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The Solar System

The solar system consists of the Sun, the nine planets and their satellites (or moons), and thousands of other smaller heavenly bodies such as asteroids, comets and meteors. The solar system is dominated by the Sun. The Sun accounts for almost 99.9% of the matter in the whole solar system. The sun is at the centre of the solar system and all these bodies are revolving around it. The gravitational pull of the Sun keeps all the planets and other objects revolving round it. Thus, the motion of all the members of the solar system is governed mainly by the gravitational force of the Sun.

The Sun is also the source of all the energy in the solar system. For example, our own earth receives almost all its energy (heat and light) from the Sun. We are fortunate that the heat energy which the earth receives from the Sun is just of the right amount to keep water in the liquid form. This is because the presence of water is essential for the evolution and existence of life on earth. Since the Sun is so essential for the evolution and propagation of life on the Earth, it is worshipped by Man as a god (Surya Dev). Our Rigvedam which is perhaps the oldest scripture of mankind, has many hymns (shloka) in praise of Surya Dev.



Did you know ?


Till 2006 there were nine planets in the solar system. Pluto was the farthest planet from the Sun.In 2006, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) adopted a new definition of a planet. Pluto does not fit this definition. It is no longer a planet of the solar system.


Satellites (Or Moons)

A satellite (or moon) is a solid heavenly body that revolves around a planet. The moon revolves round the Earth, so moon is a natural satellite of earth. Apart from the earth, six other planets have satellites. These are: Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, Mars and Pluto. The planet Saturn has the maximum number of 30 satellites (or 30 moons: Jupiter has 28, Uranus has 21, Neptune has 8, Mars has 2, Earth has 1 and Pluto has also 1 satellite (or moon). Mercury and Venus are the only two planets which do not have satellites (or moons revolving around them. The satellites have no light of their own. They shine because they reflect the light of the sun. We will now describe the earth’s satellite ‘moon’ in detail. It should be noted that though we commonly call earth’s natural satellite as moon, the satellites of all other planets can also be called their moons.


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