What Is in the Solar System?

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The solar system includes all celestial bodies that are pulled in by the Sun’s gravitational force, including the eight planets, dwarf planets, comets, asteroids, meteors, meteorites, moons, the Kuiper belt and the Oort cloud. Various gases and dust particles also exist within the solar system.

The solar system contains eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. It includes an unknown number of dwarf planets, including Eris, Ceres, Pluto, Makemake and Haumea.

Most asteroids are found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. They are rocks that originated with the formation of the solar system but did not join with larger bodies. Scientists know that the solar system contains at least 0.5 million asteroids and likely many more. Meteoroids are smaller than asteroids and float through space. They are frequently referred to as space debris. When a meteor enters the atmosphere of a planet and begins to burn up, it is called either a meteorite or shooting star.

Comets are large pieces of debris that orbit around the Sun. One of the most famous comets is Halley’s Comet. The Kuiper Belt lies beyond Neptune and is composed of many small, icy objects. The Oort Cloud is similar and lies even farther away than the Kuiper belt, delineating the edge of the solar system.

The solar system was formed from debris that remained after the development of the sun, according to Space Telescope Science Institute. Rotation mixed with gas, dust and other particles to form the planets, moons and other elements. The debris remained in the sun’s orbit to create the solar system. Scientists estimate that the solar system is almost 5 billion years old.