To say that our solar system is a fantastic place would be an understatement. Although the Sun pales in comparison to the size and temperature of many other stars, it’s still an extremely superheated ball of mainly hydrogen gas that’s hot enough to give you sunburns from 152 million kilometers away.
The solar system involves everything that moves around the Sun in their own orbit, such as planets, asteroids and comets. The closest four planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars – are the terrestrial (rocky) planets. On the other hand, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus, which are much larger, are known as the Jovian planets or gas giants. Many planets, including ours, have tinier bodies called moons orbiting them.
Asteroids are rocky bodies that are much smaller than regular planets. While they usually have wayward orbits, many of them are found in a ring between Mars and Jupiter known as the asteroid belt. Dwarf planets are larger than asteroids, but still tiny in comparison to a small planet like Mercury.
Comets are made of rock, frozen water or gas, and dust, and have very weird, far-reaching elliptical orbits. When they fly close to our star, the frozen gases can burn up into bright, shining tails which we can see from Earth.
You can examine our updated solar system diagram to quickly review the different types of astronomical bodies that revolve around the Sun.