The star of our solar system is a huge ball of hot, glowing gases. At about 333,000 times the mass of Earth, the sun contains about 99.8 percent of all the mass in the solar system. Heat and light from this average-size star travel a mean distance of 92.96 million miles(149.6 million kilometers) to reach Earth and support all life on our planet.
Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun in our Solar System. This small, rocky planet has almost no atmosphere. Mercury has a very elliptical orbit and a huge range in temperature. During the long day time the temperature is hotter than and oven; during the long night, the temperature is colder than a freezer.
Venus is the second planet from the sun in our solar system. This planet is covered with fast-moving sulphuric acid clouds which trap heat from the Sun. Its thick atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide. Venus has an iron core but only a very weak magnetic field.
Jupiter is the fifth largest planet in our Solar System. This gas giant has a thick atmosphere, 39 known moons, and a dark, barely-visible ring. Its most prominent features are bands across its latitudes and a great red spot.
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun in our Solar System. It is the second largest planet in our Solar System. It has beautiful rings that are made mostly of ice chunks that range in size from the size of a fingernail to the size of a car. Saturn is made mostly of hydrogen and helium gas.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun in our solar system. This huge, icy planet is covered with clouds and is encircled by a belt of 11 rings and 22 known moons. Uranus’ blue colour is caused by the methane in its atmosphere; this molecules absorbs red light.
Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun in our solar system. This giant, frigid planet has a hazy atmosphere and strong winds. This gas giant is orbited by eight moons and narrow, faint rings arranged in clumps. Neptune's blue color is caused by the methane in its atmosphere; this molecule absorbs red light.
Pluto is a dwarf planet that usually orbits past the orbit of Neptune. It was classified as a dwarf planet in 2006; before that it was considered to be a planet, the smallest planet in our solar system. Pluto is smaller than a lot of the other planets' moons, including our moon. Pluto is the only "planet" in our solar system that has not been visited by our spacecraft yet. We only have blurry pictures of its surface; even the orbiting the Earth can only get grainy photos because Pluto is so far from us. In 2015, a spacecraft called New Horizons (launched by NASA in 2006) will visit Pluto.
The moon is Earth’s only natural satellite. The moon is a cold, dry orb whose surface is studded with craters and strewn with rocks and dust. The moon has no atmosphere. Recent lunar missions indicate that there might be some frozen ice at the poles.