– [Narrator] Our solar system is one of over 500 known solar systems in the entire Milky Way galaxy. The solar system came into being about 4.5 billion years ago, when a cloud of interstellar gas and dust collapsed, resulting in a solar
nebula, a swirling disc of material that collided
to form the solar system. The solar system is located in the Milky Way’s Orion star cluster. Only 15% of stars in the
galaxy host planetary systems, and one of those stars is our own sun. Revolving around the
sun are eight planets. The planets are divided
into two categories, based on their composition, Terrestrial and Jovian. Terrestrial planets including
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, are primarily
made of rocky material. Their surfaces are solid,
they don’t have ring systems, they have very few or no moons, and they are relatively small. The smallest and closest
to the sun is Mercury, which has the shortest
orbit in the solar system at about three Earth months. Venus is the hottest
planet, with temperatures of up to 867 degrees
Fahrenheit, due to an atmosphere of carbon dioxide and
extensive lava flows. Next to this world of fire
is a world of water, Earth. The water systems on
this planet help create the only known environment in the universe capable of sustaining life. The last of the terrestrial planets, Mars, might have also supported life
about 3.7 billion years ago, when the planet had a watery
surface, and moist atmosphere. Beyond the four Terrestrial planets of the inner solar system
lie the Jovian planets of the outer solar system. The Jovian planets include
gas giants Jupiter and Saturn and ice giants Uranus and Neptune. The gas giants are
predominantly made of helium and hydrogen, and the ice
giants also contain rock, ice, and a liquid mixture of
water, methane, and ammonia. All four Jovian planets
have multiple moons, sport ring systems, have no
solid surface, and are immense. The largest Jovian is
also the largest planet in the solar system, Jupiter. Nearby is Saturn, the solar
system’s second largest planet. Its signature rings are wide enough to fit between Earth and the moon, but are barely a kilometer thick. Past Saturn are the ice
giants, Uranus and Neptune. The slightly bigger of
these ice giants, Uranus, is famous for rotating on its side. Next to Uranus is Neptune,
the outermost planet in the solar system, and
also one of the coldest. Orbiting the Terrestrial
planets is the asteroid belt, a flat disc of rocky
objects, full of remnants from the solar system’s formation. From microscopic dust particles, to the largest known object,
the dwarf planet, Ceres. Another disc of space debris
lies much further out, and orbits the Jovian
planets, the icy Kuiper Belt. Apart from asteroids, the
Kuiper Belt is also home to dwarf planets, such as Pluto, and is the birthplace of many comets. Beyond the Kuiper Belt is the Oort Cloud, a vast, spherical
collection of icy debris. It is considered the
edge of the solar system since that is where the gravitational and physical influences of the sun end. Our solar system’s
particular configuration of planets and other celestial objects, all revolving around a life-giving star, make it a special place to call home.