Q:

What does "solar system" mean?

A:

The term "solar system" refers to the sun and all the bodies that are caught in its gravitational field. This includes the eight planets, several dwarf planets, the moons and a variety of asteroids and comets.

The eight planets of the solar system in order of their distance to the sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The three largest dwarf planets include Pluto, Eris and Ceres.

Pluto was originally classified as a ninth planet, but this changed in 2006 when the International Astronomical Union (IAU) stopped recognizing Pluto as a planet and downgraded it to a dwarf planet.

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Related Questions

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    How many moons are in our solar system?

    A:

    According to NASA, astronomers have discovered at least 146 moons orbiting planets in Earth's solar system. As of 2014, 27 more moons await official confirmation of their discovery. This total does not include the six moons of the dwarf planets or tiny satellites that orbit asteroids and other celestial objects.

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  • Q:

    What is a geocentric model of the solar system?

    A:

    The geocentric, or Ptolemaic, model of the solar system is the astronomical model advanced by ancient people to describe the motions of the planets, Sun and moon. This model held that the Earth was the center of the solar system, and the other heavenly bodies orbited around it. Scientists now know that this model is incorrect and that the Sun is at the center of the solar system.

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  • Q:

    What is a working model of the solar system called?

    A:

    A working model of the solar system is called an orrery. This apparatus contains the sun, planets and often their satellites in their correct positions and phases. According to Reference.com, the first such model was made for Charles Boyle, the Earl of Orrery for whom it was named.

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    How did the solar system form?

    A:

    The formation of the solar system began with the creation of the sun after an exploding supernova caused spherical accumulation of dust particles and gas in a huge swirling cloud called nebula. Planets and other components of the solar system formed in the flat plane of the rotating disc of dust.

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