Our solar system is home to eight planets – actually make it nine, Pluto is back to being a planet this year (only a dwarf on at that). Each planet has its own dynamics and traits that set it apart from the other planets that share the solar system with them.
Mercury got its name from the divine messenger of the Olympian gods in Greek mythology. He was also the god of thievery, commerce, and travel. Most likely, the planet got its name from the rate at which it spins.
The planet nearest to the sun has 3,031 mile diameter – this size up to around 2/5 of the Earth’s diameter. Mercury is so close to the sun that the sun rays are about seven times as strong on its surface as they are on Earth – imagine the scorching temperatures! Although not too far off, Mercury’s size and the brightly shining sun make it almost impossible to see it from Earth – unless you have a telescope of course.
Love comes into play with our closest planet to Earth. Venus was the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Most probably it shinny surface, seen even from Earth had some influence for this god. The only objects in our Solar System brighter than Venus are the Sun and the Moon. Other civilization of antiquity have also associated Venus with love. The Babylonians called the planet Ishtar after their goddess of womanhood and love.
The has an atmosphere that is extremely hot and may prove deadly for humans (in case you were wondering why the humans haven’t landed there yet). It is closest to the Earth and takes its name after the Roman Goddess of love and beauty. Venus is slightly smaller than Earth, about 400 miles in diameter to be precise.
Did you know that the surface of Mars can be observed in detail right here from the Earth? Mars was named after the Roman god of war because of the reddish color of its surface. Mars has a diameter of 4,200 miles. It’s a little more than half of Earth’s diameter. The only planet smaller than Mars, considering Pluto isn’t one, is Mercury.
Jupiter was the Roman king of the gods. No doubt, a fitting name for the largest planet in our solar system.
Jupiter is another one of the gas planets and constitutes 15% helium and 84 % hydrogen with traces of acetylene, ethane, ammonia, methane, water vapors, and phosphine. There’s a great red spot on the surface of Jupiter, which is believed to be a storm. This storm is said to be on-going for more than 300 years. Jupiter is so gigantic that you can easily fit 100 Earths in its red spot alone.
Roman god of agriculture takes the name for Saturn, is has the most distinct appearance among all planets. According legend, the god Saturn stole the location of the king of the gods from his father Uranus. The throne was then stolen by Jupiter. This gigantic planet of gas is characterized by seven thin, flat rings circling it. It is the second largest planet of the solar system with a diameter of 74,600 miles – that is ten times the diameter of the Earth.
Uranus was the father of Saturn and that’s where the planet gets its name from. Uranus was discovered by William Herschel back in 1781. The planet has 27 known natural satellites.
The bluest of all our planets, Neptune was almost called ‘Verrier’, after the astronomer who discovered it, but that was greatly contested, so it was named after the god of the sea.
If we’re not counting Pluto as a planet, then Neptune is the farthest planet revolving around the sun. Neptune has a diameter of around 30,200 miles – that is about 4 times the size of Earth’s diameter!
Pluto (Degraded to Dwarf Planet)
It’s named after Pluto, the god of the underworld in the Roman mythology. Growing up, we all were taught that Pluto is the far off ninth planet of the solar system. All that changed when in 2006 the planet-like Pluto was declassified from the group to be called a dwarf planet. However, astronomers are still flummoxed about its proper categorization. Poor old Pluto behaves like a planet, but also has the qualities of a comet – so as of now, they’ve termed it to be a hybrid!
We sure hope they don’t banish it from the house of hybrid celestial bodies now.