The solar system and galaxies are completely different things that sometimes lead to confusion and misunderstandings among some students. In advance it is good to clarify that galaxy and solar system are not the same. They have totally different characteristics that, once taken into consideration, make it easy to differentiate between one issue and another.
If you have doubts about the difference between the solar system and the galaxy or are simply looking for a little more information to complement what you already know, then continue reading, because below we explain everything you need to know in around this interesting topic.
The solar system is a specific type of system, characterized by having the sun (a star) as its center. In this way, it consists of the set of things that orbit a sun or one of the planets that orbits a star. For example, the moon is part of the solar system.
The solar system in which the planet Earth that we inhabit is found was formed thousands and millions of years ago. The planets that compose it are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Planets that are composed mostly of rocks, metals, and gases like helium and hydrogen.
Also, the solar system contains a large number of regions that are populated by small objects. Some of these objects are called dwarf planets (as is the case with Pluto) and they are large enough to maintain their rounded shape thanks to gravity.
On the other hand, the word galaxy derives from the Greek “galaxias”, which means “milky” and is used as a reference to the milky way.
A galaxy is much larger than a solar system. They contain an immense number of planets and solar systems. In the midst of all the objects that a galaxy can contain is cosmic dust, interstellar gases, and cosmic rays.
In general, in the center of galaxies there is a massive black hole and they are usually categorized depending on the shape they exhibit. For example, there are elliptical, spiral, curved, disk-shaped galaxies, and several more. Those that have irregular shapes are grouped under the category of irregular galaxies.
Finally, the solar system to which we belong (one among many) is located in the Milky Way, a galaxy that contains more than 200 thousand million stars. A solar system may be part of a galaxy, but a galaxy will never be within its solar systems.