If you have ever wondered what are the eight planets, you are not alone. Most people are curious about these questions, and they often look for answers to them in popular songs and movies. The most popular songs on this topic include “The Planet Song” by Mr. R. and “The Planet Song” by Kids Learning Tube. While most people want to know how the planets are ordered by distance, there are several other methods.
It was a long debate between astronomers over whether Pluto was a planet. In 1908, Venetia Burney, a young Oxford girl, suggested that Pluto be named after the Roman god of the underworld, Pluto. The Lowell Observatory later selected Venetia’s name for Pluto. Today, Pluto is a planet in the solar system and is a member of the Kuiper Belt.
Before Pluto was classified as a planet in 2006, astronomers had been discovering more objects similar to it. Scientists had to decide whether to add these objects to the planet list or remove Pluto from the list entirely. The decision to de-classify Pluto came at a critical moment, though. They were worried that the public would reject too many of these objects and start a new debate. Fortunately, it turned out to be a positive development for scientists and for Pluto’s future.
In addition to Earth and Pluto, the solar system has three dwarf planets, Ceres and Eris. Earth, Venus and Mars are the inner planets while Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are the outermost. Pluto, now called a dwarf planet, has an elliptical orbit around the sun, which makes it the ninth largest object in the solar system.
Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system and the first of the gas giants. Its ebullient atmosphere is made mostly of hydrogen, giving it the bright and colorful cloud patterns that we recognize. Jupiter’s greatest storm is the Great Red Spot, which is twice the size of Earth. The giant planet has 63 moons and a faint ring system. If you visit Jupiter today, you may be surprised to learn that it has the same composition as Earth!
Jupiter is made up of hydrogen and helium. It has no solid surface, although it may have a solid inner core. The planet’s rings are too faint to see, and it lacks a well-defined solid surface. Two spacecraft, the Galileo and the Pioneer 10, orbited the planet and came within one million miles of the planet’s surface. Today, you can even build 3D glasses to observe Jupiter.
Saturn, the sixth planet from the sun, is the second largest planet. Its pale yellow color is caused by ammonia crystals in its upper atmosphere. This planet has a prominent ring system consisting of rings of varying sizes and speeds. They are between 6 and 120 thousand kilometers thick and range in size from dust specks to ten meters thick. Saturn has a mean temperature of -300 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to being a planet, Saturn is also a deity and a former automobile manufacturer. Its name derives from the Roman god of wealth, Saturn. In addition to its rocky composition, Saturn is the sixth planet in our solar system. The symbol for Saturn was first derived from the Greek Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Later, the name was shortened to eta.
The rings of Saturn are actually millions of floating debris. These debris may be as small as dust or as large as houses, but Saturn’s gravity holds them together. The rings of Saturn are also filled with shepherd moons. The largest moon, Titan, is similar to Earth in size. It has an atmosphere to protect it from radiation, and it may have an ocean below its surface. It also contains elements needed for life, making it a potential home for human colonization.
Besides being one of the eight planets, Uranus has a unique day-night cycle. At its poles, the planet has 42 years of day and 42 years of night. Fortunately, it experiences a similar cycle on its average. The equator of Uranus faces the Sun during the summer solstice, so at these times, the planet is at its closest to the Sun.
The atmosphere of Uranus is made up of similar gases to those found on Jupiter and Saturn, making it a suitable candidate for research. This planet has a unique sideways tilt, long, dark winters, and a minimum temperature of 49 K. Voyager 2, the only mission to study the planet, made a close approach to its atmosphere in 1986 and continued to Neptune. While this mission did not go into great detail about Uranus, the findings were quite interesting.
The name “Uranus” is derived from the Greek god of the same name. However, it has many names and is commonly referred to as “the seventh planet.”
Voyager II, NASA’s spacecraft, first observed the atmosphere of Neptune in 1989. The atmosphere of Neptune is a dynamic system with ever-changing clouds that range in temperature from -240 to -330 degrees Fahrenheit. Voyager II also observed bright, white cirrus clouds on Neptune. Despite Neptune’s cold temperature, its atmosphere is still remarkably similar to that of Uranus.
The name Neptune comes from the Roman god of the sea, Poseidon. It is also believed to be the son of TitanCronus and Zeus. Neptune was the second planet discovered by a telescope. The planet’s orbit is nearly 164 years long. Neptune has 14 moons. These moons are named after famous Greek myths. Although Neptune is 30 times farther than Earth, its orbit is not as close as that of Earth.
While Uranus is the first planet discovered by mathematical models, Neptune is the eighth planet in our solar system and is one of the gas giants. It is 1.5 times farther from the Sun than Uranus, but is the same temperature. Neptune’s moon is the coldest object in the solar system, while its surface is nearly invisible to the naked eye. It takes 163 years to orbit the sun, and is the second most distant planet from the Sun.
Pluto’s moon Charon
The New Horizons space probe recently sauntered by the dwarf planet Pluto. Scientists from the SETI Institute have since determined that Pluto’s moon, Charon, has a very unusual orbit. In fact, Charon rotates once for every orbit it makes around Pluto. As a result, Charon appears to have a near-side and a far-side, unlike other moons that orbit in reverse.
Although both moons have atmospheres, Pluto’s moon has none. Charon’s composition is 55% rock and 45% ice. It lacks an atmosphere. However, scientists have found a reddish polar region on Charon, which is believed to be made of tholins, compounds based on nitrogen and methane that were carried from Pluto. Similarly, the moon’s massive belt of tectonic fracturing may be evidence that something tried to tear Charon apart.
The five known moons of Pluto are named Nix, Kerberos, Hydra, and Styx. Charon is the largest of these satellites, and is far bigger than any other moon in the solar system. The other four are smaller, but do not keep the same face to Pluto. These moons are also grouped in orbital resonance systems. The orbital periods of all moons are linked in a series of cycles.
Earth is the fifth-largest planet in our solar system. It is a rocky planet with a diameter of 12,756 km and is the densest. This density comes from the abundance of heavy metals, including iron, which dominates the planet’s core. Earth is one of the most geologically active planets, with one moon. Here’s how the other planets measure up against each other.
The solar system consists of eight planets, including Earth. The largest planet is Jupiter, with a radius of about 11,500 kilometers. The fourth largest planet, Saturn, is about 9.5 times as large as Earth. Uranus and Neptune are similarly sized to Earth. Although they’re small, they’re surprisingly similar in size and composition. Fortunately for us, Earth has a fairly dense atmosphere, unlike Mercury.
The inner planets are relatively close to the Sun, and the outer ones are farther away. The outer planets are larger, but not by much. They’re not evenly distributed in size, which is one of the reasons why they’re called ‘outer planets’. Mercury, on the other hand, is two-fifths the size of Earth. Its rocky composition means it formed from molten rock, and slowly cooled over hundreds of millions of years.
Distances from the sun
The distances of the eight planets from the Sun vary according to their elliptical orbits. The Earth’s distance from the Sun is 150 million km (93 million miles) from its nearest perihelion, while that of Mercury is 222 millions kilometers (143 million miles) from its farthest aphelion. The distance between two planets changes constantly, however, due to these different orbital paths. The table below indicates the average distances between the planets, measured in astronomical units (AU).
The distance between Earth and Neptune is 74,900 miles (119.3 million kilometers) and is too distant to be seen without a telescope. The distance between Uranus and Earth changes slightly because they orbit in ellipses. However, the distances of the planets from the Sun vary from 4.3 to 4.7 billion kilometers. Neptune is 30 times farther away from the sun than Earth, making it the outermost of the major planets.