Our solar system is referred to simply as the Solar System. That is its name because it is a heliocentric model in which all planets in the system revolve about the sun.
The sun is a G2 star that belongs to the Milky Way galaxy. It is only one of an estimated 100 billion stars in this galaxy. The sun's age is about 4.5 billion years.
Eight planets revolve around the sun. These are Earth, Mercury, Mars, Uranus, Venus, Neptune, Jupiter and Saturn. At one time, Pluto was the ninth planet, but as of August 2006, it is classified as a dwarf planet.Learn More
In 2012, a team of astronomers from the University of Pittsburgh announced that the Milky Way galaxy is aptly named thanks to its pure, milky white color, which the scientists described as resembling a fresh snowfall. The fact that Earth is located within the Milky Way galaxy has made the process of measuring the galaxy's color difficult; obstructions from things like dust and gas within the galaxy had previously made it hard for scientists to get a broad enough view of the Milky Way in order to determine its color.Full Answer >
Stars balance energy released by thermonuclear fusion with gravity based on their massive size. Most stars fuse hydrogen into helium, releasing light and thermal energy. Stars hold together because the large amount of matter involved compresses the gas, forming a luminous sphere. This process is known as hydrostatic equilibrium.Full Answer >
Lunar and solar eclipses do not happen every month because the orbit of the moon and Earth are not on the same orbital plane. The moon's orbit has an incline of approximately 5 degrees in relation to the Earth's. This means that the moon, sun and Earth will not line up as often to create the conditions that are needed to create a lunar or solar eclipse.Full Answer >
Astronomers use physics, chemistry and mathematics to study the makeup of the universe. They discover facts about other astrophysical objects using telescopes on Earth and in space, radio, computers and the geology of Earth. Astronomers also use digital cameras and charge-couple devices in order to convert the data captured by telescopes into electrical signals for further study on computers.Full Answer >