solar system

noun

Definition of solar system

: the sun together with the group of celestial bodies that are held by its attraction and revolve around it also : a similar system centered on another star

Examples of solar system in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In recent years, a number of small worlds in the outer solar system such as Eris, Sedna, and Makemake have joined Pluto in dwarf planet category. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Here's What We Know About Planet Nine," 9 Mar. 2019 Her work is part of an effort to understand the origins of life—not just in our world, but in the solar system—by examining the organisms that thrive in Earth’s most extreme environments. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "The Hunt for Alien Life Starts in Earth’s Most Extreme Places," 9 Apr. 2019 With a diameter of about 3,000 feet (900 meters), Ryugu is one of 17,000 known near-Earth asteroids, and it's made up of some of the most primordial material in the solar system. Megan Gannon, Space.com, "'Crazy' Rocky Surface of Asteroid Ryugu Revealed in MASCOT Lander Images," 13 Oct. 2018 Postberg and his colleagues decided to look at data gathered during E ring flybys between 2004 and 2008, when the instrument was least contaminated by interplanetary dust from elsewhere in the solar system. National Geographic, "Right Stuff for Life Found on Small Saturn Moon," 27 June 2018 In contrast, Ryugu and Bennu fall into the carbonaceous (C-type), or carbon-containing, class of asteroids—the most common space rocks in the solar system. Jeremy Hsu, Scientific American, "Japan’s Hayabusa2 Spacecraft Nears Its Target, the Asteroid Ryugu," 26 June 2018 Asteroids, which orbit the sun but are much smaller than planets, are among the oldest objects in the solar system. Washington Post, "Japan space explorer arrives at asteroid to collect samples," 26 June 2018 About three-quarters of asteroids in the solar system fall into the C-type. Kenneth Chang, New York Times, "Japan’s Hayabusa2 Spacecraft Creeps Up on the Ryugu Asteroid," 25 June 2018 The rest of the objects in the solar system, however, are pulled into elliptical orbits by the gravity of giant planets like Jupiter and Neptune. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Is the Mysterious Planet Nine Just a Swarm of Asteroids?," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'solar system.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of solar system

circa 1704, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

18 May 2019

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Time Traveler for solar system

The first known use of solar system was circa 1704

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More Definitions for solar system

solar system

noun

English Language Learners Definition of solar system

: our sun and the planets that move around it
: a star other than our sun and the planets that move around it

solar system

noun

Kids Definition of solar system

: the sun and the planets, asteroids, comets, and meteors that revolve around it

More from Merriam-Webster on solar system

Britannica English: Translation of solar system for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about solar system

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