The solar system is terrific, with alien planets, enigmatic satellites, and surreal anomalies that defy logic, which proves that we are not all by ourselves in the vastness of the cosmos. Our planet, Earth, has seven cousins who orbit this very same mass of heat and light!

Red and Orange Galaxy Illustration
Red and Orange Galaxy Illustration | Image Credit – Pixabay

Planets are just a few of the several realms and tiny bodies that revolve around the Sun. The International Astronomical Union’s official definition of planet, as agreed on in 2006, is as follows:

  • rotations around the Sun,
  • has adequate mass for its self-gravity to confound rigid body forces so that it accepts a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) form, and
  • has cleared the environs around its orbit.

What are some of the planets’ most startling features? Here you will find a list of some of the most interesting facts about eight planets.

Mercury

Mercury
Mercury | Image Credit – Pixabay

Mercury is the closest planet to our giver of life, the Sun, yet it is not the hottest planet in the solar system. It is the second densest planet but also the smallest among the nine. Mercury’s appearance makes it one of the most comparable to Earth. This planet is supposed to have been assembled about 4.5 billion years ago when gravity drew churning clouds of gas and particles together to constitute the small planet.

Fun Facts

  • If humans stood on Mercury, the Sun would appear three times as sizable as it does from Earth. It is also seven times brighter.
  • Researchers have discovered ice on Mercury. Since Mercury seems to have a minimal atmosphere and its axis is highly tilted, there are permanent shadow valleys containing ice at the planet’s north and south ends.
  • Mercury’s texture is very close to Earth’s Moon, suggesting that the body hasn’t been geologically active in a long time.

Quick Glimpse

  • Distance: 57,910,000 km (35,983,605 mi)
  • Radius: 2,440 km (1,516 mi)
  • Temperature: -180 to 430 °C (-290 to 800 °F)
  • Day length: 59 Earth days
  • Year length: 87.97 Earth days
  • Number of moons: 0

Venus

Venus
Venus | Image Credit – Pixabay

The second planet orbiting the Sun is Venus, and it is also the sixth most giant planet in the solar system. Venus is the most sizzling planet in the solar system. And, it is impossible to determine the precise date of Venus’s breakthrough. Because of its luminance, the pretty Venus can be observed with the bare human eye, implying that any early civilizations could claim to have made the first discovery.

Fun Facts

  • Venus seems to be the only planet titled after a female deity. Its heterostructures are also labeled after legitimate and folkloric females.
  • Venus has long days. It requires 243 Earth days for Venus to rotate completely. 
  • It is always reverse days on Venus because the planet rotates from east to west, the reverse direction compared to most other planets that revolve around the Sun.

Quick Glimpse

  • Distance: 108,200,000 km (67,232,363 mi)
  • Radius: 6,052 km (3,761 mi)
  • Temperature: 438 to 482°C (820 to 900 °F)
  • Day length: 243 Earth days
  • Year length: 225 Earth days
  • Number of moons: 0

Earth

View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon
View of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew traveling toward the moon | Image Credit – NASA

Earth, our ancestral home, is the third planet from the Sun and the only planet with life. It is located in the habitable range, characterized by the temperature at which we can find pure water on its exterior. Our environment contains the ideal components for us to respire. It is composed of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, and 1 percent other gases. This atmosphere allows life to exist and functions as a protective layer against impending objects like meteoroids.

Fun Facts

  • Radiation from the Sun takes approximately eight minutes to arrive on Earth.
  • “Earth” derives from Germanic and signifies “the ground.” Mother Earth is the singular planet that has not been labeled after any divine powers. (Read – How and why is our planet named Earth?)
  • For numerous factors, Earth is unique in the solar system. It is the only known celestial body with liquid water on its crust and the established existence of life forms.

Quick Glimpse

  • Distance: 149,600,000 km (92,957,130 mi)
  • Radius: 6,371 km (3,959 mi)
  • Average Temperature: 14°C ( 57.2 °F)
  • Day length: 23.9 hours
  • Year length: 365.25 days
  • Number of moons: 1

Mars

A simulated view of Mars
A simulated view of Mars | Image Credit – NASA

Mars is the fourth planet that constitutes a thin layer of the atmosphere, with surface textures resembling the Moon’s craters, Earth’s canyons, desert terrains, and arctic ice. It is the planet with the highest number of searches for life.

Fun Facts

  • Mars has relatively low gravity. The gravitational attraction on Mars is 37% lower than on Earth, which implies that one can jump three times higher on Mars than on Earth.
  • A year on Mars lasts 687 earth days. That equates to 1.9 Earth years. This is due to Mars’s greater distance from the Sun, which causes it to take much longer to revolve.
  • The face of Mars has multiple connections, flatlands, and gorges that could have been formed by flowing water. It vaguely indicates that open water in a liquid state occurred billions of years ago on the Martian ground.

Quick Glimpse

  • Distance: 227,940,000 km (141,635,349 mi)
  • Radius: 3,400 km (2,113 mi)
  • Temperature: -153 to 20 °C ( -225 to 70 °F)
  • Day length: 24.6 Earth days
  • Year length: 687 Earth days
  • Number of moons: 2

Jupiter

Jupiter
Jupiter | Image Credit – NASA

Jupiter, the fifth planet, is, without a doubt, the biggest planet. It was labeled after the Roman mythological king of the gods and is effortlessly visible to the human eye, with an overall magnitude of about -2. Because it is the most ancient planet in the Solar System, it is estimated to be the first to form from the remnants of the solar nebula.

Fun Facts

  • Venus has the lengthiest day, and Jupiter has the shortest. It completes one complete rotation every bewildering 10 hours.
  • One of Jupiter’s 79 moons, Europa, has seas, rendering it a candidate for life.
  • Jupiter doesn’t have a flat structure because it is mainly made of spinning liquids and vapors, such as 90% hydrogen and 10% helium. Isn’t that roughly comparable to the Sun?

Quick Glimpse

  • Distance: 778,330,000 km (483,631,840 mi)
  • Radius: 71,492 km ( 44,423 mi)
  • Temperature: -108 °C ( -162 °F)
  • Day length: 9.93 Earth hours
  • Year length: 11.86 Earth years
  • Number of moons: 79

Saturn

Saturn as seen from the Cassini–Huygens space-research mission
Saturn as seen from the Cassini–Huygens space-research mission | Image Credit – NASA

Saturn is the sixth planet and has the Solar System’s greatest planetary bands. It was labeled after Cronus, the Greek equivalent to the Roman god of agriculture. It is the second-largest planet, and like Jupiter, is a ball of gas with no solid substrate. The average temp on this planet is extremely low. It also experiences immense pressure and hurricanes similar to Jupiter.

Fun Facts

  • Saturn has 82 beautiful satellites adoring it.
  • Saturn’s seven large ring jewels are well-known. The rings constitute ice, rocks, and dust and vary in diameter from grain to building height.
  • Saturn with such minimum density would float in water if one could fit it into a massive pool area.

Quick Glimpse

  • Distance: 1,424,600,000 km (885,205,400 mi)
  • Radius: 60,268 km (37,448 mi)
  • Temperature: -138 °C (-218 °F)
  • Day length: 10.7 Earth hours
  • Year length: 29 Earth years
  • Number of moons: 82

Uranus

Uranus as seen by Voyager 2
Uranus as seen by Voyager 2 | Image Credit – NASA

Uranus is the seventh planet encountered in the Solar System, which also revealed the presence of the last planet, Neptune. Both planets on the edge of the solar system are referred to as ice giants. It is popularly recognized as the sideways planet due to its 98° inclination angle on its axis. As a consequence, it appears to be spinning on its side.

Fun Facts

  • While many other planets and celestial bodies are titled after mythological creatures, Uranus’ 27 moons are labeled after works by William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.
  • Uranus has two rings sets, totaling 13 rings. Nevertheless, they aren’t as aesthetically attractive as Saturn’s.
  • In some ways, Uranus is slightly colder than Neptune, especially in the surrounding air. It has the chilliest planetary atmosphere in the solar system, with the lowest temperature of -224°C (-321°F).

Quick Glimpse

  • Distance: 2,873,550,000 km (1,785,541,189 mi)
  • Radius: 25,559 km (15,881 mi)
  • Temperature: -195 °C (-320 °F)
  • Day length: 17 Earth hours
  • Year length: 84 Earth years
  • Number of moons: 27

Neptune

Neptune planet space celestial
Neptune planet space celestial | Image Credit – Pixabay

Neptune is the fourth largest and farthest planet from the Sun, with the most vigorous wind velocity. It is the tiniest gas giant and was encountered in 1846 using mathematical projections.

Fun Facts

  • Neptune’s orbit is exceptionally lengthy. It is so elongated that it can sometimes reach the distance of Pluto.
  • Neptune is the windiest planet, with more than 1,200 miles per hour wind speeds.
  • Neptune is the only planet that humans can’t see with their eyes.

Quick Glimpse

  • Distance: 4,501,000,000 km (2,796,791,736 mi)
  • Radius: 24,764 km (15,387 mi)
  • Temperature: -201 °C (-331 °F)
  • Day length: 16 Earth hours
  • Year length: 165 Earth years
  • Number of moons: 14

To Conclude

The solar system currently has eight planets and a multitude of dwarf planets and satellites. The actuality that something maneuvers on the same path with considerable gravity and are massive enough to be considered a planet is the most important determining factor. Fortunately for us, as science advances, it will be fascinating to witness how our solar system evolves as scientists learn more through innovations like NASA’s space telescope.

(Last Updated on June 16, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Shradha Bhatta holds a Bachelors’s Degree in Social Work along with a Post-graduate degree in Project Management from Georgian College in Canada. Shradha enjoys writing on a variety of topics and takes pleasure in discovering new ideas. She likes traveling and spending time with nature. She is a very people-person who loves talking about climate change and alerting people to go green!