A Solar System can simply be defined as the objects that travels around a star. However, it is very important to understand that these so called “objects” may include number of planets, moons, comets, asteroids and meteoroids. In most cases, all the stars that we see in our night sky has their own planets.
This image illustrates the planets & moon of our Solar System
Sun is the star of our solar system. Except Mercury & Venus, all other planets has their own moon. Unlike our planet Earth (Moon) & Neptune (Triton), it is also absolutely normal for planets to have multiple moons. Like Mars has 2 (Phobos, Deimos), Jupiter has 4 (Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto), Saturn has 8 (Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, Hyperion, Lapetus) & Uranus has 5 (Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, Oberon) moon.
In our solar system, we also have numerous objects that can be found within the Asteroid belt and Kuiper belt. These belts are circumstellar disc type region that consists of asteroids, minor planets and other smaller dust like particles.
Asteroid belt is located between the orbital path of planet Mars and Jupitar. Asteroids like Vesta, Pallas and Hygiea are located within this region. Ceres is the only dwarf planet located within this belt.
Kuiper belt the most outer region of our solar system. Very similar to Asteroid belt and it is almost 20 times wider than the other one. It is also the home for three officially recognized “Dwarf Planet” like Pluto, Haumea and Makemake. They all are part of our solar system.
Binary Solar System
Interesting enough that some of the solar system has more than one star which is also known as “Binary Solar System”. By definition such solar system has two star and they are linked by their mutual gravity orbit around a common central point of mass. Germany born British astronomer William Herschel first introduced the idea of “Binary Star” concept in 1802. Mizar and Alcor are the most common example of such solar system.
Type of Binary Stars
In general, Binary star can be defined into the following types according to the method of detection. I expect to write on details of this topic in another post. For today though simply have them in mind.
- Astrometric Binaries
- Eclipsing Binaries
- Spectroscopic Binaries
- Visual Binaries
- Exotic Binaries
Triple/Multiple Solar System
Astronomers has already discovered three star based solar system. Perhaps the closest and the most significant one is “Alpha Centauri“. It consist of three star named as Alpha Centauri A, Alpha Centauri B and Alpha Centauri C. HD 188753 is also another example of triple star system which is approximately 151 light years far away from our sun. As far as the multiple (more than 3) star based solar system is concern, it is almost impossible to define them all as our reach to the universe is very limited. At the same time if the concept of Multiverse is true, then forget about it. We may never be able to categorize them all accurately. Not in our life time that’s for sure.
For better understanding, please watch the video below.
At this point, we can easily say that we have billions of solar systems in our Milky Way Galaxy alone. Rest assure that the number of “objects” travelling around all these stars are beyond our human imagination. It is almost impossible to come up with any number of stars within our galaxy let alone objects. However, our endeavor should not end here. Science will continue to answer some of our questions as we move forward in time.