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.
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The Ultimate Moon Quiz

Wolves supposedly howl at it, a fairy tale claims a cow once jumped over it and legends say if you look hard enough, there's a man in it. Yes, the moon has a prominent place in popular culture, but there's a lot you might not know about Earth's little orbiting friend. Why doesn't it have soil? Why is its gravity so important? And are we really thinking of going back soon?

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  • Can the curvature of the Earth only be seen from outer space?
    Can the curvature of the Earth only be seen from outer space?

    Can the curvature of the Earth only be seen from outer space? If you didn't know that the Earth is a sphere, there are three common observations you could use to convince yourself that it is. See more »

  • Could I see a flashlight beam from Earth on the moon?
    Could I see a flashlight beam from Earth on the moon?

    If I was on the moon and the earth was black (no lights were on) and a flashlight was turned on facing the moon, would I see the light? If I couldn't, would there be any way to detect any residual matter that came from the light on Earth or does light die after a certain distance? See more »

  • Earth Explained
    Earth Explained

    Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in the solar system. It is named for the Roman god of agriculture, one of the most important gods in the Roman world. See more »

  • If nature abhors a vacuum, then why doesn't the vacuum of space suck away all of the Earth's atmosphere?
    If nature abhors a vacuum, then why doesn't the vacuum of space suck away all of the Earth's atmosphere?

    If "nature abhors a vacuum," then why doesn't the vacuum of space suck away all of the Earth's atmosphere? See more »

  • Mercury Explained
    Mercury Explained

    Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and it is the second smallest. It is the fastest-moving planet, so it was named after the Roman god of speed. Like Earth, it is a terrestrial planet, meaning it has a solid surface that you could land on. See more »

  • Planet
    Planet

    Planet, a large, solid heavenly body that revolves around a star and shines by reflected light. See more »

  • Pluto Explained
    Pluto Explained

    The smallest and most-distant planet in our solar system is tiny, icy Pluto. It is even smaller than our moon, and wasn't discovered until 1930 — the only planet discovered in the twentieth century. See more »

  • Saturn Explained
    Saturn Explained

    Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun and the second largest planet in the solar system. It is named for the Roman god of agriculture, one of the most important gods in the Roman world. Saturn is made mostly of hydrogen and helium, and its poles appear to be flattened because of its speedy rotation on its axis... See more »

  • The Solar System Explained
    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. See more »

  • Uranus
    Uranus

    Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. Uranus was the first planet to be discovered with a telescope, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn being readily visible to the unaided eye. See more »

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