Our Galactic Backyard

By Google Arts & Culture

The New Solar System (2000-11-06) by NASA/JPL/ASUNASA

There are many planetary systems like ours in the universe, with planets orbiting a host star. Our planetary system is called “the solar system” because we use the word “solar” to describe things related to our star, after the Latin word for Sun, "solis."

Our Solar System Features Eight Planets (2008-11-19) by NASA/JPLNASA

Our solar system consists of our star, the Sun, and everything bound to it by gravity – the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune; dwarf planets such as Pluto; dozens of moons; and millions of asteroids, comets, and meteoroids.

Mercury


The smallest planet in our solar system and nearest to the Sun, Mercury is only slightly larger than Earth's Moon.

Despite its proximity to the Sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet in our solar system – that title belongs to nearby Venus, thanks to its dense atmosphere.

Venus

Venus is the second planet from the Sun and is Earth’s closest planetary neighbor. It’s one of the four inner, terrestrial (or rocky) planets, and it’s often called Earth’s twin because it’s similar in size and density.

Earth


Our home planet is the third planet from the Sun, and the only place we know of so far that’s inhabited by living things.

Mars

​Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun – a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. Mars is also a dynamic planet with seasons, polar ice caps, canyons, extinct volcanoes, and evidence that it was even more active in the past.

Jupiter

Jupiter has a long history of surprising scientists – all the way back to 1610 when Galileo Galilei found the first moons beyond Earth. That discovery changed the way we see the universe

Saturn

Adorned with thousands of beautiful ringlets, Saturn is unique among the planets. It is not the only planet to have rings – made of chunks of ice and rock – but none are as spectacular or as complicated as Saturn's.

Uranus

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, and has the third-largest diameter in our solar system. It was the first planet found with the aid of a telescope, Uranus was discovered in 1781 by astronomer William Herschel.

Neptune

Dark, cold, and whipped by supersonic winds, ice giant Neptune is the eighth and most distant planet in our solar system.

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