“The solar system is not just the sun and the planets”

The solar system is not just the sun and the planets. There are many celestial bodies orbiting our solar system. These are dwarf planets, asteroids, planetary and asteroid satellites and comets.

Dwarf planets :

Astronomers have discovered many dwarf planets, but have so far officially identified only five: Pluto, Demeter, Eris, Makemake and Haumeia. The first three planets got their names from Ancient Greek Mythology and the last two from mythologies of other countries. Makemake was the god worshiped by the people on Easter Island and Haumea was an ancient goddess of Hawaii.

The most famous of all is Pluto which is a very cold planet. It is located very far from the Sun and its temperature reaches -200 degrees Celsius. In Pluto the sun looks like a bright star. It is therefore no coincidence

that the planet was named after the ancient Greek god of the Underworld. The ancient Greeks believed that the Underworld was a cold and dark place where the souls of the dead went. Scientists previously believed that Pluto was the ninth planet in the solar system. Nowadays, however, it is considered to be one of the five recognized dwarf planets.

Asteroids :

Asteroids are essentially stones left over back from when the planets were formed. Asteroids are located in an area between Jupiter and Mars. In addition to the main asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, there are also Trojan asteroids that are commonly referred to as Jupiter's asteroids and are divided into two groups: those named after Greek heroes of the Trojan War and those named after Trojan heroes of the same war.

The dwarf planet Demeter (Ceres) is located in the main asteroid belt. It is the smallest of the five recognized dwarf planets and the first celestial body to be discovered in the asteroid belt. Although Demeter (Ceres) is very small, smaller than the Moon, the other asteroids are even smaller. Some are the size of big stones and others are much smaller than Demeter (Ceres).

Demeter (Ceres) was named after the ancient Greek goddess of agriculture. According to the ancient Greeks, Demeter (Ceres) spent six months of the year with her daughter, Persephone, and because she was happy during these six months (spring and summer), the earth turned green. However, the other six months of the year her daughter stayed in Hades with her husband Pluto the King of the Underworld and Demeter (Ceres) was sad and her sadness caused the plants to wither and die (autumn and winter).

Satellites :

They are celestial bodies orbiting a planet or asteroid. They can be natural or artificial, ie man-made. There are 185 known natural satellites in our solar system, as well as 9 orbiting dwarf planets. The largest satellite of our solar system is Ganymede and the planet with the most satellites is Jupiter with 79 confirmed satellites.

The most famous satellite is the Moon, which is the Earth's satellite. The Moon is the only celestial body that has been visited by humans. It has neither air nor water. It has only mountains, rocks and dust as well as large holes, called craters. If you look at the Moon with binoculars, you will see large dark areas that astronomers call "seas". They are not real seas however, they are large plains with dark rocks, which came from lava that came out of the interior of the Moon a long time ago. The craters of the Moon were created by meteors, ie large space rocks that fell on it.

Comets :

Comets are impressive celestial bodies that move around our solar system. They consist of ice, stones and metals. Comets approach the sun and when this happens, the ice on them begins to evaporate and a bright tail is formed, the coma, which is ancient Greek for hair. The most famous comet is the Halley comet. But every year new comets are discovered.

In ancient times people could not explain the phenomenon of comets. So, when they saw a comet, they thought it was a bad omen which would bring along death, disease, natural disasters, and even the end of the world. For example, whenever Halley comet appeared in the past it caused great fear among people. In fact, back in 1910 people were preparing for the end of the world as they waited for the comet to appear. Of course this did not happen and astronomers still observe with great interest all the known comets as well as the new ones that are constantly being discovered.

Photos: https://www.nasa.gov/

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