Solar system Definition and 34 Discussions

The Solar System is the gravitationally bound system of the Sun and the objects that orbit it, either directly or indirectly. Of the objects that orbit the Sun directly, the largest are the eight planets, with the remainder being smaller objects, the dwarf planets and small Solar System bodies. Of the objects that orbit the Sun indirectly—the natural satellites—two are larger than the smallest planet, Mercury.The Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant interstellar molecular cloud. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun, with the majority of the remaining mass contained in Jupiter. The four smaller inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, are terrestrial planets, being primarily composed of rock and metal. The four outer planets are giant planets, being substantially more massive than the terrestrials. The two largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, are gas giants, being composed mainly of hydrogen and helium; the two outermost planets, Uranus and Neptune, are ice giants, being composed mostly of substances with relatively high melting points compared with hydrogen and helium, called volatiles, such as water, ammonia and methane. All eight planets have almost circular orbits that lie within a nearly flat disc called the ecliptic.
The Solar System also contains smaller objects. The asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, mostly contains objects composed, like the terrestrial planets, of rock and metal. Beyond Neptune's orbit lie the Kuiper belt and scattered disc, which are populations of trans-Neptunian objects composed mostly of ices, and beyond them a newly discovered population of sednoids. Within these populations, some objects are large enough to have rounded under their own gravity, though there is considerable debate as to how many there will prove to be. Such objects are categorized as dwarf planets. The only certain dwarf planet is Pluto, with another trans-Neptunian object, Eris, expected to be, and the asteroid Ceres at least close to being a dwarf planet. In addition to these two regions, various other small-body populations, including comets, centaurs and interplanetary dust clouds, freely travel between regions. Six of the planets, the six largest possible dwarf planets, and many of the smaller bodies are orbited by natural satellites, usually termed "moons" after the Moon. Each of the outer planets is encircled by planetary rings of dust and other small objects.
The solar wind, a stream of charged particles flowing outwards from the Sun, creates a bubble-like region in the interstellar medium known as the heliosphere. The heliopause is the point at which pressure from the solar wind is equal to the opposing pressure of the interstellar medium; it extends out to the edge of the scattered disc. The Oort cloud, which is thought to be the source for long-period comets, may also exist at a distance roughly a thousand times further than the heliosphere. The Solar System is located in the Orion Arm, 26,000 light-years from the center of the Milky Way galaxy.

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  1. TheJP78

    Building a Solar System simulation with python

    Hey'all. First of all, I'm not fluent in English, so forgive me for the spelling mistakes. So, I'm trying to make a simulation of a solar system using python 3.9. It's not complicated, but my teacher wants me to do it using the Basic Verlet method, and that's what is bugging me. He told me do do...
  2. yucheng

    I Issue with Stellarium: transit of Venus (find the parallax)

    These are the two snapshot (on Stellarium) of the Third Contact between Venus and the Sun at the same time at different locations on Earth. The top image is viewd from Quito, Ecuador, the bottom image is from Harrisburg. I am supposed to determine the parallax. The angles were calculated using...
  3. G

    I Planetary Formation

    I'm very much an amateur with a keen interest in space/the universe and it occurred to me the other day that our solar system could have been formed in exactly the same way that it is hypothesised that the Moon/Earth system formed through the (proposed) collision of Theia and the proto-Earth...
  4. J

    Stargazing Planetary orbits -- Why do planets orbit at same “level”?

    Why is it that all of the planets in our solar system (to our knowledge) orbit the sun in such a way that they all go around the sun in roughly similar orbital planes? Why don’t we have planets with orbital planes at significantly different angles?
  5. xpell

    B How hard is it to detect extinct comets?

    Hi! I have read that cometary nuclei have a very low albedo, even lower than coal or asphalt. Because of this, they absorb lots of light and heat rather than reflecting them. So I was wondering how hard is it to detect extinct comets. Could the solar system be full of dead nuclei buzzing around...
  6. Comeback City

    I Angular Momentum in a Solar Nebula

    Hello all! Hope everyone's been doing well! My question relates to the nebular theory of solar system formation. It is generally accepted that via the nebular hypothesis, matter in a nebula contracts on its own gravity and begins to spin, but I'm having trouble understanding why it must begin...
  7. Jozefina Gramatikova

    Comp Sci Python: Simulation of the Solar System and Total energy

    Homework Statement I have a project to make the Solar system on Python, which I have done, but they also require from us to calculate the total energy of the system. We don't have to make the orbits of the planets elliptical, they should be circular and I believe I made them like that. Since...
  8. Jozefina Gramatikova

    Python Programming the Solar System

    I have a project to make the solar system. I am trying to start from somwhere. On the notes it says that we need to start by creating a System of Particles Two-body simulation (Circular motion) Implement Gravitational acceleration Each particle (planet) could have its own field. I.e. Each...
  9. S

    I Calculate Voyager trajectory using JPL data

    Hey everyone, I've recently programmed an animated simulation of the main elements (core planets and Sun) of our solar system: by using the initial coordinates from the JPL database, and then calculating the combined gravitational perturbations and the relativistic effects from the Sun...
  10. M

    I Orbit simulations, tidal forces and planetary oblateness

    How does one correct for tidal forces when (classically) simulating the orbits of solar system bodies?
  11. R

    Comp Sci Velocity Verlet applied to solar system with C++

    Homework Statement Hello, I am attempting to use the velocity Verlet algorithm of integration applied to the solar system in c++. My goal is be able to use the outputted position components in a plot to see if the trajectory of my object is elliptical/parabolic/hyperbolic resulting from the...
  12. shihab-kol

    B Expansion of stars

    I read in some books that as the sun approaches the end of the fusion process(the complete one) , it will expand and engulf some of the inner planets. But why will it expand?
  13. D

    B Understanding the probability cloud?

    I understand that the concept of a atom resembling a solar system is disregarded as being untrue because this is based on the Bohr model which doesn't represent how an electron would actually appear in its probability cloud. However, would it be possible that if there were an observer on the...
  14. J

    Can you change a planet's orbit by reducing its velocity?

    My question is, take Mars, say, and install a huge rocket engine on the ground pointing out the planet (obviously) and in the opposite direction of its velocity, so that if it is turned on, the planet is slowed. The rocket starts to work and Mars is slowed. If the loss of velocity goes little by...
  15. M

    C/C++ Velocity Verlet C++ implementation

    I have been working on implementing a solar system system simulator in C++ - but am getting incorrect results on the order of 10^10 km, and it seems that the planets are moving directly away from the sun. I suspect that there is a mistake in the integrator (Velocity Verlet) that I have posted...
  16. M

    I Solar system simulation -- Significant deviation of some Jovian moons

    I am working on a simulation of the solar system, but I am having problems with the orbits with Europa and Io shown in the image below, the orbits of Jupiter, Ganymede and Callisto are consistent with NASA's simulations. For all bodies I have used identical parameters in generating the initial...
  17. M

    I Solar system simulation errors

    Hi, as a side project I am making a solar system simulator in Python, but I am getting extreme inaccuracies. As the image shows - I am comparing the simulation to data obtained from NASA's Horizon. I have written a a basic Verlet integrator in the Python class posten below: import numpy as...
  18. Solomei

    B Our solar system and its fellows

    Hello, I am new to this forum, so be brutal :) So, I've tried to find information about Earth's origin. The nebula, cluster we are a part of etc. but i could not find the answer I was looking for. For me, it seems logical that we are a part of a cluster. How often do we find a star whos just...
  19. J

    A Series of Exoplanets in Our Solar System

    In this alternate universe, Earth is the same as back home--8,000 miles wide, 25,000 around, six sextillion tons, orbiting a G-type main-sequence star from a distance of 93 million miles. But here, the similarities end. MOON DIAMETER--3,273 miles MASS--0.025x that of Earth DISTANCE FROM...
  20. JayFlynn

    MATLAB Plotting the tragectory of an asteroid in MATLAB

    I am trying to plot the trajectory of an asteroid in MATLAB using ode23. The only bodies in the system are The Sun, Earth, Mars and Jupiter and their orbital data has been loaded from data files. I have picked arbitrary initial conditions for the asteroid and believe my forces are correct. My...
  21. J

    Writing: Input Wanted Eleven Inner Planets--What Will Earth's Ice Ages Be Like?

    A Milankovitch cycle is defined in Universe Today as "a cyclical movement related to the Earth’s orbit around the Sun." There are three elements to a Milankovitch cycle that affects the amount of solar heat and with it, the Earth's climate: Eccentricity (Orbital Shape)--The elliptical shape...
  22. W

    Stargazing [just for fun] Planet Definition

    So I'm reading in the news and a group of scientists from the New Horizons missions appear to be reopening "The Pluto Debate" with yet another new definition of planet at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in March:rolleyes:. If accepted their definition of planet would increase the...
  23. V

    Kepler's first law for any body

    I was just wondering, what if an object is placed in our solar system, will it revolve around the sun? If yes, will it have a centripetal acceleration too?
  24. E

    I Solar System Origins: Angular Momentum Problem?

    Hi guys, This is basically a quick question to hopefully find some pointers on a topic I've been browsing the internet on to not much success. Basically the topic I'm trying to find more information on is the angular momentum problem with the "nebular hypothesis" of the formation of our solar...
  25. A

    I Great oppositions of Mars

    Why do the Great oppositions of Mars always happen at the same time of the year? What is that time?
  26. A

    I How can inhabitants of moon guess of its revolution

    How can inhabitants of the far side of moon guess that the moon is revolving around the earth?
  27. Philosophaie

    LaGrangian Points, L1,L2, L3 and L4

    Looking for a Book on the LaGrangian Points solution in an Eigen System calculation for all the Planets.
  28. sami_m

    The probable trajectory of the ninth planet in night sky?

    What would be the propable trajectory and position of the ninth planet that has been suggested few days ago (20.1.2016 by Konstantin Batygin and Michael E. Brown) ? if i understood correctly, the exact position of the planet is unknown and has not been evaluated. But by looking this article...
  29. caters

    Kepler Bb and its solar system

    Solar system: Double binary star(2 binary stars in a quadruple star system) Kepler A: A big blue star. It is bigger than all the other stars in the double binary system. It will however last longer than our sun just like the other 3 stars will. Kepler B: This is a green star(The green star...
  30. J

    Contributions to Earth's orbit

    If one writes down the Newton's equations of motion for the Earth, the forces that act on the Earth are the gravitational forces exerted by all other massive bodies, such as the Sun, the Moon, the planets etc. The largest of these forces is that of the Sun: keeping into account only the Sun's...
  31. A

    Euler's Method and Planetary Motion

    Homework Statement Hi there, I wish to use Newton's Laws in conjunction with Euler's Method to model the motion of a planet around a star. Homework Equations 2nd Law F = m*a Law of Universal Gravitation F = -G*M1*M2/r^2 The Attempt at a Solution [/B] First I combined the two laws...
  32. JohnPrior3

    The Death of the Sun

    So I am working on making a simulation that shows the habitable zone of our solar system from now until our sun reaches the end of it's red giant phase. The sun will die when it is 10 billion years old and will reach the end of the red giant stage at 5 billion years. I know the habitable zone...
  33. Q

    Sublimation temperature of water in vacuum = 150K ?

    I am trying to find references for the the Wikipedia article Frost line (astrophysics) I am having a hard time finding a reference for the "Sublimation temperature of water in vacuum" that is used for calculation of the current snow line. E.g.: I have found 150K in several places, without any...
  34. N

    Planetary orbits viewed by a relativistic observer

    Suppose an observer flies through our solar system at ##v \approx c## relative to the Sun, such that he sees each planet's (and the sun's) mass as greatly increased. What happens to the orbits of the planets? Since he sees the center of mass of the solar system as flying past him at ##v \approx...