Solar means ‘relating to Sun’. Our Solar system is called so because everything is related to the sun. Planets are positioned where they are because of the sun. Why so? Sun is enormous. Bigger the object is larger is its gravity (a pulling force). Sun has immense gravity that pulls all the objects in the solar system towards it. But on the other hand, these objects are also pulled in the opposite direction by outer space. As a result, all planets stay put somewhere in between and revolve around the sun. Solar system is not just limited to planets. It also includes moons, asteroids, comets… and many more celestial objects!!
Solar system has eight planets. They are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. Mercury is closest and Neptune is farthest from the Sun. Until sometime back, Pluto was considered a planet as well but not anymore. It is now a dwarf planet.
These planets revolve around the sun typically in an elliptical path called the orbit. All of them travel in same direction. All planets take different time to complete one orbit around the sun. A complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun takes 365.256363 days. We call it an year on Earth. Jupiter completes an orbit around the sun every 11.86 years of Earth! Wow!
Solar system is divided into two parts.
Inner solar system – is made up of four planets that are closest to the sun. Can you guess? They are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars in the order of their proximity to sun. These planets are mainly composed of rock and metal.
Outer solar system – is made up of the remaining five planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. These planets, except Pluto are massive and made up of gases. Therefore, they are also known as gas giants.
The Inner and outer solar system are separated by an Asteroid belt. It is located somewhere between the orbits of the planets Mars and Jupiter. It is occupied by numerous irregularly shaped bodies called asteroids or minor planets.