Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

The Solar System

In the Solar System Channel, you can explore the planets and celestial objects around our own sun. Learn about topics such as Mars, Jupiter and the Moon.

The Solar System Explained

Our planet Earth is part of a solar system that consists of nine (and possibly ten) planets orbiting a giant, fiery star we call the sun. For thousands of years, astronomers studying the solar system have noticed that these planets march across the sky in a predictable way.

Scientists Figure Out How Martian Moon Phobos Got Its 'Death Star' Crater

How could Phobos withstand the impact that created such a large crater without simply shattering into pieces? A new mathematical investigation answers that question. See more »

The Most Detailed 3-D Sky Map Ever of the Galaxy's 100 Billion Stars

The European Space Agency's Gaia satellite observatory has created a 3-D model of the Milky Way — and beyond! — that charts more than a billion stars. See more »

Huge Solar Storms Could Have Kickstarted Life on Earth

NASA scientists say solar eruptions could have played a role in creating not only friendly environments, but also the building blocks of life itself. See more »

Weird Physics: The Closer You Get to the Sun, the Cooler It Gets

The sun's atmosphere is actually hotter than its surface, even though you'd assume the surface is what generates all that heat. How does that work? See more »

Plasma Rain, Plasma Rain: Fascinating New Footage From the Sun's Surface

NASA's solar-observation satellite IRIS spotted an instance of this powerful natural electromagnetic phenomenon, and caught it on video. See more »

A Portion of Your Suntan Comes From Distant Galaxies

Radiation from distant galaxies and even black holes travels light years through the universe to have a tiny but measurable impact on humanity. See more »

If You Think Jupiter Orbits the Sun, You're Mistaken

And if we're going to get technical about it, neither do those of us here on Earth. See more »

Watch: The Sun Obliterate a Doomed Comet

A NASA spacecraft captured footage of a comet hurtling toward the sun. And then it got crazy See more »

May I Go to the Moon, Please?

Heading to the moon? You might want to ask the FAA first. See more »

NASA's Juno Spacecraft Arrives at Jupiter on Monday, July 4

After a five-year trip, the space probe reaches its destination on a mission to learn about the gas giant's origin and evolution. See more »