Could you help me sorting this list in terms of total mass carried by these classes of objects?

  • The star (Sun) - it's very big but only one.
  • The planets (incl. dwarf planets). Certainly beaten by the Sun, but...
  • the asteroids, meteorites, comets, all that rubble. They aren't heavy individually but there's a lot of them.
  • the interplanetary medium. It's very low density, but it overshadows the rest by far in terms of volume occupied.

I'm not sure where to attach the moons - some of them are larger than some dwarf planets, some are definitely more asteroid-sized. I guess - whoever decides to answer this, is free to pick where they'd like to include the moons (or maybe to split them between the two classes, say, attaching the ones with hydrostatic equilibrium to dwarf planets, and bundling the rest with the rubble)?

  • $\begingroup$ Inspired by this factoid: "there's roughly as much humans as ants on Earth, by mass." $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 7:54
  • $\begingroup$ For info there are a few Oort cloud mass estimates here: adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1983A&A...118...90W said 1.9 Earth masses and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oort_cloud says five times. Somewhat variable... $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Andy: still far from the mass of Jupiter. Also, the difference may come from including/excluding Oort cloud objects: gas alone, or gas+asteroids+dwarf planets. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 13:32
  • $\begingroup$ A question: are you just looking for any group that has more combined mass than Jupiter, or do you want a mass distribution between the main classes listed in the question? (Also, there would have been many objects ejected over time, but these in total don't match Jupiter either I think.) $\endgroup$
    – Andy
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 14:53
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    $\begingroup$ @Andy: Primarily, a clue what the total mass of interplanetary medium, and the total mass of all the "rubble" is, compared to the planets. Are the planets actually the biggest concentration of mass in the Solar System (other than the Sun of course) or are they merely the biggest concentration of mass... $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


The sun by far occupies the largest part of the solar system's mass. The mass of the sun happens to be approximately $(1.98855±0.00025)×10^{30}$ kg. Which is immensely huge. By comparison the inter-planetary medium though may occupy a large volume is nowhere dense enough to even compare to the mass of the sun which is approximately 99% of the solar system's mass.

The mass of all planets combined by comparison happens to be approximately $2.6634×10^{27}$kg. As far as interplanetary matter is concerned, its density is to low and its volume is pretty hard to define so mass remains a highly variable quantity.

Moons and asteroids account only for a fraction of the mass of the solar system though they happen to be present in large numbers.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you put some numbers in please about the mass of the interplanetary medium, the mass contained in rubble/asteroids and the mass of the Oort cloud. $\endgroup$
    – ProfRob
    Commented Apr 4, 2016 at 7:38

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