What is Earth's Position in the Solar System?

Earth, Moon and Sun
••• m-gucci/iStock/Getty Images

The term "solar system" refers generally to a star and any objects under the influence of its gravitational field. The solar system that includes Earth consists of the star known as the sun, a number of planets, an asteroid belt, numerous comets and other objects. Earth's position in this roughly disk-like arrangement provides the opportunity for life, as known to humankind, to arise.

Arrangement of the Solar System

The solar system includes eight planets and one planetoid, or dwarf planet -- Pluto. The inner four planets -- Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars -- are called terrestrial planets; these are smaller, solid and "Earth-like." The outer four -- Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune -- are termed Jovian planets; they are large, mostly gaseous and are "Jupiter-like." Pluto was declassified as a planet in 2006, as it more strongly resembles an oversized comet than anything else.

Earth in the Greater Scheme

Earth is the third planet from the sun and orbits at an average distance of 93 million miles, meaning that it takes sunlight about eight minutes to arrive. As you move outward from the sun, the planets are spaced increasingly farther apart. Jupiter is about five times as far from the sun as earth, while Neptune is some thirty times farther.

Related Articles

The Ordinal Position of the Planets
Most Common Elements in the Solar System
What Are the Similarities & Differences Between the...
The Difference Between Pluto & Gas Giants
Distances Between the Planets in the Milky Way
Examples Of Planetesimals
What Are the Elements of Uranus?
What Is the Distance From the Sun to Mercury?
How to Compare Earth to Neptune
What Are the Two Major Components of an Atom?
How Does the Earth's Revolution Affect Its Seasons?
The Characteristics of Comets, Meteors & Asteroids
Characteristics of a Dwarf Planet
Orbital Radius vs. Planetary Radius
Differences Between Dwarf Planets, Comets, Asteroids...
Circumference of the Planets in Miles
The Effects of the Moon Phases on Ocean Tides
The Weather on Each Planet
What Is the Diploid Number?

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!