Sun & Planets

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The known facts of our own Solar system, at least for now [1].

Sunset Neuenhaus 2021

The exact location for my house in Neuenhaus is Latitude N 52.4992999, Longitude E 6.9751151.


Solar System

10 Need-to-know things about our Slat system [2]

  1. Our solar system is made up of the sun and everything that travels around it. This includes eight planets and their natural satellites such as Earth's moon; dwarf planets such as Pluto and Ceres; asteroids; comets and meteoroids
  2. The sun is the center of our solar system. It contains almost all of the mass in our solar system and exerts a tremendous gravitational pull on planets and other bodies.
  3. Our solar system formed about 4.6 billion years ago.
  4. The four planets closest to the Sun - Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars - are called the terrestrial planets because they have solid, rocky surfaces.
  5. Two of the outer planets beyond the orbit of Mars - Jupiter and Saturn - are known as gas giants; the more distant Uranus and Neptune are called ice giants.
  6. Most of the known dwarf planets exist in an icy zone beyond Neptune called the Kuiper Belt, which is also the point of origin for many comets.
  7. Many objects in our solar system have atmospheres, including planets, some dwarf planets and even a couple moons.
  8. Our solar system is located in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. There are most likely billions of other solar systems in our galaxy. And there are billions of galaxies in the universe.
  9. We measure distances in our solar system by Astronomical Units (AU). One AU is equal to the distance between the sun and the Earth, which is about 150 million km (93 million miles).
  10. NASA's twin Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft are the first spacecraft to explore the outer reaches of our solar system.

Location Calculators

There are a lot of websites with calculators for the sun and planets locations. I give a few:

  • Paul Schlyter, Stockholm, Sweden, How to compute planetary positions.
  • cosinkitty demo page for his Javascript astronomy engine, 'astronomy.js'. The algorithms here are based on formulas mostly from Paul Schlyter's web page How to compute planetary positions.
  • cosinkitty shows the locations on a globe seen from the current position.
  • The Sky Life Your guide to the Solar System and the night sky.
  • ConvertALot, Celestial coordinates of right ascension and declination into horizon coordinates of altitude and azimuth. To operate the calculator, enter the right ascension and declination of a celestial object, enter the latitude and longitude of the observing site.

Sun & Planets Facts

Nr Name Mass
AU [3]
1 Sun 1.99E+30 99.86604% 1408 696,000 100.00% 5778     1.50E+08 1.000  
2 Jupiter 1.90E+27 0.09532% 1326 69,911 10.04% 165 99,259.0 4,135.79 7.50E+08 5.013 63
3 Saturn 5.68E+26 0.02854% 687 58,232 8.37% 134 10,656.0 444.00 1.35E+09 9.024 60
4 Neptune 1.02E+26 0.00514% 1638 24,622 3.54% 72 16.1 0.67 4.45E+09 29.746 13
5 Uranus 8.68E+25 0.00436% 1270 25,362 3.64% 76 17.2 0.72 2.90E+09 19.385 27
6 Earth 5.97E+24 0.00030% 5515 6,371 0.92% 288 24.0 1.00     1
7 Venus 4.87E+24 0.00024% 5243 6,052 0.87% 737 2,802.0 116.75 1.45E+08 0.969 0
8 Mars 6.42E+23 0.00003% 3933 3,390 0.49% 210 24.7 1.03 3.00E+08 2.005 2
9 Mercury 3.30E+23 0.00002% 5427 2,440 0.35% 440 4,222.6 175.94 1.25E+08 0.836 0
10 Moon 7.35E+22 0.00000% 3350 1,737 0.25% 250 655.7 27.32 3.78E+05 0.003  
11 Pluto 1.25E+22 0.00000% 1750 1,195 0.17% 50 153.3 6.39 5.50E+09 36.765 3

Sun things to know

  1. The sun is a star. A star does not have a solid surface, but is a ball of gas (92.1 percent hydrogen (H2) and 7.8 percent helium (He)) held together by its own gravity.
  2. The sun is the center of our solar system and makes up 99.8% of the mass of the entire solar system.
  3. If the sun were as tall as a typical front door, Earth would be about the size of a nickel.
  4. Since the sun is not a solid body, different parts of the sun rotate at different rates.
    • At the equator, the sun spins once about every 25 days,
    • At its poles the sun rotates once on its axis every 36 Earth days.
  5. The solar atmosphere (a thin layer of gases) is where we see features such as sunspots and solar flares on the sun.
  6. The sun is orbited by
    • 8 planets,
    • 5 dwarf planets,
    • 10.000 or more of asteroids,
    • 100.000 - comets and icy bodies.
  7. The sun does not have any rings.
  8. Without the sun's intense energy there would be no life on Earth.
  9. The temperature at the sun's core is about 15 million degrees Celsius (27 million degrees Fahrenheit).


Venus Mars Saturn Jupiter
Venus Cloud Tops
Source: href='
Jupiter Moon Transit, January 24, 2015 (07:10 UT)
Uranus Neptune Pluto
Rings and Moons Circling Uranus
Springtime on Neptune — 1996 Image of Neptune
Pluto - HST - 180° Longitude


My first program to view the celestial sky has been Stellarium. The program has almost every setting and calculation, which makes the program difficult for a beginner but when learning about the system you will love it.

See also


  • Solar System Nasa, Information of our Solar System Planets by Nasa
  •, Website with Visual Stars and Planets on your device, also as app for your computer.



  1. Smart Conversions, Planets and the Sun, our Solar System, metrics
  2. Solar System Nasa Gov], Our Solar System Overview.
  3. AU = Astronomical Unit, about 150.000.000 km.