The Solar System is the gravitationally bound system of the Sun and the objects that orbit it, either directly or indirectly. Of the objects that orbit the Sun directly, the largest are the eight planets, with the remainder being smaller objects, the dwarf planets, and small Solar System bodies. Of the objects that orbit the Sun indirectly—the natural satellites—two are larger than the smallest planet, Mercury.
Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor and support life. About 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. The remaining 70.8% is covered with water, mostly by oceans, seas, gulfs, other salt-water bodies, lakes, rivers, and another freshwater, which constitute the hydrosphere. In addition, much of Earth's polar regions are covered in ice.
Earth's outer layer is divided into several rigid tectonic plates that migrate across the surface over millions of years. Its interior remains active with a solid iron inner core, a liquid outer core that generates Earth's magnetic field, and a convective mantle that drives plate tectonics. Earth's atmosphere consists mostly of nitrogen and oxygen.
A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and – according to the International Astronomical Union but not all planetary scientists – has cleared its neighboring region of planetesimals.