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Our solar system consists of 8 planets, 2 dwarf planets (universally known), 575 natural satellites, 796354 known minor planets, and 4143 known comets.
All the components of the solar system revolve around the star, Sun. It is believed that the age of our solar system is 4.568 billion years. The 8 major planets are classified into Giant planets and terrestrial planets. The giant planets are made up of gas or ice. Terrestrial planets, on the other hand, are made up of rocks.
The list of the planets from hottest to coldest and their surface temperatures are in the below table.
(in degree Celsius)
|Mercury||-173 to 427|
|Earth||-88 to 58|
|Mars||– 87 to -5|
Venus, the hottest planet of the solar system, is the second planet from the sun. Galileo Galilei was the first astronomer to observe this planet through his telescope and record the findings. It is named after the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite and the Roman goddess, Venus as this planet is the brightest celestial body in the sky. It shines so brightly as it reflects nearly 70% of the sunlight that it absorbs. Venus has retrograde rotation, which means that it moves from east to west in the clockwise direction.A fact about Venus is that the day and night temperatures are the same.
Mercury, the planet that’s closest to the sun, can be seen from earth without the use of a telescope. The first person to observe this planet through a telescope was Galileo Galilei.Mercury travels at a speed of about 47 kilometres per second. The surface of this planet is very similar to the surface of Earth’s natural satellite, moon.
Earth, the fifth largest planet in the solar system, is the third hottest planet. It is the only planet in the solar system where life has been observed. The name earth is derived from the Greek word “Gaia”, which means terra matter. It is also believed that the name is inspired by the Roman word for fertile soil – “Tellus.”
Mars, named after the Greek God of war, is believed to have had water once. A few astronomers believe that this planet has water even now. The planet has a dense core that is made up of iron, nickel and trace amounts of sulphur. Craters, plains and volcanoes have been observed on the planet surface.
Jupiter is the fifth hottest and the fifth planet from the sun. Though it is quite far from the central star, its day consist of just 10 hours. This means that one day on earth could be two and half days on Jupiter.
This planet’s magnetic field is 20 times stronger than the magnetic field of earth. The size of Jupiter is equal to that of 1,321 earths.
Saturn is also known as the ringed planet as it has more than 30 rings. You can see up to 3 rings in a normal telescope and up to 8 rings in a powerful telescope. This planet takes nearly 30 earth years to go round the sun. But it rotates around its axis in 10.6 hours. Saturn’s moon, the Titan is larger than Mercury. This planet weighs about 95 times the weight of earth.
The seventh planet of our solar system, Uranus was officially identified in the year 1781 by William Herschel. This planet is named after the Greek God, Ouranos. It rotates on its side, in an east-west direction, like Venus. This planet has 13 known rings and 27 observed natural satellites.
This massive ice giant planet has 14 known natural satellites and the fastest windspeeds of all the planets. The first record of this planet was made by the astronomers, Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier & Johann Galle on September 23, 1846. Its moon, Triton is the only natural satellite that has retrograde rotation.
The bright lights in the distant sky have always captured our interest and captivated our imaginations.
From ancient times, astronomers have been searching the endless expanse of the universe to find more about what’s in it and how it came to be formed.
Now, we are using sophisticated tools and technologies in our astral search. But then there is still a long way to go. The scientists believe that there could possibly be other such solar systems in the universe with its own set of planets and natural satellites. Do you think such a thing is possible? Is there life out there? Share your thoughts and ideas with us.
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