Beyond the atmosphere

The Solar System is just like our back yard respect to the vast plains of the Universe. It is a system of bodies of different nature and size that orbit around a medium-sized star. The use of the word “system” indicates the dynamic nature of the structure; in fact, the components interact with and influence each other in complex ways.
Currently we are in a privileged moment in the exploration of our planetary system. The present and past space missions have allowed us to get to know its outline and characteristics. In fact, a new image of this part of the universe has emerged, in which the Sun and planets are not the only protagonists. The Solar System also includes satellites, like the Moon, that orbit around the planets, asteroids, rocky bodies of different sizes that are mainly found grouped in belts, in addition to comets, cosmic dust, the light coming from the Sun, and above all, the gravitational force which acts like a glue and prevents these various parts from dispersing into outer space.

Special reports

From the Multimedia section

Facts

  • 17 May 2011

    Neutrinos

    Neutrinos are extremely light neutral particles...

    The comet’s tail

    Comets are “dirty snowballs” that spend most of their life at the edges of the Solar System...

  • The definition of a dwarf planet

    Astronomy, like all scientific disciplines, is continuously evolving...

    The PP cycle

    Nuclear fusion within the stars begins with the different passages...

  • Children of the stars

    We are made of star dust. The iron in our blood, the oxygen we breathe...

    The Olbers paradox

    Why is the sky dark at night? What seems like an obvious question...