Mercury Venus Earth Mars Small in size Made of rock and metal. Few satellites. Slow rotation.
Mariner 10 probe visits mercury in 1974. Surface is very much like our moon, full of craters. Very little gravity, almost no atmosphere. Greatest temperature changes in solar system: 430ºC ~ -170ºC
Venus is covered by a thick layer of clouds. Most of the atmosphere is composed of CO2. Greenhouse effect has raised temperature to 462°C. Rotates opposite of other planets. Day is longer than year!!!
Earth is located in the “Goldilocks Zone” Not too hot, not too cold, just right (for liquid water). Lots of water, and a thick atmosphere of oxygen.
Mars has an atmosphere of CO2, but the atmosphere is very thin. Temperatures range from 20°C ~ - 140°C. Evidence of features and erosion caused by water is everywhere. Some water is in the polar ice caps, atmosphere, and frozen in the ground.
Mars is full of extinct volcanoes. Mars’ tilted axis gives rise to seasonal changes. NASA’s Spirit & Opportunity
Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Large in size. Made of Gas(Hydrogen, Helium). Rotate rapidly. Many satellites. Rings.
Jupiter is a massive ball of hydrogen and helium gas. The Great Red Spot is a hurricane 3x’s the size of Earth and at least 400 years old!
Saturn, like Jupiter, is made of hydrogen and helium and is actually lighter than water. It’s rings are formed of concentric circles of chunks of rock and ice orbiting the planet. Titan
Discovered in 1781 by William Herschel. Uranus is tilted on its side. Has very faint rings. Atmosphere contains methane.
Neptune was discovered mathematically in 1846 after it became known that the orbit of Uranus was abnormal. Has a large perpetual storm called the Great Dark Spot. Triton Atmosphere of Hydrogen, Helium, Methane, and Ammonia
Small rocky planets located beyond Neptune. Most are small and very far away and so weren’t discovered until recently.
Chunks of rock out in space. Can be several meters or kilometers across. May be left over planet.
Large chunks of rock and ice which orbit the sun. The ice evaporates as it approaches the sun, leaving a tail behind.