Planets The planets are called wondering worlds… This is because they are in motion.
Planets Planets cannot be mapped like stars can, because the planets are always moving. Planets do not give off their own light…We see them at night only because they are reflecting the light from the sun!
Planets The four planets nearest the sun are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars These are the “inner planets”
Planets The four planets farthest from the sun are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. These are the “outer planets”
Mercury: The Moonlike Planet Mercury is the smallest planet. It is barren, rocky, and full of craters. It travels at 30 miles per second and is thus called the “speediest planet”
Mercury It orbits the sun in only 88 earth days. Mercury rotates very slow…one “day” is 2/3 of the planets short year. Daylight lasts 176 earth days and so does darkness.
Mercury: The Moonlike Planet Mercury ranges from 29 million miles to 43 million miles from the sun. Parts of the planet get as hot as 797° F.
Venus: Earth’s Nearest Neighbor Venus is the “first star” you see in the evening. It is bright due to the cloud coverage that it has.
Venus It orbits the sun every 225 Earth days. It rotates every 243 Earth days. It is thus, the only planet with a day longer than its year!!!!
Venus Venus is about the same size as Earth and so is called our “twin.”
Venus Venus has no water. It has an atmosphere made of 95% carbon dioxide! Its pressure is 90 times greater than the Earth. Due to the atmosphere of CO 2, it is the hottest planet in the solar system!
Mars: The Red Planet Mars glows red in our sky and so is called the Red Planet. It has three moons: – Phobos – Deimos – Gaspra
Mars Mars is barren. It is rocky with windswept deserts of reddish sand. Mars has violent dust and sand storms.
Mars Mars has polar ice caps that appear white on the surface.
Mars The atmosphere is 95% carbon dioxide. Its temperature is relatively stable (-190 F to 70 F).
Mars The planet has deep canyons and towering volcanoes! The Tharsis Bulge is the location of the most gigantic mountains and valleys in the solar system!
Mars There are four extinct volcanoes on the bulge: The largest is Olympus Mons – it is 3X larger than Mt Everest!
Mars Because water does not exist on the surface of Mars…the many Martian canyons are a mystery to scientists. They may have formed from storms or “marsquakes”.
Jupiter Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system! It is bigger than all other planets put together! It has the fastest rotation – 9hrs 50 min!
Jupiter It is a gas giant composed of hydrogen and helium. Jupiter has storms all across its great surface! The Giant Red Spot is a cyclone 3x bigger than the earth!
Jupiter Jupiter has 16 moons! The largest is Ganymede which is bigger than mercury! Europa is icy white. Calisto is also icy and covered in craters. Io has active volcanoes!
Saturn Saturn is best known for its rings. It is also a gas giant. Saturn has multiple moons.
Saturn Two of its moons, Iapetus and Phoebe travel several million miles from Saturn. Titan, the largest, is icy nitrogen. Titan is larger than Mercury.
Uranus Uranus is the third largest planet in the solar system. Uranus has atmosphere of hydrogen, helium, and methane gas. Uranus may have a core the size of earth!
Uranus Uranus has 21 moons. One moon, Miranda, has a giant cliff that is twice the size of Mt. Everest! Photo taken by Voyager 2
Uranus Uranus also has 10 dark rings around it.
Uranus The unusual thing about Uranus is that Uranus is set on its edge in relation to the rest of the solar system. The rings and planet are perpendicular to the rest of the planets.
Neptune Neptune takes 165 earth years to orbit the sun one time! Neptune’s day are short – only 16 hours.
Neptune Neptune is believed to have vast oceans of water. Its atmosphere, however, consists also of methane (giving it the blue color) It has stronger winds than anywhere else in the solar system!
Neptune Neptune has rings! The rings are very small and are made of dust particles!
Neptune Neptune has 11 moons. The largest is Triton! Triton has its own atmosphere! Geyers on Triton spout liquid nitrogen 5 miles into the atmosphere! Triton orbits Neptune clockwise – the only large moon to do so in the solar system! Photo taken by Voyager 2
Pluto: Dwarf Planet #1 Pluto closer to the size of an asteroid than a planet. Pluto has a “moon” named Charon that is actually about the same size as the planet itself.
Pluto: Dwarf Planet #1 Pluto’s orbit sometimes takes it across the path of Neptune.
Eris: Dwarf Planet #2 Eris is larger than Pluto. Eris is 10 Billion Miles from the sun!!!! It is farther out than some Kuiper Belt objects.
All Five Currently Named Dwarf Planets UB313 (also known as a plutoid, informally known as Xena, and now formally known as Eris) Pluto (also known as a plutoid) Ceres (remains in the category of dwarf planet) MakeMake (also known as a plutoid, new official name for Dwarf Planet 136472 2005 FY9) Haumea (also known as a plutoid, new official name for Dwarf Planet 136108 2003 EL61, originally called "Santa.".
JPL Site for Looking at the Planets and Dwarf Planets http://sse.jpl.nasa.gov/planets/index.cfm