Interesting Facts: The Solar System

Part 1. The Solar System is the name used to refer to the collection of celestial objects connected to the Sun, which includes the eight planets, 165 recognized moons, three dwarf planets (Pluto, Ceres, and Eris with their four known moons), and billions of smaller bodies. Throughout the Solar System, asteroids, meteoroids, comets, and other substances are contained within. In this article, you will encounter a collection of facts dealing with this topic, including tidbits of information on ancient beliefs and solar flares.

The Greek philosopher named Anaxagoaras believed that the sun was not just a simple “glowing circle of light.” He thought that the sun was actually glowing rock that was larger than Peloponneses, which landed him exile from Athens. All of this took place in 435 BC.

Joining helium and hydrogen, the Sun is comprised of carbon, nitrogen, and small amounts of other gases.

Scientists believe that the Solar System evolved out of a giant cloud of dust and gas. They feel that over time, this dust and gas started to collapse under the weight of its own gravity, thus producing a giant rotating circle. In the middle of the spinning cloud, a small star started to develop. As the star grew in size, it gathered more dust and gas that it was actually collapsing into it. At a distance from the star, smaller collections of dust and gas were also collapsing. The center star would eventually ignite into what would become the Sun. The additional clumps of matter would later blossom into the planets, less significant planets, moons, comets, and asteroids.

Solar flares can extend more than 100,000 miles away from the sun. Solar flares are the result of the churning motion of the Sun, which ejects huge streams of gas into the atmosphere of the Sun.

Aristarchus, a Greek scientist thought that the motions of the heavenly bodies were best understood if they believed that all of the planets (including the Earth) revolved around the sun and that the stars were rather far from view because they seemed to never move. Once Copernicus caught wind of Aristarchus’ views, he made notice of them in a passage called DeRevolutionibus Orbium Coelestium. He would later eliminate this theory, as he did not want to taint his own original thoughts.

Around 290 BC, Aristarchus of Samos would become the first Greek astronomer to suggest that the sun was the center of the Solar System. No one paid attention to his claims and unfortunately, his writing are no longer with us. The only way people connect the dots to Aristarchus is that Archimedes wrote in his text about the “ridiculous” notion that Aristarchus held.

 How much bigger is the Sun when compared to the Earth? If you thought the Earth was big, then you’ll really be taken aback when you find out that the Sun is 330,000 times larger than our planet.

Hard to believe, but the surface of the Sun is actually much cooler than its atmosphere. The surface of the Sun is 6,000 degrees Celsius, which is the same temperature as the Earth’s core. Once you begin to travel away from the surface of the Sun, the atmosphere increases in heat up to millions of degrees. Scientists are still baffled on how the atmosphere is as hot as it is, while the surface is so much cooler in degrees.