Solar System Facts: Top 10 Interesting Facts
Solar System Facts
- The Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago from a cloud of gas and dust. This “molecular cloud” was the remains of much older stars that had been born soon after the Big Bang.
- The Sun is a type G2 main-sequence star. Most of the stars in our Milky Way galaxy are cool, dim, Red Dwarfs while ours unusually large and bright.
- Our Sun contains 99.86% of the mass of the Solar System. The four gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune contain 90% of everything else.
- The inner planets contain a lot of elements with high melting points, like rock and metals. Heat from the young Sun boiled elements like water and ammonia and the Solar Winds blew the gas beyond the orbit of Mars where it was cool enough to condense back into a solid.
- All of the planets in our Solar System orbit in the same direction that the Sun rotates.
- Almost all of the moons of all the planets orbit in the same direction that their planet rotates. Neptune’s Triton is an exception as it rotates in the opposite direction.
- Almost all moons are “tidally locked“, which means that they always keep one face towards the planet they orbit.
- While the Sun looks yellow from Earth, it is in fact white. The Earth’s oxygen atmosphere scatters blue light, giving the Sun its familiar yellow appearance.
- In 5.4 billion years, the Sun will begin to die when it runs out of hydrogen. The core will collapse and grow hotter. The Sun’s outer layers will expand, vaporise Mercury and Venus and make the Earth uninhabitable. The Sun will now be a Red Giant star.
- Soon after becoming a Red Giant, the Sun will consume its remaining helium and die. The core will collapse again and the outer layers will be blown into space, leaving behind the slowly cooling corpse of a star, know as a White Dwarf.
For more Solar System facts, check out the amazing Solar Explorer for Android or Amazon devices.