Ch 31: Solar System Components & Characteristics

About This Chapter

Use our video lessons to refresh your knowledge of the planets in our solar system. Get information on types of galaxies as well as on meteorites, asteroids and comets.

Solar System Components & Characteristics - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, you'll study the planets in our solar system, learning about characteristics including orbits, atmospheres and their moons. The dwarf planets are also covered. Other lessons look at objects in the solar system, such as meteorites, meteoroids, asteroids and comets.

Our instructors also provide information on types of galaxies and theories on how they were formed. By the time you've finished these lessons, you should know about:

  • The inner and outer planets
  • Planetary geology
  • Characteristics of individual planets
  • Moons
  • Satellite formation
  • Classifications and characteristics of meteorites
  • Shooting stars
  • Origin of asteroids
  • Properties of comets
  • Dwarf planets
  • The formation of galaxies

Our brief video lessons illustrate what you're studying, and our instructors know how to make the learning fun. You'll be able to assess your knowledge with the multiple-choice quizzes that follow each lesson, and video tags in the videos let you quickly return to portions you need to review. You can study as your schedule permits, on a computer, smartphone or tablet.

16 Lessons in Chapter 31: Solar System Components & Characteristics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Inner Planets of the Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars

1. Inner Planets of the Solar System: Mercury, Venus, Earth & Mars

Take a tour of the four inner planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. Known as the terrestrial planets, find out what makes each of them unique and how they are different from the outer planets, the gas giants.

Planetary Geology: The Study of Celestial Bodies

2. Planetary Geology: The Study of Celestial Bodies

Planetary geology is a field of geology that explores celestial bodies like planets, moons, comets, and asteroids. Scientists use a variety of advanced techniques and procedures to carry out their research on these distant bodies.

Outer Planets of the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

3. Outer Planets of the Solar System: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune

Take a tour of the outer planets of our solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Find out what makes each of these gas giants unique and learn about Pluto, a dwarf planet.

Jupiter's Important Properties

4. Jupiter's Important Properties

This lesson will go over the basic but important concepts related to Jupiter's interior, atmosphere, moons, and ring. You'll learn whether Jupiter is mainly a gaseous, liquid, or rocky planet!

Saturn's Major Characteristics

5. Saturn's Major Characteristics

This lesson will describe for you what Saturn is made of, how it compares to the Earth and Jupiter, and some interesting things about its rings and moon.

Uranus's Moons, Rings, Atmosphere & Rotation

6. Uranus's Moons, Rings, Atmosphere & Rotation

This lesson will explore the planet Uranus, its atmosphere, internal layers, rings, moons, and much more. You'll learn why Uranus has such an interesting color and why it doesn't have the cool clouds Jupiter has.

Neptune's Moons, Rings, Atmosphere & Temperature

7. Neptune's Moons, Rings, Atmosphere & Temperature

This lesson will go over the major components of Neptune's atmosphere, interior, color, and why it is as warm as Uranus despite being farther away from the Sun.

Moons of the Jovian Planets

8. Moons of the Jovian Planets

This lesson will introduce you to four well-known Jovian satellites called Titan, Triton, Miranda, and Ganymede. You'll be able to appreciate how vastly different just four of the hundreds of moons in our solar system are.

Satellite Formation in Our Solar System

9. Satellite Formation in Our Solar System

This lesson will describe regular, irregular, collision fragments, captured asteroids, and other types of satellites orbiting around the planets of the solar system.

Meteorite Classifications & Characteristics

10. Meteorite Classifications & Characteristics

This lesson will go over the major types of meteorites and their major subclasses. Important terms and concepts we'll cover include the iron meteorites, stony-iron meteorites, stony meteorites, and carbonaceous chondrites.

Meteoroids: Origin & Orbits

11. Meteoroids: Origin & Orbits

This lesson will describe the origins of meteoroids, what comets have to do with their orbits, and the parent bodies of the meteorites we find on Earth.

The Formation of Shooting Stars

12. The Formation of Shooting Stars

This lesson will explain to you the differences between a meteor, meteoroid, and meteorite as well as how falling stars form and what the different kinds of meteorites are.

Asteroids: Origin & Properties

13. Asteroids: Origin & Properties

This lesson will go over the history, origin, and orbit of asteroids. You'll also learn which asteroids are the most common type and what NEOs, Apollo objects, and many other objects are.

Comets: Origin & Properties

14. Comets: Origin & Properties

This lesson will define and discuss comets, a coma, dust tail, gas tail, sublimation, the composition of comets and their origins in the Oort cloud and Kuiper belt.

Dwarf Planets of the Solar System: Pluto, Eris, Haumea & Ceres

15. Dwarf Planets of the Solar System: Pluto, Eris, Haumea & Ceres

Discover why Pluto had to leave the league of planets and was downgraded to a dwarf planet. Learn the definitions for planet and dwarf planet. Find out about the currently classified dwarf planets in our solar system: Pluto, Eris, Ceres, Haumea and Makemake.

Galaxy Formation: Spiral, Elliptical & Irregular Galaxies

16. Galaxy Formation: Spiral, Elliptical & Irregular Galaxies

This lesson explains how galaxies form, starting with the Big Bang. You'll also learn about the solar nebula hypothesis and three galaxy types, including spiral, elliptical, and irregular galaxies.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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