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The Solar System

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The solar system at least 7 billion miles across, home to 8 planets, 166 moons and billions of asteroids, comets and meteorites. But in galactic terms, this is our local neighbourhood. Today stop back at 4.6 billion years old is the Solar System. Its planets, including our own Earth, formed up and left over after the birth of the sun. Amazingly, these eight massive celestial bodies grew up of tiny specks of dust orbiting the new star. Time and again the young planets collided with masses, eventually reaching spherical and bigger sizes. The sun´s gravity then locked them in orbit. The solar system is divided in the two distinct regions: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars make up the inner Solar System. While Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune make up the outer Solar System. The four planets of the outer Solar System make up 99% of the known mass orbiting the sun. It was in the extern region, the outer Solar System, that in the year 2006 astronomy was shaken to its very core. After almost 80 years Pluto lost its status as the ninth planet. The International Astronomic Union could not ignore the findings that similar, even larger bodies than Pluto, were part of the outer solar system. Astronomers established three distinct criteria to run the name planet: 1. The planet must orbit the sun 2. It must have sufficient gravity to maintain a planet spherical shape. Finally, after millions of collisions, the body must to clear away other objects from its own orbit neighbourhood. This last point is where Pluto fails so it has been demoted to dwarf planet and joined two other dwarf planets, Eres and Ceris. Astronomers believe there may be as many as 42 dwarf planets in our Solar System. Pluto and beyond is not simply the beginning of endless open space but the inner edge of a gigantic region filled of asteroids, comets and meteorites. Billions of miles beyond our Sun is the Kuiper Belt, an area larger than our entire planetary system. It is home to most of our Solar System´s comets, icy flying rocks. There are more than 3.350 known comets in our solar system. Further out still is the scattered disk, a belt of strangely orbiting objects, often small and icy minor planets. Finally we reach the heliosphere, an immense magnetic bubble which forms the very outer edge of the Solar System. This area is the boundary between our Solar System and interstellar winds. The boundary between our own neighbourhood and the great specks of the interstellar space. For us the Solar System seems enormous, its distances almost beyond comprehension. But incredibly it is just a tiny corner of the Milky way galaxy. Still, despite overwhelming odds, we humans are settled out on a journey of exploration. We are sending one spacecraft after another into the furthest regions of the solar system, all request to understand our place in the universe and the mystery of the great beyond.

Video Details

Duration: 4 minutes and 19 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 70
Posted by: victor.jl on Nov 3, 2013

The solar system and its planets, satellites, etc.

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