Our solar system is located in the Milky Way Galaxy, approximately 26,000
light years from its center. The solar system includes our sun (a medium-sized star) as well as nine planets and a belt of
asteroids that orbit around it. Some planets (including earth) have one or more moons.
The nine planets in our solar system include:
Ever new breakthroughs in science and technology enable astronomers to learn more about the solar system and the universe each and every day. The awesome power of modern
telescopes allows us to peer
millions of light years into outer space.
For example, the orbiting Hubble Space
Telescope (named in honor of Edwin
Hubble), is constantly sending photos back to earth that are extremely detailed, providing up-close views of incredibly distant objects in the universe.
We're also sending un-manned spacecraft that are jam-packed with all types of cameras and scientific instruments to various parts of the solar system and beyond.
These spacecraft do fly-bys of the planets, sending back important data and breathtaking pictures. Many of these robotic explorers will eventually leave our solar system and travel into interstellar space.
Our solar system is just one out of what is most likely billions that exist in the universe. As technology advances, we'll eventually be able to learn about most, if not all, of the objects that reside in the vast expanse of space!
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