons · Planetariums

Sun: Sunspot · Solar wind · Solar flare · Solar eclipse
Mercury: Geology · Exploration (Mariner 10 · MESSENGER · BepiColombo· Transit
Venus: Geology · Atmosphere · Exploration (Venera · Mariner program 2/5/10 · Pioneer · Vega 1/2ˑ Magellan · Venus Express· Transit
Earth: History · Geology · Geography · Atmosphere · Rotation
Moon: Geology · Selenography · Atmosphere · Exploration (Luna · Apollo 8/11· Orbit · Lunar eclipse
Mars: Moons (Phobos · Deimos) · Geology · Geography · Atmosphere · Exploration (Mariner · Mars · Viking 1/2 · Pathfinder · MER)
Ceres: Exploration (Dawn)
Jupiter: Moons (Amalthea, Io · Europa · Ganymede · Callisto) · Rings · Atmosphere · Magnetosphere · Exploration (Pioneer 10/11 · Voyager 1/2 · Ulysses · Cassini · Galileo · New Horizons)
Saturn: Moons (Mimas · Enceladus · Tethys · Dione · Rhea · Titan · Iapetus) · Rings · Exploration (Pioneer 11 · Voyager 1/2 · CassiniHuygens)
Uranus: Moons (Miranda · Ariel · Umbriel · Titania · Oberon) · Rings · Exploration (Voyager 2)
Neptune: Moons (Triton) · Rings · Exploration (Voyager 2)
Planets beyond Neptune
Pluto: Moons (Charon, Nix, Hydra, Kerberos, Styx) · Geology · Atmosphere · Exploration (New Horizons)
Haumea: Moons (Hi'iaka, Namaka) · Ring
Quaoar: Weywot · Rings
Makemake: S/2015 (136472) 1
Gonggong: Xiangliu
Eris: Dysnomia
Small bodies: Meteoroids · Asteroids (Asteroid belt· Centaurs · TNOs (Kuiper belt · Scattered disc · Oort cloud· Comets (Hale–Bopp · Halley's · Hyakutake · Shoemaker–Levy 9)
Formation and evolution of the Solar System: History of Solar System formation and evolution hypotheses · Nebular hypothesis
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The planet Saturn, see here eclipsing the sun
The planet Saturn, see here eclipsing the sun

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