3d solar system orbits viewer


Our solar system is a vast place, with lots of mostly empty tienkiem.com.vn between planets. But out there are comets, asteroids & more rocky, frozen objects (including dwarf planets) yet to lớn be discovered in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud.(Image credit: NASA)The solar system is made up of the sun & everything that orbits around it, including planets, moons, asteroids, comets và meteoroids. It extends from the sun, called Sol by the ancient Romans, & goes past the four inner planets, through the Asteroid Belt to the four gas giants & on lớn the disk-shaped Kuiper Belt and far beyond to lớn the teardrop-shaped heliopause. Scientists estimate that the edge of the solar system is about 9 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) from the sun. Beyond the heliopause lies the giant, spherical Oort Cloud, which is thought khổng lồ surround the solar system.

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For millennia, astronomers have followed points of light that seemed to lớn move among the stars. The ancient Greeks named them planets, meaning “wanderers.” Mercury, Venus, Mars, dòng jupiter and Saturn were known in antiquity, và the invention of the telescope added the Asteroid Belt, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and many of these worlds” moons. The dawn of the tienkiem.com.vn age saw dozens of probes launched lớn explore our system, an adventure that continues today. Only one tienkiem.com.vncraft so far, Voyager 1, has crossed the threshold into interstellar tienkiem.com.vn.

The discovery of Eris kicked off a rash of new discoveries of dwarf planets, và eventually led lớn the International Astronomical Union revising the definition of a “planet.” The revision changed Pluto”s status from planet khổng lồ dwarf planet in 2006, a decision that remains controversial – especially after the New Horizons mission found immense geological variety on the world in 2015.

Astronomers are now hunting for another planet in our solar system, a true ninth planet, after evidence of its existence was unveiled on Jan. 20, 2016. The so-called “Planet Nine,” as scientists are calling it, is about 10 times the mass of Earth and 5,000 times the mass of Pluto.


Many scientists think our solar system formed from a giant, rotating cloud of gas & dust known as the solar nebula. As the nebula collapsed because of its gravity, it spun faster và flattened into a disk. Most of the material was pulled toward the center to form the sun. Other particles within the disk collided and stuck together to khung asteroid-sized objects named as planetesimals, some of which combined khổng lồ become the asteroids, comets, moons and planets.

The solar wind from the sun was so powerful that it swept away most of the lighter elements, such as hydrogen & helium, from the innermost planets, leaving behind mostly small, rocky worlds. The solar wind was much weaker in the outer regions, however, resulting in gas giants made up mostly of hydrogen & helium.

The sun

The sun is by far the largest object in our solar system, containing 99.8 percent of the solar system”s mass. It sheds most of the heat & light that makes life possible on Earth and possibly elsewhere. Planets orbit the sun in oval-shaped paths called ellipses, with the sun slightly off-center of each ellipse. NASA has a fleet of tienkiem.com.vncraft observing the sun to lớn learn more about its composition, và to make better predictions about solar activity & its effect on Earth.

Inner solar system

The four inner four planets — Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars — are made up mostly of iron và rock. They are known as terrestrial or earthlike planets because of their similar kích thước and composition. Earth has one natural satellite — the moon — & Mars has two moons — Deimos và Phobos.

Between Mars and jupiter lies the Asteroid Belt. Asteroids are minor planets, and scientists estimate there are more than 750,000 of them with diameters larger than three-fifths of a mile (1 km) & millions of smaller asteroids. The dwarf planet Ceres, about 590 miles (950 km) in diameter, resides here. A number of asteroids have orbits that take them closer into the solar system that sometimes lead them lớn collide with Earth or the other inner planets.

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Earth is surrounded by a flotilla of tienkiem.com.vncraft, và Mars has been visited by many tienkiem.com.vncraft as well. Some of the more prominent Martian missions include the Curiosity rover, the Opportunity và Spirit rovers, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (which takes high-resolution pictures from orbit), và the Viking landers and rovers. Venus has been explored by American, European và Soviet tienkiem.com.vncraft over the decades. Mercury has been host lớn several flybys & two-long term missions: MESSENGER (now concluded) & BepiColombo (expected to launch in 2018).

Outer solar system

The outer planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus & Neptune — are giant worlds with thick outer layers of gas. Between these planets, they have dozens of moons with a variety of compositions, ranging from rocky lớn icy lớn even volcanic (such as in the case of Jupiter”s Io.) Nearly all the planets” mass is made up of hydrogen and helium, giving them compositions like that of the sun. Beneath these outer layers, they have no solid surfaces — the pressure from their thick atmospheres liquefy their insides, although they might have rocky cores. Rings of dust, rock, và ice encircle all these giants, with Saturn”s being the most famous.

Comets are often known as dirty snowballs, & consist mainly of ice & rock. When a comet”s orbit takes it close khổng lồ the sun, some of the ice in its central nucleus turns into gas that shoots out of the comet”s sunlit side, which the solar wind carries outward to khung into a long tail. Short-period comets that complete their orbits in less than 200 years are thought to originate from the disk-shaped Kuiper Belt, while long-period comets that take more than 200 years to return are thought to come from the spherical Oort Cloud.

Jupiter & Saturn have each been visited by several tienkiem.com.vncraft, & were also host khổng lồ long-term missions including Juno and Galileo at Jupiter, & Cassini at Saturn. Uranus & Neptune, however, have only been seen during one tienkiem.com.vncraft flyby — that of Voyager 2 in the 1980s. Some scientists are working on creating a Uranus or Neptune orbiter to fly there in the 2030s or so. Scientists vì chưng observations from the ground as well, to lớn track the long-term changes in weather và cloud formations in the gas giants.


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Trans-Neptunian region

Astronomers had long suspected that a band of icy material known as the Kuiper Belt existed past the orbit of Neptune extending from about 30 lớn 55 times the distance of Earth khổng lồ the sun, and from the last decade of the 20th century up to lớn now, they have found more than a thousand of such objects. Scientists estimate the Kuiper Belt is likely trang chủ to hundreds of thousands of icy bodies larger than 60 miles (100 km) wide, as well as an estimated trillion or more comets.

Pluto, now considered a dwarf planet, dwells in the Kuiper Belt. It is not alone — recent additions include Makemake, Haumea & Eris. Another Kuiper Belt object dubbed Quaoar is probably massive enough to lớn be considered a dwarf planet, but it has not been classified as such yet. Sedna, which is about three-fourths the size of Pluto, is the first dwarf planet discovered in the Oort Cloud. NASA”s New Horizons mission performed history”s first flyby of the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, & continues to explore the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons will fly by the object năm trước MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019. New Horizons” Pluto Flyby: Latest News, Images và Video>

If Planet Nine exists, it orbits the sun at a distance that is đôi mươi times farther out than the orbit of Neptune. (The orbit of Neptune is 2.7 billion miles from the sun at its closest point.) The strange world”s orbit is about 600 times farther from the sun than the Earth”s orbit is from the star. Scientists have not actually seen Planet Nine directly, and some astronomers debate its existence, which was inferred by its gravitational effects on other objects in the Kuiper Belt.

Past the Kuiper Belt is the very edge of the solar system, the heliosphere, a vast, teardrop-shaped region of tienkiem.com.vn containing electrically charged particles given off by the sun. Many astronomers think that the limit of the heliosphere, known as the heliopause, is about 9 billion miles (15 billion km) from the sun.

The Oort Cloud lies well past the Kuiper Belt, and theoretically extends between 5 and 100,000 astronomical units (AU), the distance between the sun & Earth (about 93,000,000 miles or 150 million kilometers), và is home toup khổng lồ 2 trillion icy bodies, according khổng lồ NASA.

Additional reporting by Nola Taylor Redd, tienkiem.com.vn Contributor

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