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What Are The Different Types of Planets in Space?

We all know that there are many different types of planets in space. We know about the Earth-like planets, the Giant planets, the Orphan planets and comets. But what about the rest of them? What is their story? How do they fit into the scheme of things? How do we get to know more about them? Continue reading to learn more about these intriguing planets. And be sure to share your observations and theories.

Earth-like planets

Two Earth-like planets were discovered recently, both about 33 light years from Earth. Scientists are still trying to determine if these worlds are capable of supporting life. One of the new planets is in the TRAPPIST-1 system, where seven rocky planets orbit the star. One of them may even be home to life. Another world, HD 260655c, is about 1.5 times as large as Earth and orbits the star in five days.

To be considered an Earth-like world, a planet must be rocky, roughly Earth-sized, and orbit a star similar to the Sun. In addition, it must be within the habitable zone of its star, the distance at which a rocky planet can harbor liquid water and life. Scientists have previously estimated that there are 4,000 confirmed exoplanets and many more candidates. However, if these worlds are indeed Earth-like, they will likely be very different from one another.

The Earth’s atmosphere is oxygen-rich. Photosynthetic life evolved on Earth, so its atmosphere is an indication of that existence. However, finding an Earth analog may not be as simple as it sounds. This planet would also face a challenge because its atmosphere was once not oxygen-rich. If such a planet were discovered, it would be difficult to distinguish it from Earth. Alternatively, it could be a moon.

Giant planets

Gas giants are characterized by their lack of a distinct surface and the presence of liquid states in between. This means that they cannot be landed on in the conventional sense. However, these planets have solid materials near their centers, making their transition from gas to liquid a smooth one. Jupiter, for example, has a core made up of metallic hydrogen, with traces of other gases lingering just above its critical point.

Infrared and visual studies can constrain the thermal histories of these giant planets. By using these techniques, planetary scientists can better understand how the Earth’s atmosphere behaves at different times. Observations can reveal the presence of clouds and storms, which can provide clues about their physical properties. But how are we to interpret the thermal histories of giant planets? These studies can provide answers to the basic questions about planets in our solar system and beyond.

Although the outer solar system has a large population of exoplanets, their radii are often too large to be explained by “standard” theories of giant planet cooling. The radii of more than fifty transiting planets have been measured, and 40 percent have radii far larger than predicted by standard cooling models. By understanding how giant planets formed, we can better characterize and interpret their evolution, and we can learn more about the mysterious number of exoplanets we have discovered.

Orphan planets

Orphan planets are a rare class of distant worlds that wander the stars alone. According to a study by an international team of astronomers, the Milky Way is littered with them. That means that for every star in our galaxy, one or two orphan planets are wandering around, lost in space for billions of years. These wandering planets could be hiding out in obscurity.

In our own solar system, orphan planets form after a planet has grown too big for its home star. This process is called gravitational lensing. The planets pass between Earth and another star, causing the object’s gravity to bend the light from the star toward us. The resulting light causes the star to become brighter as a result. The same process happens with orphan planets. In many cases, astronomers have uncovered orphan planets that are too small to be observed with telescopes.

The discovery of orphan planets is a big step in the quest for finding extrasolar worlds. Previously, scientists had only found exoplanets around their hosts’ stars. But now, astronomers have found an entire collection of rogue planets that do not have stars in their neighborhood. It is the largest collection of orphan planets in the known universe. And its location is 420 light years away from Earth.

Comets

If you’ve ever looked at a comet, you know that the surface is made up mostly of dust and ice, but what about its atmosphere? Comets are icy objects that orbit our Sun in extremely elongated orbits. As they near the Sun, the ice and dust on the surface of a comet sublimate into gases, forming a tail of material hundreds of millions of kilometers long. These comets may contain billions of them, and each one is unique.

The orbits of comets vary dramatically. They can have eccentric orbits with periods ranging from thousands of years to several million years. Many comets are so far away that their orbital periods can be millions of years long. Comets may come from as far as Jupiter, or as close as Saturn. Others may pass through our Solar System and enter interstellar space. During one pass, a comet may permanently leave the Solar System.

Among the objects in the Solar System, the most familiar are asteroids. These icy bodies orbit the Sun at a distance of about 50,000 times the distance of Earth. Because space is so vast, collisions between objects are unlikely. But this doesn’t mean that comets don’t exist. There are also icy bodies in our Solar System that have been around for billions of years. It is impossible to estimate how big these comets might be.

Kuiper belt

The observable Kuiper belt contains many objects, some of them smaller than Earth’s moon and some of which have names. Some of the largest objects are named Quaoar, Haumea, Makemake, Orcus, and Varuna. Wikimedia Commons has a well-maintained image of Quaoar. Some of the smaller objects are unnamed, but there is no definitive information on whether they’re planets or simply space rocks.

The Kuiper Belt is vast and cold, consisting primarily of icy objects. These bodies have icy compositions and are thought to have come from a nearby star. The Kuiper Belt is the origin of many comets, including Halley’s Comet, which has been active for the past 16,000-200,000 years. While there are many unknowns about Kuiper Belt planets, we know that many comets are found here. Most short-period comets originate in the Kuiper Belt, and Halley’s Comet is believed to be among them.

Astronomers were puzzled about the origins of comets, and discovered that a vast number of them were coming from outside the solar system. They approach the sun and then head outward toward the outermost regions. Because the orbits of these comets are very short, there must be a source of such an enormous number of objects. The Kuiper Belt was first proposed as an explanation of why such a large number of comets had such short orbits. It was only in 1992 that Pluto was discovered in the Kuiper belt, and then in 2008, David Jewitt and his colleagues discovered an object outside of the orbit of Neptune.

Pluto

The dwarf planet Pluto is the largest body in the Kuiper belt, which is the region of space beyond Neptune’s orbit. It was the first object to be discovered in this area. Pluto remains the largest object known in this region. While the Kuiper belt has many other bodies, Pluto is the only planet to be discovered within this ring. Its existence has made it an object of curiosity and speculation.

Despite its size, Pluto has five known moons. In 2005, scientists captured images of Pluto with the Hubble Space Telescope, in preparation for the New Horizons mission. Two of them are a bit more than a half mile wide, and the fourth is about five miles across. The fifth moon is called Styx and it has a diameter of about six miles (10 km). The discovery of Styx has increased the debate over Pluto’s status.

Pluto is classified as a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union. The IAU’s decision to downgrade Pluto resulted in widespread outrage. Objects similar to Pluto were discovered by astronomers in the years leading up to the reclassification. This forced scientists to decide whether to add new planets to the list or to downgrade Pluto. During the decision-making process, the astronomers did not intend to demote Pluto. In fact, the goal was to elevate the dwarf planets as an alternative classification.