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From ancient times the night sky has been a point of interest for humanity. Astronomers have examined it and they have discovered a lot of interesting solar system facts. Our solar system is over 4,6 billion years old. It is home to eight planets, their natural satellites as well as to other cosmic bodies. For a more thorough understanding, it has been divided into two areas: the inner solar system and the outer solar system.

The inner solar system is composed of four major celestial bodies : Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. These planets are classified as terrestrial due to their rocky surface. Another important part of the inner solar system is the asteroid belt. It is found on the orbit between Jupiter and mars and it is believed to be a residue from the solar system’s formation. Although it is composed of uncountable asteroids the total mass of it is quite small . The largest and most studied asteroid is called Ceres. When it was first discovered it was considered to be a planet. Following further studies its status was reconsider and ultimately it was classified as a dwarf planet.

The outer solar system planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Unlike the terrestrial sisters, these last planets are refereed to as gas giants. Another distinct characteristic of the these four giant celestial bodies are the rings surrounding them. Jupiter and Saturn are the most massive planets and are mostly composed of helium and hydrogen. The distinct characteristic of Uranus and Neptune is the icy exterior. Until the year 2006 , Pluto was considered the ninth planet but after some thorough studies and intense debates it became a dwarf planet.

Most of the planets were discovered even before the invention of the telescope. Uranus and Neptune were the last ones to be discovered if we don’t count dwarf planet Pluto. Nowadays technology has allowed humans to study the system in a more detailed manner and a lot of groundbreaking discoveries have been made. One of the many interesting solar system facts is that almost all planets and a few other celestial bodies posses an atmosphere. Pluto’s atmosphere is the most peculiar one. When Pluto is close to the sun its blanket of gasses is quite thin but when travels to the far side of its orbit, the atmosphere freezes and then proceeds to fall on the dwarf planet’s surface.

Although humans are fascinated by all discoveries made in the astronomical department, the main purpose for studying the universe is to discover other life forms. We have come a long way since the beginning of astronomy. We have discovered that earth is not the center of the universe. It is but a small planet in our solar system, which is one of the many in our galaxy. Learning more solar system facts can help us understand our cosmic neighborhood and we hope to one day be able to answer existential questions about the origins of life.

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