10 bizarre and amazing solar system facts

Here are a few of our favorite fascinating solar system facts, among many that exist.

We’ve selected 25 of the most fascinating solar system facts out of a plethora of interesting ones.

The sun and everything in its orbit, including the eight (formerly nine) planets that we are all familiar with from elementary school, make up our solar system. Even though the major planets are a diverse and fascinating set of bodies, they are only the beginning. Comets, asteroids, dwarf planets, enigmatic moons, and a variety of other bizarre phenomena that defy comprehension are among Earth’s space neighbors.

Scientists have found ice-spewing volcanoes on Pluto, and a genuinely “grand” canyon the size of the United States is located on Mars. Beyond Neptune, there might even be a massive, undiscovered planet hiding. Discover some of the most bizarre solar system facts by reading on.

1- The solar system is incredibly large.

The spacecraft Voyager 1 was launched by NASA in 1977. It was the first artificial object to breach the heliopause, or edge of the heliosphere, and enter interstellar space in 2012, more than three decades later. Beyond that point, the majority of the sun’s expelled particles and magnetic fields weaken.

However, according to NASA, “if we define our solar system as the Sun and everything that primarily orbits the Sun, Voyager 1 will remain within the confines of the solar system until it emerges from the Oort cloud in another 14,000 to 28,000 years.

2- Our neighborhood alone is really large.

Every planet in the solar system could fit between Earth and its moon, depending on how precisely you calculate and arrange them. According to news site Slate, this would need Saturn, Jupiter, or both to be tilted sideways because the distances between Earth and the moon vary, as does the diameter of each planet, which is wider at their equators. However, picture them all arranged pole to pole. Their gas giant size and rings would shut out the sky as they narrowly slipped between us and our nearest space partner. Practically speaking, of course, we would also have other issues to be concerned about.

Depending on how you look at it, the moon is both incredibly close and mind-bogglingly far from Earth—the furthest humans have ever traveled. Even if eight massive planets may fit in between here and there, the distance between Earth and the sun is more than 390 times greater than that between Earth and the moon, according to NOAA.

When comparing distances inside the solar system, scientists utilize an approximation of the Earth-to-sun distance, commonly referred to as one astronomical unit, or AU. Neptune is 30.07 AU from the sun, or around 30 times as far away as Earth is from the star, while Jupiter is about 5.2 AU from the sun.


Upon closer examination, Uranus, an outer solar system gas giant, looks very strange. Typically, classroom solar system models depict Uranus as a featureless blue ball. According to NASA’s Uranus guide, the planet first revolves on its side, giving the impression that it is rolling around the sun like a ball. The planet’s peculiar orientation—roughly 90 degrees sideways relative to the other planets—is most likely the result of a cataclysmic collision that occurred eons ago.

The solar system’s most extreme seasons are thought to be caused by Uranus’ tilt. Approximately 25% of every Uranus year, or 21 Earth years, is spent with the sun directly overhead the planet’s north or south pole. Each Uranus year lasts for 84 years. That implies that half of Uranus never sees the light at all for more than 20 years on Earth.

Researchers keep an eye on Uranus’s harsh seasons and anticipated that the planet’s 2007 equinox would bring about peculiar weather. However, the atmosphere burst into ferocious, unexpected storms seven years later, leaving Uranus much more mysterious.

4- There are towing volcanic eruptions on Jupiter’s moon.

It might surprise you to learn that Jupiter’s moon Io is more active than Earth’s moon. With hundreds of volcanoes, the Jovian moon is thought to be the most active moon in the solar system. Sulfur plumes have been seen to travel up to 190 miles (300 kilometers) into the atmosphere. NASA said that one ton, or more than 900 kg, of gasses and particles are released into the space around Jupiter every second by the volcanoes on Io.

Because of the tremendous pressures that the moon, which is encased in Jupiter’s magnetic field and gravitational well, is subjected to, Io erupts. Enough energy is produced for volcanic activity by the moon’s interior tensing and relaxing as it orbits the planet.

However, the process by which heat moves through Io’s interior is still a mystery to scientists, making it challenging to forecast the locations of volcanoes based just on scientific models.


Giant volcanoes previously dominated the surface of Mars, despite the planet being peaceful presently. This includes Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system that has yet been found. With a diameter of 374 miles (602 km), the volcano is about the same size as Arizona. It is three times as tall as Mount Everest, the highest mountain on Earth, at sixteen miles (twenty-five kilometers). NASA claims that Olympus Mons is 100 times bigger by volume than Mauna Loa, the biggest volcano on Earth.

Scientists hypothesize that because gravity is so much lower on Mars than it is on Earth, volcanoes there can grow to such enormous sizes.

Furthermore, there is ongoing controversy among experts regarding whether or not the Martian crust moves constantly, in contrast to the Earth’s crust. If the surface of Mars isn’t moving, a volcano may grow up for a longer period of time in one location. This is how the Hawaiian islands were formed: a hot spot in the mantle built a chain of volcanoes in the crust cruising past above it.


The vast network of Martian canyons known as Valles Marineris stretches 2,500 miles (4,000 km) in length, which makes it more than ten times longer than the Grand Canyon on Earth. Early Mars spacecraft passed over other regions of the planet without noticing Valles Marineris, until the global mapping mission Mariner 9 finally noticed it in 1971. And what a sight it was to behold—Valles Marineris extended across the whole United States, coast to coast!

The formation of the canyon is a puzzle because Mars does not have active plate tectonics. Some scientists believe that the crust of Mars was bent in some way by the Tharsis Ridge, a line of volcanoes on the opposite side of the planet that contains Olympus Mons. Cracks in the crust, massive volumes of subterranean water that surfaced to chisel away rock, and glaciers that crunched new routes into the canyon system were all triggered by that cataclysmic power.


Venus is a terrible planet with a surface that is both hot and pressurized. It’s not exactly a friendly place, bone-dry and hot enough to melt lead (and has probably always been unfriendly to life). According to NASA, the Soviet Union’s fully armored Venera spacecraft only lasted a few minutes or, at most, a few hours before melting or being crushed beyond repair when they landed there in the 1970s.

But the planet’s atmosphere is strange even above its surface. Its top winds flow 50 times faster than the planet’s rotation, according to scientific findings. Throughout its lengthy orbit around the planet from 2006 to 2014, the European Venus Express spacecraft monitored the winds and found recurring patterns. Additionally, it discovered that the hurricane-force winds seemed to be intensifying over time.

Phosphine, a potential indicator of biological materials degrading, was found high in the Venusian clouds in a 2020 study that excited some astrobiologists. Might they be an indication of life? Subsequent studies that vehemently deny the idea of life on Venus assert that it is not without enough water.


There was a time when water was rare in space. Water ice is, in fact, found throughout the solar system. Comets and asteroids, for example, frequently include it.

On Mercury and the moon, water can be discovered as ice in permanently shaded craters, but we don’t know if there’s enough of it to support future human colonies there. At its poles, behind the dust and maybe covered in frost, Mars also contains ice. Ice can be found on even smaller worlds in the solar system, such as the dwarf planet Ceres and the moon Enceladus of Saturn.

NASA scientists believe that because liquid water is most likely present beneath Jupiter’s moon Europa’s fractured and frozen surface, this moon may be the most plausible known candidate for extraterrestrial life. Researchers believe that Europa, a planet far smaller than Earth, may have a deep ocean that is twice as large as all of Earth’s oceans put together.

However, we are aware that ice varies. The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, for instance, observed Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko up close and discovered a distinct type of water ice from that which is found on Earth.


Over the course of our more than 60-year space exploration, we have been fortunate enough to obtain up-close images of dozens of celestial objects. The fact that we have launched spacecraft to every planet in our solar system, including Pluto and Ceres, two minor planets, and Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, is particularly noteworthy.

NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2, which departed Earth more than 40 years ago and are still sending out data from interstellar space, accounted for the majority of the flybys. Due to the outer planets’ favorable alignment, the Voyagers were able to visit Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune collectively.


There is currently no proof that life lives anywhere else in the solar system, according to scientists. However, new options for where “extreme” bacteria might reside on distant worlds become available as we get more knowledge about how they survive in cold habitats or underwater volcanic vents.

The likelihood of microbial life on Mars is now thought to be high enough that scientists sterilize spaceships before visiting the planet. As opposed to running the risk of contaminating Europa’s potentially habitable oceans, NASA decided to crash its Galileo spacecraft into Jupiter.

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