Our Neighbors in Space

We have a singular feeling toward the other planets that circle our sun. perhaps it’s all the science fiction stories about giving a visit to the moon, Mars and other planets. But we love to think about those planets that make up what we call “the solar system.” that do what our planet does but do it notably differently indeed.

The planets of our solar system have taken on stars and mythical appeal in our literature and arts. It is simple to find artists who render their vision of the planets that make up our society of planets near our sun. The names of the planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are all from our cultural past being gods from Greek and Roman mythology. But the solar system is not just generated up of these planets. The solar system is a notably busy place indeed.

In 2006, there was quite a bit of controversy as scholars and astronomers agreed to downgrade Pluto and delete its status as a planet. So you have to wonder, what is it that produces something a planet and what occurred to Pluto? It didn’t just go away so it must still be out there. A planet, by scientific definition is any object in orbit around a sun, that has trained into a few kind of round object is a planet as long as it has cleared away any other orbiting items around it. By cleared away, that doesn’t mean it has destroyed all space debris etc. For example, our planet has not “cleared away” the moon but it has captured it into its own orbit so we classify as a planet. That’s a relief huh?

There are multiple objects floating around in our solar system excluding the planets we know of. It’s an attractive piece of trivia that further to the planets there are 165 moons orbiting around those 9 planets. a few of those moons are so advanced that a few scientists have suspected that they might have helped life at a few point.

In addition to the regular planets and moons, there are dwarf planets, asteroid belts and habit visits by comets that develop a lot of traffic in our cosmic corner of the universe. The two known dwarf planets that exist on the outer rim of our solar system are Eries and Ceres. So when Pluto’s status was altered to be removed from the list of planets, it easily joined those two bodies as dwarf planets but still a solid citizen of the community of celestial bodies around our sun.

In addition to these bigger bodies, there is an asteroid belt that exists between Mars and Jupiter that most of the asteroids that we see in our night sky come from. There is another belt of large objects likewise out called the Kuiper belt and also a “bubble” in space called a heliopause and there is a suspected extra belt outside the known solar system called the Oort belt that we think is the origin of loads of large asteroids and comets that common our solar system and come to orbit our sun.

As fascinating as these multiple celestial bodies who are our neighbors in space is the origin of our solar system. We have to break it down to basic terms to comprehend the terms but it is clear that the early history of the solar system and the universe was one of marvelous bodies of gas and clouds of matter eventually cooling and heating, exploding and spinning off personalities and other massive space giants that became more personalities, galaxies and solar systems. It was from this erratic task that our sun separated from the gasses and carried with it the material that became our solar system. The gravity of the sun captured enough matter that it began to go by ways of the process of forming, cooling, exploding and separating. This is what occurred as the planets all went by ways of he same process eventually initiating stable orbits and little objects falling into orbit around them.

When you recapture how strong and out of control this process is, it’s awesome to step back and see the beauty of the planning of our solar system today. The more detail you learn about the history of our solar system, the more you will enjoy your explorations of the planets with your telescope. That that discovery is component of the fun of astronomy.