(WHTM) – When you look into the night sky, you’ll see planes flying by, stars twinkling, and sometimes you’ll see planets.
But how many planets are in our solar system and what’s the difference in all of them?
Our solar system is home to eight planets:
The planets all rotate the sun but at different speeds.
The closest planet to the sun is Mercury and the farthest planet from the sun is Neptune.
So, what is the difference of the planets?
Mercury has 88 days in a year and is a terrestrial planet.
The size of Mercury’s radius is 1,516.0 miles which is slightly larger than Earth’s moon.
According to NASA, Mercury was formed around 4.5 billion years ago.
If you were to walk on Mercury, the surface would resemble the Earth’s moon, but walking on Mercury’s surface wouldn’t be survivable as it can reach up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mercury has an exosphere and is composed of oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium, and potassium, NASA states.
Mercury doesn’t have a moon.
One day on Venus equals 243 Earth days and is the hottest planet in the solar system reaching up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
Venus has a radius of 3,760.4 miles which resembles Earth (3,959 miles) and is the second closest planet to the sun.
According to NASA, Venus was formed around 4.6 billion years ago.
Venus’s surface is rocky and mountainous, this includes many volcanoes.
The atmosphere is extreme due to the greenhouse effect which filled the planet with carbon dioxide.
Earth has 365.25 days in a year, 23.9 hours in a day, and is the third-closest planet to the sun.
NASA states that Earth was formed around 4.5 billion years ago and is the only known planet in the entire universe that can sustain life.
As stated in the size of Venis, Earth has a radius of 3,959 miles, which makes it the fifth largest planet in the solar system.
Earth is full of mountains, valleys, volcanoes, etc., and the atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases such as argon, carbon dioxide, and neon.
Earth has one moon and is the only planet to have only one moon.
Mars has 24.6 hours in a day, 687 Earth days in a year, and is the fourth closest planet to the sun.
The formation of Mars happened around 4.5 billion years ago and has a radius of 2,106 miles which is about half the size of Earth, according to NASA.
Mars is red and scientists believe that life could have existed on Mars long ago due to the planet having traces of water.
Mars has been explored by a rover multiple times and is the most explored outside of planet Earth.
The surface of Mars is dry and rocky but is like Earth. NASA has found water on Mars, but it is underneath the surface.
Mars has a wide range of temperatures; the planet can reach around 70 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as around negative 225 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mars has two moons named Phobos and Deimos.
The atmosphere of Mars is made up of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon gases.
Jupiter’s days last 10 Earth hours, the planet’s year lasts 12 Earth years, and it is the fifth closest planet to the sun.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system with a radius of 43,440.7 miles and is a gas planet (gas giant).
The planet was formed around 4.5 billion years ago and the gas planet is made up of hydrogen, and helium, and the visible clouds are ammonia, according to NASA.
Jupiter is also home to “The Great Red Spot” which is an anticyclone. This storm has lasted for over 150 years, according to Space.
Due to being made of gas, Jupiter has no surface, and with the high pressure mixed with the high temperatures, anything that would get near Jupiter’s core would be crushed, melted, or vaporized, according to NASA.
NASA states that the core could reach up to 90,032 degrees Fahrenheit but in the clouds, the temperatures are around negative 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jupiter is home to 95 moons and in 1979, NASA found that the planet has rings that are only visible when they are backlit by the sun.
Saturn’s days last 10.7 hours, the planet’s year is about 29.4 Earth years, and it is the sixth closest planet to the sun.
Saturn is like Jupiter as it’s a gas planet (second largest to Jupiter) and is made up of mostly hydrogen and helium.
According to NASA, Saturn was formed around 4.5 billion years ago and has a radius of 36,1832.7 miles.
The temperature of Saturn is around negative 288 degrees Fahrenheit, states Space.
Another similarity to Jupiter, no one would be able to send an aircraft/spacecraft through Saturn due to the immense pressure and temperatures.
Saturn is home to 146 moons and seven rings that include an A, B, and C, D, E, F, and G rings. These rings are made up of chunks of ice and rock.
Uranus’s days are about 17 hours long, a Uranus year is about 84 Earth days, and is the seventh closest planet to the sun.
The planet was formed around 4.5 billion years ago and is one of two ice giants as 80% of Uranus’s mass is hot dense fluid of “icy” materials such as water, methane, and ammonia, according to NASA.
Uranus’s radius is 15,759.2 miles and is around 1.8 billion miles away from the sun.
Uranus is home to 27 moons and has two sets of rings (nine in the inner system and two in the outer rings), these include Zeta, 6, 5, 4, Alpha, Beta, Eta, Gamma, Delta, Lambda, Epsilon, Nu, and Mu.
The atmosphere is made up of hydrogen, helium, methane, and ammonia.
Neptune’s days last 16 hours, a year is around 165 Earth years, and is the farthest planet from the sun (around 2.8 billion miles).
The planet was formed around 4.5 billion years ago and another icy giant next to Uranus.
According to NASA, Neptune has a radius of 15,299.4 miles.
The atmosphere is made up of hydrogen, helium, and methane and the planet’s structure is made up of hot dense fluid of “icy” materials such as water, methane, and ammonia, according to NASA. Neptune is also the densest planet.
Neptune is home to 14 moons and nine rings which are named Galle, Leverrier, Lassell, Arago, Adams, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, and Courage.
The last time Neptune completed its 165-year orbit was in 2011, the first time since it was discovered, according to NASA.
The planet that was reclassified: Pluto
Pluto was discovered in 1930 and was the solar system’s ninth planet, but in 2006 the planet was reclassified to a dwarf planet.