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The Planets

See the Big Picture of the Universe


A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that

is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity,
is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and
has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.
The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, astrology, science, mythology, and religion. Several planets in the Solar System can be seen with the naked eye. These were regarded by many early cultures as divine, or as emissaries of deities. As scientific knowledge advanced, human perception of the planets changed, incorporating a number of disparate objects. In 2006


Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter.

It is a gas giant with an average radius about nine times that of Earth.

Although it has only one-eighth the average density of Earth, with its larger volume Saturn is just over 95 times more massive.

Saturn is the ruling planet of Capricorn and Aquarius and is exalted in Libra. In Roman mythology, Saturn is the god of agriculture, leader of the titans, founder of civilizations, social order, and conformity.


Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a giant planet with a mass one-thousandth that of the Sun, but two and a half times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined. Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants; the other two giant planets, Uranus and Neptune are ice giants.


Neptune is the ruling planet of Pisces and is possibly exalted in Cancer. In Roman mythology, Neptune is the god of the sea, and the deep, ocean blue color of the planet Neptune reflects this.Its glyph is taken directly from Neptune's trident, symbolizing the curve of spirit being pierced by the cross of matter. Neptune takes 165 years to orbit the Sun, spending approximately 14 years (13.75) in each sign of the zodiac. Neptune was discovered in 1846.


 Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. In English, Mars carries a name of the Roman god of war, and is often referred to as the "Red Planet"because the reddish iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance that is distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.


Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet in the Solar System. Its orbital period around the Sun of 88 days is the shortest of all the planets in the Solar System. It is named after the Roman deity Mercury, the messenger to the gods.
Like Venus, Mercury orbits the Sun within Earth's orbit as an inferior planet, so it can only be seen visually in the morning or the evening sky, and never exceeds 28° away from the Sun. Also, like Venus and the Moon, the planet displays the complete range of phases as it moves around its orbit relative to Earth. Seen from Earth, this cycle of phases reoccurs approximately every 116 days, the so-called synodic period. Although Mercury can appear as a bright star-like object when viewed from Earth, its proximity to the Sun often makes it more difficult to see than Venus


Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. It has the longest rotation period (243 days) of any planet in the Solar System and rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets. It has no natural satellites. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. It is the second-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6 – bright enough to cast shadows at night and, rarely, visible to the naked eye in broad daylight. Orbiting within Earth's orbit, Venus is an inferior planet and never appears to venture far from the Sun; its maximum angular distance from the Sun (elongation) is 47.8°.


Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have different bulk chemical composition from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. For this reason, scientists often classify Uranus and Neptune as "ice giants" to distinguish them from the gas giants. Uranus's atmosphere is similar to Jupiter's and Saturn's in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium, but it contains more "ices" such as water, ammonia, and methane, along with traces of other hydrocarbons. It is the coldest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System, with a minimum temperature of 49 K (−224 °C; −371 °F), and has a complex, layered cloud structure with water thought to make up the lowest clouds and methane the uppermost layer of clouds.The interior of Uranus is mainly composed of ices and rock.


Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only object in the Universe known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, Earth's only natural satellite. Earth revolves around the Sun in 365.26 days, a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times