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The Sun • The sun is the biggest, brightest, and hottest object in the solar system. • The sun is an ordinary star. • The sun is made of about 70% hydrogen and 28% helium.



Mercury, the planet nearest the Sun, is the second smallest planet in our solar system. It is only slightly larger than the Earth's moon. This tiny planet does not have any rings•or Mercury moons. is solid and is

covered with craters. • Mercury has almost no atmosphere. • Mercury is the eighth largest planet.

evidence of craters



Venus is one of the brightest objects in our sky, so it is clearly visible to the naked eye. It can be tricky to spot because it is always near the Sun. It rises and sets with the Sun each day.


• Earth is the fifth largest planet and the third from the sun. • Liquid covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface. • The Earth has one moon.

Mars • Mars is the fourth planet from the sun. • Mars has a thin atmosphere that contains mostly carbon dioxide. • Mars has two small moons.

Jupiter Jupiter, the fifth planet from the Sun, is the largest planet in our solar system. Jupiter is so big that over 1,000 planets the size of Earth could fit into it. It has over 60 moons and 2 rings. Can life exist on Jupiter's moon, Europa?

• The Great Red Spot, a huge storm of swirling gas that has lasted for hundreds of years. • Jupiter does not have a solid surface. The planet is a ball of liquid surrounded by gas.

Saturn Saturn, the sixth planet from the Sun, is the second largest planet in our solar system. It is often called the ringed planet because many rings of dust and rocks surround it. Saturn also has over 31 moons.

• Saturn is the second largest planet and the sixth from the sun. • Saturn is made of materials that are lighter than water. If you could fit Saturn in a lake, it would float!

Titan is a moon of Saturn that may have some Conditions necessary for life! The picture on the left shows an artist’s drawing of how Titan might have looked when the Cassini-Huygen’s probe dropped into its atmosphere in Dec., 2004.

Uranus Uranus is a very unusual planet because it sits on its side with north and south poles sticking out the sides. It rotates around this axis, making it look like a ball rolling around in a circle around the Sun.

• Uranus is the third largest planet and the seventh from the sun. • Uranus is one of the giant gas planets. • Uranus is blue-green because of the methane in its atmosphere.


• Neptune is the fourth largest planet and the eight from the sun. • Because of the orbits, from 1979 to 1999, Neptune was the ninth planet. • Like Uranus, the methane gives Neptune its color.

the solar system  

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