Where are we in the Universe?

The Earth is located in the Solar System.

Diagram of the planets that form the Solar System

The Solar System is formed by the Sun, which is in the centre of it, and everything that travels around it.

An easy way to understand this idea is, to think of the Universe as it is a city; the Solar System would be your neighbour and the Earth, our home. Astronomers think the solar system is more than 4 billion years old.

Our solar neighbourhood is formed by eight planets, 140 moons, asteroids, comets, minor planets, and many other objects.

The four planets closest to the Sun—Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars—are called the terrestrial planets because they have solid rocky surfaces. The four large planets beyond Mars—Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—are called gas giants.

The furthest planet is over 4 billion kilometres away from the earth. You can see all of the 8 planets in the sky at night using a telescope or binoculars.

For many thousands of years, humanity did not recognize the existence of the Solar System. People believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe and that the rest of the objects surrounded it. In the 16th, Nicolaus Copernicus was the first to develop a mathematical system that considered the Sun as the center. Later on, in the 17th century, Galileo GalileiJohannes Kepler and Isaac Newton, took his idea further and confirmed that the Earth moves around the Sun, and so do the other planets.