I bet when someone tells you about the solar system you think of the Sun, the eight planets and, depending on your age, Pluto - which until recently was a planet. But the solar system goes far beyond that, and there are countless fascinating spots. That's why we've prepared this list with the ten largest bodies in the solar system, but disregarding the planets.
Pluto is not the largest object that is not a planet, even though we have already considered it as a planet. In fact, that title goes to Ganymede, one of Jupiter's numerous moons. In fact, Ganymede is even larger than the planet Mercury, exceeding the size of the planet that honors the messenger god by 8%.
(NASA / JPL-Caltech / University of Arizona / University of Idaho).
Titan, a moon of Saturn, is also larger than Mercury and Pluto. Titan is perhaps the most fascinating world in the solar system - the moon is one of the four most promising locations for life around. Plus, we always talk about Titan in Socientific, with all its atmospheric, environmental and geological complexity.
This time a little smaller, but still Mercury-like in size, Callisto looks like a party lighting, but is one of the Galilean moons (discovered by Galileo Galilei) of Jupiter.
(NASA / JPL / University of Arizona).
The name is strange, but it really is called Io. And yes, it is another moon in the solar system. With over 400 active volcanoes, Io is the most geologically active body in the entire solar system. Through geological activity, it produces many mountains. Several of its more than one hundred mountains are taller than Mount Everest.
(Luc Viatour / Wikimedia Commons).
Now enters our beloved Moon. She is beautiful, in our sky. However, she is not as fascinating as the other bodies of the solar system.
I'm not talking about the continent. This is another moon with a peculiar name. She is another of the Galilean moons, and also quite friendly to life. The moon Europa is also quite complex, and is another recurring theme here at Socientific.
Moving away from Jupiter and Saturn, we have Neptune's largest moon, called Triton. In the past, Triton was part of the Kuiper Belt, and was the largest object there. However, Neptune's gravity captured it many millions of years ago, so Triton ceased to be an asteroid and became a moon.
(NASA / Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory / Southwest Research Institute).
In 2006, for various reasons, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) made Pluto a dwarf planet. One of the reasons was the discovery in 2005 of Eris - our next member. Before, humanity was not so fascinated with Pluto, but since the New Horizons probe approached it, several studies have emerged showingthe beauty of our former planet.
(ESO/L. Calçada and Nick Risinger).
It is only slightly smaller than Pluto - their sizes are about equal. But Eris is considerably more massive than Pluto, so why was one a planet and the other a dwarf planet? That's how Pluto lost its title.
Representing Uranus, here is its largest moon - Titania. It is much smaller in size than Eris and Pluto. With virtually no atmosphere, it is not such a fascinating body, but it may have a very thin layer of liquid water below the ice on its surface.
Why are none of the ten largest bodies in the solar system a planet?
The answer is simple - because they don't meet the minimum requirements for a planet. A planet needs to have enough gravitational force to be a spheroid (everyone on the list does), orbit the Sun (which moons don't) and clear their orbits of large amounts of space debris (which is where dwarf planets sin).