Dear Amy: How does the solar system work? — Carley, Norman, Okla.
Dear Carley: There are a variety of objects orbiting in our solar system, including planets, moons, asteroids and even comets. In the center of the solar system is the sun, and its gravity keeps everything in orbit. The sun's gravity is just the right strength. If it were too strong, we would collide into the sun. If it were too weak, the planets would fly off into space.
Orbiting closest to the sun are the four terrestrial planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Terrestrial planets are mostly made of rock and metals. The other type of planet in our solar system, the gas giant, includes Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. They orbit farther from the sun, and you guessed it! They are mostly composed of various gases and water. Between Mars and Jupiter, you’ll find the asteroid belt, which is full of dust and rocky debris too small to be considered planets. There’s also another belt, called the Kuiper Belt, located beyond the dwarf planet Pluto.
To learn more cool facts about the solar system, check out www.kidsastronomy.com/solar_system.htm. Have fun!
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