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The hemispheric view of Venus, as revealed by more than a decade of radar investigations culminating in the 1990-1994 Magellan mission, is centered at 180 degrees east longitude. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS.

Here are some interesting facts about our solar system:

  • The Sun contains 99.86% of the mass in the solar system. It is 73% hydrogen and the rest is a mixture of helium, oxygen and carbon.

 

  • If Jupiter — the largest planet in our solar system with a mass that is 318 times that of Earth’s — had any more mass, it would actually become smaller in size. Additional mass would make the planet denser and so it would start pulling in on itself.

 

  • Venus rotates in a clockwise direction — opposite to that of all the other planets in the solar system. Hence on Venus, the sun rises in the west.

 

  •  Saturn — one of the gas giants and the second largest planet in the solar system — is

    Orbiter Cassini captured a series of images that have been composed into this large global natural color view of Saturn and its rings. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute.

    less dense than water, which would make it float on it. If you could find that big a body of water, that is.

 

  • The rusty, red planet Mars has the tallest mountain in the solar system. This mountain, known as Olympus Mons, is a volcano. It is 15 miles high, which is three times the height of Mt. Everest.

 

  • It takes Neptune 165 years to complete one revolution around the sun. This planet has yet to finish a full orbit since its discovery in 1846.

 

  • Saturn is famous for the bright and colorful rings around it, which are comprised of gas, dust, possibly chunks of ice and particles of dust. But did you know that there are rings around all the other gas giants (Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune) in the solar system, too?

 

  • Mercury and Venus are the only two planets that have no satellites, or moons, revolving around them. In comparison, Jupiter is known to have around 63 of them.

 

  • Pluto, the “dwarf planet”, is comprised of half rock and half ice, and if it were any closer to the sun, it would be a comet.

 

  • Mercury rotates slowly on its axis. It completes one rotation every 59 Earth days. As a result of the planet’s slow rotation on its axis and rapid movement around the sun, a day on Mercury — that is, the interval between one sunrise and the next — lasts about 180 Earth days.

Aren’t you glad you are part of this amazing system, even if only in the capacity of a very small spectator?

Water-ice clouds, polar ice, polar regions and geological features can be seen in this full-disk image of Mars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL.

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