Descriptive Astronomy 101
Solar System Overview


The Solar System Overview

Major objects in the Solar System from the center outward.

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General Characteristics

All the planets revolve around the Sun in the same direction.
Revolution -
Rotation -

Most of the planets lie in a common plane - the plane of the Ecliptic
Exception:

The orbits of the planets are nearly circular
Actual shape of a planetary orbit:

Many planets have axes of rotation that are nearly perpendicular to the ecliptic
Major Exceptions:

Inner planets are made of rocks and metals
Terrestrial Planets:

Outer planets are made of gases and ices
Gases:
Hydrogen compounds:
Other compounds:
Jovian Planets:

Orbital periods increase with increasing distance from the Sun.
The Sun has a relatively slow rotation - approximately 27.5 days