Our solar system consists of eight planets, the dwarf planet Pluto and some more as well as thousands of asteroids and our mighty power plant – the sun. If you consider the interesting facts we already found on earth, you get an impression of what can be discovered in the whole solar system. For example, did you know that a day on venus is longer than a year? So be prepared for 81 amazing facts about our solar system.
1. The “Great Red Spot” on Jupiter is a large high-pressure area twice the size of the Earth. It is the largest hurricane in the solar system and is believed to have existed for over 400 years. Want to read more about Jupiter? Check out our Jupiter facts!
2. Scientists assume that Venus once offered Earth-like conditions and even had oceans. However, the extreme greenhouse effect caused a sharp rise in temperature, so that the water finally evaporated.
3. Around four billion years ago Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere.
4. On Jupiter’s moon Europa, there is probably an ocean under a thick layer of ice that holds more water than the oceans of the Earth combined. Scientists believe it may even contain microbes.
5. The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth meaning the Moon rotates around on its own axis in exactly the same time it takes to orbit the Earth. As a result, the Moon always shows Earth on the same side.
6. Most of the moons orbiting around Uranus are named after characters that appeared in the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Those named after characters from Shakespeare include Titania, Oberon and Puck from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Ariel and Miranda from “The Tempest”.
7. The rings of Saturn consist of thousands of ringlets.
8. Saturn’s rings consist of ice, dust and stone. While some components are only as large as grains of sand, others are up to more than half a mile (one kilometer) in diameter.
9. More than one million planet Earths would fit inside of the sun. The sun is an object that is so impressive that we really had to research more facts about the sun.
10. On Venus, a day is shorter than a year. Because of its low rotational speed, it takes longer to rotate on its own axis than to orbit the Sun.
11. Geographical features on Mars are named in a special way. Craters that are smaller than 30 miles (50 kilometers) are named for towns and villages of the world with a population of less than 100,000 people whereas craters larger than 30 miles are named for deceased scientists and writers who have contributed to the study of Mars. Large valleys are named for the word “star” or “Mars” in various languages and small valleys are named for rivers.
12. In the core of Jupiter, it is hotter than on the solar surface.
13. With 82 moons, Saturn has most moons in our solar system. Jupiter is second with 79 moons.
15. Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system. With a diameter of 3,273 miles (5,268 kilometers) it is even larger than the planet Mercury.
16. Our solar system is estimated to be 4.6 billion years old.
17. Mercury has a tail of rock particles. Scientists are still unsure, how to explain that phenomenon.
18. Although the moon is not the largest satellite in the solar system it is the biggest in relation to the planet it orbits.
19. There is water ice on Mercury.
20. Since 2006 Pluto is officially no longer a planet since the dwarf planet Eris was discovered in 2005. Although it is slightly smaller than Pluto, it is more massive. This led to a revision of the planet definition, which then no longer applied to Pluto. Because scientists assumed that in the future further planets of this size could be discovered.
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21. 100,000,000,000 tons of dynamite would have to be detonated every second to match the energy produced by the sun.
22. Scientists suspect that Jupiter has the largest ocean in the solar system and its depth exceeds the diameter of the Earth. However, it does not consist of water, but of liquid hydrogen, which behaves partly like liquid metal due to the enormous pressure.
23. Mercury was hit by a giant asteroid an estimated four billion years ago. It left a Texas-sized crater – the Caloris Basin. It is 950 miles (1,525 kilometers) wide.
24. The atmospheric pressure on Venus is 92 times higher than on Earth.
25. Pluto is the largest and brightest object of the Kuiper Belt, a ring of frozen bodies surrounding the solar system.
26. A year, one circumnavigation of the sun, takes only 88 days on Mercury.
27. The lowest temperature recorded on Uranus was -371 °F (-224 °C) making it the coldest planet in the solar system.
28. Because of its elliptical orbit, the distance from Pluto to the Sun varies between 30 and 50 times the distance from the Sun to Earth. Thus, the thin atmosphere of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide is subject to extreme seasonal changes due to melting and freezing processes.
29. Being 4.6 billion years old, our Sun is halfway through its life and considered a middle-aged star.
30. Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest object in our solar system that has no substantial atmosphere.
31. Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system. It is 11 times as big as Earth.
32. Storms on Neptune can almost reach supersonic flow. With wind speeds of up to 764 miles per hour (1,230 Kilometers per hour), Neptune has the heaviest storms in the solar system. In our amazing article, you will find more facts about Neptune.
33. If one were on the surface of Mercury, one could observe a strange phenomenon. It may be that the sun rises to a certain point in the sky and then sets back again. Afterwards the sun can rise again on the same Mercury day. This is only possible because the planet rotates three times while circling the sun twice.
34. The Temperatures inside the Sun can reach up to 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). However, the temperature on the surface of the Sun is only 10,112 degrees Fahrenheit (5,600 degrees Celsius).
35. Not only planets or dwarf planets can have moons. Even the asteroid Ida, which is only 32 kilometers in size, has the moon Dactyl, which has a diameter of one kilometer.
36. On the moon there is a crater called beer however it was not named after the alcoholic beverage but after German astronomer Wilhelm W. Beer.
37. Besides Venus, Mercury is the only planet that does not have a moon.
38. The Pluto moon Charon moves around Pluto at the same speed as the dwarf planet rotates around its own axis. If you were standing on the surface of Pluto, Charon would always remain stable in the same place in the sky without rising or setting.
39. While Saturn has long been known for its rings, the ring systems around the gas planets Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune were first discovered in the 1970s.
40. Neptune is 2.8 billion miles (4.5 billion kilometers) from the sun. It took the “Voyager 2” spacecraft twelve years to reach the planet.
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41. There are two “Great Dark Spots” on Neptune where storms can rage for several months and even several years.
42. Our sun has a mass of around 330,000 times that of Earth and accounts for 99.86 percent of the mass in the solar system.
43. Venus is sometimes called the sister planet of the Earth. Its diameter is only five percent smaller, its mass deviates downwards by 19 percent and its gravity is 90 percent of the Earth’s gravity. There are many more awesome facts about venus.
44. With its surface shaped by countless craters, Mercury resembles our moon.
45. The sun is about as heavy as 333,000 earths.
46. Due to its small size, Mercury has too little mass and gravity for building a stable atmosphere. Solar winds can therefore easily blow away attracted gases.
47. The sun has a diameter of about 870,000 miles (1,400,000 kilometers) and is thus about ten times as large as the largest planet in the solar system.
48. Aurora Borealis, the so-called northern lights, are not only found on Earth, but also on many other planets of our solar system.
49. The Moon is drifting approximately 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) away from Earth every year and it is estimated that it will continue to do so for around 50 billion years. By the time that happens, the time for orbiting the Earth will be around 47 days instead of the current 27.3 days the Moon needs.
50. At a distance of 143.73 trillion kilometers from the Sun, the presumed dwarf planet Sedna is the outermost known object in our solar system.
51. At -235 degrees Celsius, the coldest temperature in our solar system to date was measured on the Neptune moon Triton.
52. Our solar system has five known dwarf planets so far: Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Haumea and Makemake.
53. It takes Neptune 165 earth years to circle the sun.
54. Mercury is the fastest planet in the solar system with a speed of 112,000 miles per hour (180,000 kilometers per hour)
56. Scientists believe it is possible that there is life on Saturn’s moon Enceladus.
57. The diameter of our solar system is about 287.46 trillion kilometers.
58. Styx is the smallest Pluto moon and has a maximum diameter of ten miles (16 kilometers).
59. Gravity takes time which means that if the sun would disappear, Earth would still orbit it for as long as we saw light from it (about 8 minutes).
60. The gravity of the Sun is 28 times stronger than Earth’s gravity.
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61. Saturn releases about twice as much energy as it absorbs from the sun. The cause is processes in the interior of the planet that are related to helium and hydrogen in connection with enormous pressure and temperature levels. We can tell you much more about the planet that is famous for its beautiful rings – have a look at our facts about Saturn.
62. The weight of the sun is approximately 1.989.000.000.000.000.000.000.000.000 metric tons.
63. Scientists assume that Mercury used to be Trabant of Venus until it evaded its gravity.
64. The most widely accepted explanation within the scientific community is that the Moon was created when a rock the size of Mars slammed into Earth about 4.5 billion years ago.
65. Venus has an average temperature of 863 degrees Fahrenheit (462 degrees Celsius), so that lead would simply melt on the surface. Therefore, Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system.
66. The photo taken of the Earth from the greatest distance was taken by Voyager 1, which photographed the Earth from a distance of 3,7 billion miles (six billion kilometers) in 1990.
67. Sunspots are areas of the Sun that are cooler than other areas on the surface of the Sun. They are usually darker in tone than in warmer areas.
68. Mars has the largest dust storms in the Solar System, reaching speeds of over 100 miles per hours (160 kilometers per hour).
69. Since Mercury is already visible to the naked eye during twilight, it is not clear who first discovered the planet. However, the astronomer Timocharis of Alexandria 265 BC was the first to record the observation.
70. Mars is red as its surface contains lots of iron oxide which is also the same compound that gives blood and rust their red tone.
71. The asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars is estimated to contain up to 1.9 million asteroids with a diameter of more than 0.6 miles (one kilometre) orbiting the Sun.
72. When Pluto still had the status of a planet, it was considered the outermost planet of our solar system. However, its smallest distance from the sun is actually less than that of Neptune.
73. Venus has more than 1,000 volcanoes, of which the highest – Maat Mons – is eight kilometers high.
74. The existence of Neptune was mathematically predicted before the planet was directly observed, based on the orbit of Uranus.
75. On Jupiter the days are shorter than on any other planet in our solar system. For a rotation around its own axis, the giant needs only ten hours.
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76. The temperatures on mercury’s surface can vary between -279 degrees Fahrenheit (-173 degrees Celsius) at night and 801 degrees Fahrenheit (427 degrees Celsius) during the day. This is the most fluctuating temperature in the solar system.
77. Jupiter has the largest magnetic field in our solar system and therefore even surpasses that of the sun. One of the reasons for this is the high rotational speed of the planet.
78. In 2017, researchers demonstrated that the first organic life existed on Earth 3.5 billion years ago.
79. In 1726 Jonathan Swift wrote in his book “Gulliver’s Travels” about the two moons of Mars 151 years before they were even discovered.
80. Venus is the brightest planet in the night sky and overall, it is the third brightest object – after the sun and the moon.
81. Since Jupiter consists mostly of hydrogen and helium, the planet is sometimes called a fallen star, since these are the basic requirements for stellar fusion. But in fact, despite its size, it is not massive enough to start fusion processes in its interior. This would require about 70 times its mass.
Hopefully, you enjoyed these terrific facts about our solar system. If you would like to read more stuff like that, we strongly recommend our facts about space as well as our facts about planets. And make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest. We also published a bunch of books containing our most astonishing fun facts – so have a look if you are interested.
General facts about the solar system
|Minimum distance to the sun in million mi (km)||29 (46)||67 (108)||91 (147)||129 (207)||460 (741)||891 (1,434)||1,703 (2741)||2,761 (4,444)||2,756 (4,435)|
|Maximum distance to the sun in million mi (km)||43 (70)||68 (109)||94 (152)||155 (249)||508 (817)||941 (1,515)||1,867 (3,004)||2,825 (4,546)||4,538 (7,304)|
|Number of moons||0||0||1||2||79||82||27||13||3|
|Rotation speed in mp/h (km/h)||4.2 (6.7)||2.5 (4.1)||646 (1,040)||334 (538)||17,600 (28,325)||14,224 (22,892)||5,712 (9,193)||3,752 (6,039)||48 (77)|
|Direction of rotation||prograde||retrograde||prograde||prograde||prograde||prograde||retrograde||prograde||retrograde|
|Slope in °||0.01||177||23.5||25||3||27||82||29||122.5|
|Rotation period (duration of one day)||59 days||244 days||24 hours||25 hours||10 hours||11 hours||17 hours||16 hours||6 days|
|Period of circulation (duration of one year)||88 days||225 days||365 days||87 days||12 years||29.5 years||84 years||164 yearas||248 years|
|Minimum temperature in °F ( °C)||-281 (-174)||819 (437)||-78 (-61)||-126 (-88)||-191 (-124)||-227 (-144)||-328 (-200)||-335 (-204)||-416 (-249)|
|Average temperature in °F ( °C)||333 (167)||867 (464)||59 (15)||-83 (-64)||-164 (-109)||-218 (-139)||-324 (-198)||-330 (-201)||-404 (-242)|
|Maximum temperature in °F ( °C)||945 (507)||927 (497)||136 (58)||75 (24)||-137 (-94)||-209 (-134)||-321 (-196)||-324 (-198)||-391 (-235)|
|Diameter in mi (km)||3,031 (4,878)||7,521 (12,104)||7,926 (12,756)||4,222 (6,794)||8,885 (142,984)||74,898 (120,536)||31,763 (51,118)||30,775 (49,528)||1,429 (2,300)|
|Diameter in earth diameters||0.382||0.949||1.000||0.533||11.209||9.449||4.007||3.883||0.180|
|Volume in 1012 mi³ (km³)||0.015 (0.061)||0.223 (0.928)||0.26 (1.083)||0.039 (0.163)||341.996 (1,425.5)||198.439 (827.13)||16.588 (69.142)||15.001 (62.526)||0.002 (0.007)|
|Volume in earths||0.056||0.857||1.000||0.151||1,316.008||763.599||63.831||57.723||0.007|
|Mass in 1021 t||0.33||4.87||5.97||0.64||1,898.70||568.51||86.85||102.44||0.01|
|Mass in earths||0.055||0.815||1.000||0.107||317.843||95.169||14.539||17.149||0.002|
|Average orbital velocity in mp/s (km/s)||107,127 (172,404)||78,360 (126,108)||66,638 (107,244)||53,977 (86,868)||29,214 (47,016)||21,565 (34,705)||15,234 (24,516)||12,147 (19,548)||10,603 (17,064)|
|density in g/cm³||5.43||5.24||5.515||3.93||1.33||0.7||1.3||1.64||1.88|
|Gravitational force compared to the earth||0.377||0.905||1||0.379||2.28||1.065||0.904||1.137||0.083|