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About the Solar System

Quick Quiz

Puzzle your own solar system

Look up at the sky during the day and you might see some clouds, maybe a few airplane vapour trails or even birds flying above. But look up at the sky at night and a whole universe opens up for your discovery and exploration. Now you can explore the planets in our solar system with our Planetary Solar System 3D Puzzle collection.

This fantastic set of eight 3D puzzles lets you puzzle each planet in our solar system. The set includes a detailed booklet with information about our solar system, as well as instructions about how you can display your completed puzzles like a solar system from the ceiling in your room.

With this collection of 8 different 3D puzzles you can build and create the solar system in your own room. The 3D puzzles are scaled to roughly represent the different sizes of the planets; Saturn and Jupiter are represented as 108pc puzzles, Uranus and Neptune as 72pc, Earth and Venus as 54pc and Mars and Mercury as 27pc puzzles. This is a total of 522 pieces in all.

Each puzzle is made from curved, high-quality plastic pieces, which are numbered on the inside for easy assembly. Each "planet" comes with its own stand and the whole set can either sit on the colourful solar system poster (which includes facts about each of the planets) or be suspended by thread. The set also includes a kit which assembles into a mobile to represent the sun, and a fact-filled information booklet for all budding astronomers out there!

- For ages 7 years+
- Shaped plastic pieces
- Builds into a sturdy and strong model
- No glue required!
- Pieces are numbered on the back for easy assembly

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Join us on a journey through the solar system with a puzzle

Together we can explore our solar system

The solar system is simply the name for the sun and all the objects in its gravitational field that orbit around it, like the planets and their moons, all the comets, asteroids and meteoroids, the Asteroid Belt and the Kuiper Belt. Scientists think that the edge of the solar system is about 9 billion miles from the sun. Today our word “planets” come from the ancient Greeks, which means “wanderers” because of the way the planets move around the night sky.

Many scientists believe our solar system was formed when a giant, rotating cloud of gas and dust known as the solar nebula collapsed because of its gravity. It started to spin faster and faster and eventually flattened into a disk, pulling most of the material toward the center, which eventually formed the sun. Other particles within the disk collided and stuck together to become the asteroids, comets, moons and planets.

If it were possible to start your journey at the sun and then fly outward, you will encounter the planets in a very specific order. The planet closest to the sun is Mercury, then Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and the last of the gas giants is Neptune.

Mercury

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and orbits the sun faster than any other planet. It is named after the fast-footed messenger of the Roman gods. Because it is so close to the sun, the surface temperature can reach as high as 450 degrees Celsius while the temperatures at night can drop to minus 170 degrees Celsius.

Mercury is also our solar systems’ smallest planet and is in fact only slightly larger than Earth’s moon and about 75% of its diameter is made up of the inner metallic core. The surface of Mercury is scarred by countless craters and it looks a little like the surface of the moon.

Venus

Travelling outward from the sun, Venus is the second planet you will come to. It is almost the same size as the Earth and its surface is covered in various mountains and volcanos. But these are the only features you will recognise, because Venus and Earth could not be more different. For one thing, Venus spins on its axel in the opposite direction to Earth, so on Venus the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

Its atmosphere is highly toxic and made up of thick sulfuric acid clouds and it is scorching hot on the surface - around 465 degrees Celsius – this is hot enough to melt lead. Not to mention the crushing pressure on the planet. The winds on Venus blow around at hurricane speeds, all the time.

Venus

Travelling outward from the sun, Venus is the second planet you will come to. It is almost the same size as the Earth and its surface is covered in various mountains and volcanos. But these are the only features you will recognise, because Venus and Earth could not be more different. For one thing, Venus spins on its axel in the opposite direction to Earth, so on Venus the sun rises in the west and sets in the east.

Its atmosphere is highly toxic and made up of thick sulfuric acid clouds and it is scorching hot on the surface - around 465 degrees Celsius – this is hot enough to melt lead. Not to mention the crushing pressure on the planet. The winds on Venus blow around at hurricane speeds, all the time.

Earth

Our home planet. We live on the third planet from the sun and as far as we know, it is the only place in our solar system inhabited by life and liquid water on the surface. We are about 93 million miles from the sun and it takes the sun’s light about 8 minutes to reach us.

It takes our Earth 24 hours to spin around its own axel once, and it takes 365 days to orbit around the sun once. Although the Earth does not have any spectacular rings like some of the other planets, we do have a moon. On 20 July 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the first humans to walk on the moon. To date, 24 humans have travelled to the moon and 12 have walked on the surface.

One of the things that makes our earth so special is its atmosphere. It is 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% other ingredients – which is the perfect balance to sustain life as we know it. Our atmosphere is almost like a protective shield and helps to break up incoming meteoroids before they can strike the surface.

Mars

Known as the Red Planet, Mars is the fourth planet on our journey from the sun. It is a dusty, cold desert with a very thin atmosphere. With its polar ice caps, weather systems, impressive canyons and extinct volcanos, it is a very dynamic planet with a very active past.

A year on Mars is almost two Earth years at 687 days. Mars has two moons called Phobos and Deimos. Mars cannot support life as we know it.

Mars

Known as the Red Planet, Mars is the fourth planet on our journey from the sun. It is a dusty, cold desert with a very thin atmosphere. With its polar ice caps, weather systems, impressive canyons and extinct volcanos, it is a very dynamic planet with a very active past.

A year on Mars is almost two Earth years at 687 days. Mars has two moons called Phobos and Deimos. Mars cannot support life as we know it.

Jupiter

By far the biggest planet in our solar system and the fifth planet you will reach in your journey away from the sun. Jupiter is so big, if you combine all the other planets, Jupiter is more than two times bigger than all of them together. Probably best known for its iconic Red Spot, the beautiful colours and stripes surrounding the planet are actually cold, windy clouds of ammonia and water which float in an atmosphere of helium and hydrogen. The Red Spot itself is a massive storm that is bigger than the whole planet Earth, and it has been raging for hundreds of years.

Jupiter spins around its own axel extremely fast and takes only 10 hours to make one rotation. Considering how big Jupiter is, this is very fast indeed. Jupiter takes about 12 Earth years to make one orbit around the sun, and it has more than 75 moons, 53 of which are names leaving 26 still to be officially names.

Saturn

Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system and the 6th planet from the sun. It is one of the most easily recognised planets due to the impressive rings surrounding the planet. These rings are made of chunks of ice and rock which reflect the sun’s light and glisten in our solar system like a jewel.

Saturn is a gas giant and does not have a solid surface like the Earth and it cannot support life as we know it. Saturn has 53 known moons but there could be as many as 82, and it is very possible that one or some of Saturn’s moons might have the right combination of conditions to support life. Saturn is so big, if you placed 9 Earths next to each other, side by side, it would almost reach Saturn’s diameter.

Saturn

Saturn is the second largest planet in our solar system and the 6th planet from the sun. It is one of the most easily recognised planets due to the impressive rings surrounding the planet. These rings are made of chunks of ice and rock which reflect the sun’s light and glisten in our solar system like a jewel.

Saturn is a gas giant and does not have a solid surface like the Earth and it cannot support life as we know it. Saturn has 53 known moons but there could be as many as 82, and it is very possible that one or some of Saturn’s moons might have the right combination of conditions to support life. Saturn is so big, if you placed 9 Earths next to each other, side by side, it would almost reach Saturn’s diameter.

Uranus

Uranus is a very interesting planet, for one thing, it is known as the “sideways planet” because it rotates on its side unlike any other planets. It was the first planet to be discovered using a telescope by astronomer William Herschel in 1781, although he initially thought it was a comet or even a star.

The ice giant planet is nearly four times bigger than our Earth, and like Saturn, Jupiter and Neptune, Uranus also has rings around it, these are just not as impressive and visible as Saturn’s rings. Uranus is the 7th planet from the sun and it takes about 84 earth years to orbit the sun. Like Venus, it rotates east to west and of course, on its side.

Neptune

Neptune lives on the very far edges of the solar system and it is a dark and cold planet surrounded by supersonic winds. It is the 8th and most distant planet and more than 30 times further from the sun than Earth. It is the only planet not visible with the naked eye and scientists predicted its existence using mathematics long before the planet was actually discovered.

It takes 165 Earth years for Neptune to orbit the sun once, which means since its discovery in 1846, it has only orbited the sun once in all that time. Neptune is an ice giant and most of its mass is made of hot, dense fluid of ice materials like water, methane and ammonia. It has 14 moons and they are all named after sea gods and nymphs from Greek mythology.

Did you know? Even though the dwarf planet Pluto is further away than Neptune, because of its elliptical orbit, it is sometimes closer to the sun than Neptune.

Neptune

Neptune lives on the very far edges of the solar system and it is a dark and cold planet surrounded by supersonic winds. It is the 8th and most distant planet and more than 30 times further from the sun than Earth. It is the only planet not visible with the naked eye and scientists predicted its existence using mathematics long before the planet was actually discovered.

It takes 165 Earth years for Neptune to orbit the sun once, which means since its discovery in 1846, it has only orbited the sun once in all that time. Neptune is an ice giant and most of its mass is made of hot, dense fluid of ice materials like water, methane and ammonia. It has 14 moons and they are all named after sea gods and nymphs from Greek mythology.

Did you know? Even though the dwarf planet Pluto is further away than Neptune, because of its elliptical orbit, it is sometimes closer to the sun than Neptune.

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