Aim: How can we discover more about our planets? Do Now: Name the planets that you know in our solar system

What is the solar system? The solar system contains 9 planets that move around the sun. Though it also contains asteroids, moons, comets, and stars. There are 140 moons that orbit around the 9 planets in our system.

Mercury is the planet closest to the sun. Like all other planets, Mercury orbits around the sun, but its orbit only lasts for 88 days. The planet was named after the Roman God ¨Mercury.¨ This planet travels 36 million miles when orbiting the sun. It moves 107,372 miles per hour. It takes Mercury 59 days to complete its turn from day to night. Mercury´s sunny side rises to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and its darker side goes down to -200 degrees Fahrenheit.

This is the planet Mercury. The surface is covered with craters and it is completely dry. There is no possibility of life on Mercury.

Venus is the brightest planet in the Solar System and can be seen even in daylight if you know where to look. Venus orbits round the sun in 225 days. The Earth takes 365 days to complete an orbit of the sun. So a year on Venus only lasts for 262 days! When Venus shows only a crescent, like the crescent moon, she is at her brightest because she is then very close to the Earth. Venus is the planet which is closest to the Earth and is a little smaller than the Earth. The atmosphere on Venus is composed of carbon dioxide.

Venus is called after the Roman God of love and beauty

Earth is unlike every other planet in the Solar System in a number of different ways. It is the only planet that has liquid water on its surface and the only planet that has life. When viewed from outer space much of the Earth’s surface cannot be seen because of the clouds of water vapor. The Earth is the third planet from the Sun and comes between the planet Venus and the planet Mars. The Earth differs from all the other planets because it has such a wide diversity of life and intelligent beings. This has only been possible because of the Earth’s atmosphere which has protected the Earth and allowed life to flourish.

Earth is the only planet that contains life

Mars, also known as the red planet, is the fourth planet from the sun. Mars is home to an ever present red tint. This is due to a mineral called iron oxide that is very common on the planet’s surface. Mars is not much farther from the Sun than Earth. As a result, a typical year on Mars is 1 year and 687 days. Mars has seasons like Earth too. These seasons are much longer than Earth seasons because Mars is so much farther from the sun. Although Mars is small, it has beautiful landmarks.

Mars looks a lot like our home, though instead of blue oceans and green land, Mars is home to an ever present red tint.

Jupiter is the giant of the Solar System, with a mass more than 300 times the mass of the Earth. It has a diameter of 88,700 miles. Jupiter is the fifth planet in order from the Sun and is about 483 million miles from the Sun. Jupiter is the stormiest planet in the Solar System. Jupiter can be seen without a telescope. It is by far the largest planet in our solar system.

This planet is called after the ancient Roman sky-god, Jupiter, known to the Greeks as Zeus.

Saturn is the sixth planet in the Solar system and, when seen through a telescope, by far the most beautiful. The bright globe of Saturn is surrounded by rings which may be composed of ice. Saturn has at least 18 moons, satellites which orbit round the planet attracted to it by the planet’s gravity. Saturn is 886 million miles from the Sun.

Saturn is the second biggest planet in our solar system

Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun, and cannot be seen from the Earth without a telescope. Uranus has a total of 27 moons and orbits the Sun lying on its side and takes 84 years to complete one orbit. Uranus is 1782 million miles from the Sun.

Uranus has a moon named Ariel, a tiny white dot which is very hard to see

Neptune cannot be seen without a large telescope and was first seen in 1846 from the observatory in Berlin. Neptune was one of the most exciting discoveries in astronomy. It is the 8th planet from the Sun. Neptune has a diameter of 29,297 miles. In 2011 Neptune completed the first orbit of the Sun since its discovery 165 years before in 1846. We now know that Neptune has 13 moons in total.

The discovery of the planet Neptune was one of the most exciting discoveries in astronomy.

Pluto was first seen by use of a telescope in 1930. We know very little about Pluto. Pluto is probably even smaller than Mercury, with a diameter of around 1400 miles. Pluto’s distance from the Sun varies. Since the planet was only discovered in 1930 and it takes 249 years to orbit the Sun, a full orbit has not been observed.

Pluto was the Roman God of the Underworld.

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