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The Solar System

A giant plume of hot gas explodes from the Sun's surface.A giant plume of hot gas explodes from the Sun's surface.

A middle-aged star, planets large and small, moons of almost endless variety, and a whole lot of leftovers make up our own little cosmic oasis of light and life. It's an oasis that we are still striving to understand -- and that humans may someday explore in person.

In the winter of 1504, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus watched as the planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn grouped close together in the evening sky. As he tracked them from night to night, he was troubled, because the planets bunched closest to each other about 10 days later than predicted by reference tables of planetary motions. More »

Ongoing Explorations


Teacher Copies

Request a free copy of The Solar System or Beyond the Solar System for your classroom. Bulk copies are available for $1.50 each in quantities of 30 or more. Shipping is included. Call 512-471-5285 for orders of 30 or more.

NASAThe Astro Guides for the Solar System and Beyond the Solar System are supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant Nos. NNG04G131G and NAG5-13147, respectively.