Objects in space such as the moon, the eight planets, comets and asteroids all revolve around the sun, and this brings about the term solar system.
Here are some interesting facts and descriptions about the eight planets
- It is the smallest planet in the solar system.
- It was first observed by Galileo Galilei using a telescope in the 17th century.
- Mercury is the fastest planet, and it orbits the sun at a speed of 47 kilometres per second
- Due to its swift movements, Mercury was named after the Roman messenger God.
- Mercury is the closest planet to the sun with a distance of 57.91 million kilometers but still isn’t the hottest planet.
- In place of an atmosphere, Mercury has an exosphere which contains Oxygen, Sodium, Hydrogen, Helium and Potassium.
- This is the hottest planet in the solar system
- Venus was first observed accurately by Galileo Galilei using a telescope in 1610.
- Venus was named after the Roman goddess of beauty and love, also identified as Aphrodite in ancient Greece because it is the brightest planet.
- It is the only planet named after a female goddess.
- The temperature of its surface was measured to be 465°C which is high enough to melt lead.
- Earth is the only confirmed planet where there is life activity
- It is the only planet that wasn’t named after a known god, but the name was derived from a German word which means ‘the ground’.
- Earth is estimated to have been formed 4.5 billion years ago
- It is graded to be the densest planet and the fifth largest planet in space.
- Approximately 71% of the surface of the earth is covered with water and 29% by land. 97% of the water is salt water while 3% is fresh water.
- Mars was first observed with a telescope by Galileo Galilei in 1610
- It is a red planet which attributed its name after the Roman god of war.
- Its reddish appearance is due to the effects of iron oxide present on its surface
- The season on Mars lasts longer than on Earth due to the longer time it takes for Mars to orbit the sun
- There are two moons on Mars namely Phobos and Deimos
- The tallest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons, is located on Mars
- It is the oldest and largest planet in the solar system. It is twice the size of all the planets combined
- Jupiter was first observed with a telescope by Galileo Galilei in 1609.
- Jupiter was named after the principal Roman god equivalent to the Greek god, Zeus.
- Its weight is 318 times that of the Earth
- Jupiter has the shortest day of all the planets which sums to 10 hours.
- A year in Jupiter is about 12 Earth years
- Saturn has the largest planetary ring and the greatest number of satellites among all the planets.
- Christian Huygens discovered the rings of Saturn in 1659
- The name Saturn was coined from the Roman god of harvest and time also known as Cronos, the Greek god of time
- Saturn is the second largest planet after Jupiter and has rings that cannot be seen with the naked eyes
- It has the lowest density of 687 kg/m² which is lighter than water. This is due to its composition of hydrogen and helium
- Uranus was recognized late in 1781 by William Herschel due to its slow orbit and dullness
- It was named after the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos
- Its volume is 63 times that of the earth
- Uranus takes about 84 years to completely orbit the sun
- It has one of the shortest days about 17 hours
- Uranus has a planetary atmosphere of -224°C which is the coldest in the solar system.
- It orbits the sun in an opposite direction than most other planets and it rotates on its side.
- Neptune is the most distant planet from the sun and has the most powerful wind speeds
- It was the first planet discovered through mathematical predictions by Le Verrier and Johann Galle in 1847
- Due to its blue ocean-like colour, it was named after the Roman god of the sea
- The blue colour is attributed to the methane found in its atmosphere
- Neptune takes the longest duration of 165 years to orbit the sun.
- Neptune has 16 hours in a day.
- It has a temperature of -214°C and possesses 14 discovered moons.