Our Solar System's Formation
Approximately 4.6 billion years ago, the solar system formed from a giant molecular cloud. The Sun, planets, and other bodies coalesced from a solar nebula, a rotating disk of gas and dust.
Sun's Overwhelming Dominance
The Sun holds 99.86% of the solar system's mass, with Jupiter containing most of the remaining mass. This immense gravity anchors planets, dwarf planets, moons, and asteroids in their orbits.
Mercury's Molten Core
Mercury, the solar system's smallest planet, has a surprisingly large molten core. Comprising 85% of the planet's radius, it generates a magnetic field, a trait not found in Venus, Earth's closer counterpart.
Venus' Extreme Weather
Venus experiences crushing atmospheric pressure 92 times greater than Earth's and temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Its thick clouds of sulfuric acid create a runaway greenhouse effect.
Mars' Water Wonders
Mars boasts the largest volcano and the deepest, longest canyon in the solar system. Olympus Mons towers at three times the height of Everest, and Valles Marineris stretches over 4,000 kilometers.
Jupiter's Unknown Core
Jupiter's core is a mystery; it's unclear if it's a solid rocky core or a dense mixture of elements. Juno's mission data suggests it may be partially dissolved, challenging previous notions.
Saturn's Icy Rings
Saturn's rings are primarily composed of water ice mixed with dust and other chemicals. Despite being 280,000 km in diameter, they are only about 10 meters thick, incredibly thin relative to their width.