The planet count in our solar system has gone as high as 15 before new discoveries
prompted a fine tuning of the definition of a planet. The most recent change was in
2006 when scientists reclassified Pluto as a new kind of object - a dwarf planet.
This new class of worlds helps us categorize objects that orbit the Sun but aren't
quite the same as the rocky planets and gas giants in our solar system. There could
be hundreds more of these small worlds far out there waiting to be discovered.
This count includes only the moons orbiting the eight planets in our solar system.
It is likely there are more moons orbiting the giant planets of our solar system and
there are moons orbiting around dwarf planets and asteroids.
New asteroids are discovered on an almost daily basis. It is estimated that the
mineral wealth of the asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter is about
$100,000,000 for every person on Earth.
Orbiting spacecraft such as SOHO have raised this tally in recent years by catching
the comets as they plunge toward the Sun - and sometimes vaporize. Scientists
estimate there could be as many as 1,000,000,000 comets held in the gravitational
grip of the Sun.