How many planets are there

How many planets are there

Solar system planets

The planets










assorted planet decor

Ever for the reason the discovery of Pluto in 1930, children grew up learning that the solar device has nine planets. that each one modified inside the overdue Nineties, while astronomers started arguing approximately whether or not Pluto become indeed a planet. In a notably controversial decision, the International Astronomical Union ultimately determined in 2006 to designate Pluto as a "dwarf planet," reducing the list of the solar system's proper planets to just eight.

Astronomers, but, are still trying to find any other viable planet in our sun gadget, a real ninth planet, after mathematical evidence of its existence was revealed on Jan. 20, 2016. The alleged "Planet 9," additionally known as "Planet X," is believed to be approximately 10 instances the mass of Earth and 5,000 times the mass of Pluto.

The order of the planets inside the solar system, beginning nearest the solar and running outward is the subsequent: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and then the possible Planet 9.

In case you insist on including Pluto, it would come after Neptune on the list. Pluto is virtually way obtainable and on a wildly tilted, elliptical orbit (two of the several motives it becomes de


The internal four planets closest to the sun — Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars — are regularly called the "terrestrial planets" because their surfaces are rocky. Pluto additionally has a rocky, albeit frozen, surface but has by no means been grouped with the 4 terrestrials.

The 4 large outer worlds — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune — are now and again known as the Jovian or "Jupiter-like" planets due to their extensive size relative to the terrestrial planets. they're also by and largely fabricated from gases like hydrogen, helium, and ammonia as opposed to rocky surfaces, although astronomers agree with a few or they all may also have solid cores. Jupiter and Saturn are from time to time called the gasoline giants, whereas the greater remote Uranus and Neptune have been nicknamed the ice giants. that is because Uranus and Neptune have more atmospheric water and other ice-forming molecules, such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, and phosphene, that crystallize into clouds in the planets' frigid conditions, in keeping with the Planetary Society. For angle, methane crystallizes at minus 296 Fahrenheit (minus 183 ranges Celsius), in line with the U.S. country-wide Library of drugs.

nebula in galaxy

What is (AND is not) A PLANET?

The IAU defines a real planet as a body that circles the sun without being some different item's satellite tv for pc; is large enough to be rounded by means of its very own gravity (but no longer so huge that it starts to undergo nuclear fusion, like a celeb); and has "cleared its community" of most different orbiting bodies. Yeah, it is a mouthful.

however, that restrictive definition helped isolate what must and have to no longer be taken into consideration a planet — a hassle that arose as astronomers found more and more planet-like gadgets in the solar machine. Pluto becomes most of the bodies that did not make the cut and becomes re-categorized as a dwarf planet.

The problem with Pluto, apart from its small length and offbeat orbit, is that it does not clear its community of particles — it stocks its space with lots of different items inside the Kuiper Belt. still, the demotion of Pluto stays arguable.

The IAU planet definition additionally placed different small, round worlds into the dwarf planet category, along with the Kuiper Belt gadgets Eris, Haumea, and Makemake.

Ceres, a round item inside the Asteroid Belt among Mars and Jupiter, also got the boot. Ceres changed into taken into consideration a planet while it becomes located in 1801, but it become later deemed to be an asteroid. that still didn't quite match because it became so much large (and rounder) than the opposite asteroids. Astronomers rather deemed it a dwarf planet in 2006, even though some astronomers want to keep in mind Ceres as a 10th planet (not to be stressed with Nibiru or Planet X).

Under is a quick evaluation of the 8 actual planets in our solar device, transferring from that closest to the solar to farthest from the solar:

painting of planet


the closest PLANET TO THE sun

The planet Mercury is seen by means of NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft.

The planet Mercury, innermost global of our sun machine. (photo credit score: NASA/Johns Hopkins college Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie group of Washington)

Zipping around the sun in the best 88 days, Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, and it's also the smallest, most effective a bit larger than Earth's moon. because it's so close to the sun (approximately -fifths the space among Earth and the solar), Mercury experiences dramatic adjustments in its day and night time temperatures: Day temperatures can reach a sizzling 840 F (450 C), which is hot sufficient to melt lead. meanwhile, on the night side, temperatures drop to minus 290 F (minus 180 C).

Mercury has a completely thin ecosystem of oxygen, sodium, hydrogen, helium, and potassium and cannot smash up incoming meteors, so its floor is pockmarked with craters, similar to the moon. Over its 4-yr project, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft revealed extremely good new discoveries that challenged astronomers' expectancies. amongst the findings of the one become the discovery of water ice and frozen organic compounds at Mercury's north pole and that volcanism played a chief position in shaping the planet's surface.

full moon


A photo of the cloud tops of Venus as photographed via Akatsuki's ultraviolet instrument in 2019.

The second planet from the sun, Venus is Earth's dual in length. Radar pictures below its environment display that its surface has numerous mountains and volcanoes. however past that, the two planets couldn't be extra different. due to its thick, poisonous atmosphere it really is fabricated from sulfuric acid clouds, Venus is a severe example of the greenhouse effect. it is sizzling-warm, even hotter than Mercury. The average temperature on Venus' surface is 900 F (465 C). At 92 bar, the strain at the floor would overwhelm and kill you. And oddly, Venus spins slowly from east to west, the alternative path of most of the other planets.

The Greeks believed Venus become extraordinary items — one inside the morning sky and any other in the nighttime. because it is frequently brighter than another item within the sky, Venus has generated many ufo reports.

Discovery: Known to the historic Greeks and visible to the naked eye

Named for the Roman goddess of love and splendor

Diameter: 7,521 miles (12,104 km)

Orbit: 225 Earth days

Day: 241 Earth days

photo of moon


Earth is visible from space.

An image of the Earth is taken by the Russian climate satellite tv for pc Elektro-L No.1. (picture credit: NTsOMZ)

The third planet from the solar, Earth is a Waterworld, with two-thirds of the planet blanketed by using the ocean. it is the handiest international known to harbor existence. Earth's surroundings are wealthy in nitrogen and oxygen. Earth's floor rotates about its axis at 1,532 feet in line with 2nd (467 meters per 2nd) — barely extra than 1,000 mph (1,600 kph) — at the equator. The planet zips across the solar at more than 18 miles in line with 2nd (29 km in line with second).

Call originate from "Die Erde," the German word for "the ground."

Diameter: 7,926 miles (12,760 km)

Orbit: 365.24 days

Day: 23 hours, 56 mins

planet earth close-up photography



Mars, the purple Planet, is visible from the Hubble area Telescope.

Mars, the Red Planet, is visible from the Hubble area Telescope. (photo credit: space Telescope technology Institute)

The fourth planet from the sun is Mars, and it's a cold, wilderness-like vicinity included in the dirt. This dirt is made from iron oxides, giving the planet its iconic pink hue. Mars shares similarities with Earth: its miles rocky, has mountains, valleys and canyons, and storm systems ranging from localized tornado-like dirt devils to planet-engulfing dust storms.

Giant scientific evidence suggests that Mars at one factor billions of years in the past changed into a much hotter, wetter international. Rivers and maybe even oceans existed. even though Mars' surroundings are simply too skinny for liquid water to exist on the surface for any length of time, remnants of that wetter Mars nonetheless exist today. Sheets of water ice the dimensions of California lie beneath Mars' surface, and at each pole are ice caps made in a part of frozen water. In July 2018, scientists revealed that they'd located evidence of a liquid lake under the surface of the southern pole's ice cap. it's the first example of a continual frame of water at the Red Planet.

Scientists also suppose historical Mars might have had the situations to support existence like micro organism and other microbes. hope that signs and symptoms of this past existence — and the opportunity of even contemporary lifeforms — may exist at the pink Planet has driven several space exploration missions and Mars is now one of the most explored planets inside the sun machine.

Discovery: acknowledged to the ancient Greeks and seen to the naked eye

Named for the Roman god of struggle

Diameter: four,217 miles (6,787 km)

Orbit: 687 Earth days

Day: just more than one Earth day (24 hours, 37 mins)

silhouette of person standing on rock formation during sunset


the most important PLANET IN OUR solar system

This new, lovely photograph of Jupiter, taken by way of the Hubble Space Telescope, was captured on Aug. 25, 2020, and indicates the planet's turbulent, swirling storms. within the photograph, you can see the ripples within the planet's environment, Jupiter's famous exceptional pink Spot, and the planet's placing colorings.

This stunning image of Jupiter, taken by means of the Hubble area Telescope, was captured on Aug. 25, 2020, and suggests ripples in the planet's ecosystem, Jupiter's famous super crimson Spot, and the planet's hanging colorations. (photo credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, A. Simon (Goddard Space Flight middle), M.H. Wong (University of California, Berkeley), and the OPAL team)

The 5th planet from the sun, Jupiter is a large gas world this is the most massive planet in our solar machine — more than twice as massive as all the different planets blended, in step with NASA. Its swirling clouds are colorful due to distinctive types of trace gases.

And a prime function in its swirling clouds is the excellent pink Spot, a large typhoon more than 10,000 miles huge. It has raged at extra than 400 mph for the remaining 150 years, as a minimum. Jupiter has a strong magnetic area, and with 75 moons, it appears a bit like a miniature sun machine.

Diameter: 86,881 miles (139,822 km)

Orbit: 11.nine Earth years

Day: 89 Earth hours

Saturn and its rings



The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of Saturn in the course of its northern hemisphere summertime on July four, 2020.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured this photo of Saturn throughout its northern hemisphere summertime on July four, 2020. (image credit score: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (Goddard area Flight middle), M.H. Wong (college of California, Berkeley), and the OPAL crew)

The sixth planet from the sun, Saturn is known most for its rings. while polymath Galileo Galilei first studied Saturn inside the early 1600s, the notion it became an object with 3 elements: a planet and two massive moons on either side.

no longer knowing he became seeing a planet with jewelry, the stumped astronomer entered a small drawing — a symbol with one huge circle and two smaller ones — in his pocketbook, as a noun in a sentence describing his discovery. greater than forty years later, Christiaan Huygens proposed that they were rings.

The earrings are manufactured from ice and rock and scientists aren't but sure how they formed. The gaseous planet is often hydrogen and helium and has numerous moons.

Discovery: regarded to the ancient Greeks and visible to the naked eye

Named for Roman god of agriculture

Diameter: 74,900 miles (120,500 km)

Orbit: 29.5 Earth years

Day: about 10.5 Earth hours

full moon in dark night sky



A composite photo of Uranus shows both X-ray emissions and infrared emissions against an optical view of the planet.

A composite image of Uranus suggests both X-ray emissions and infrared emissions towards an optical view of the planet. (photo credit: X-ray: NASA/CXO/college London/W. Dunn et al; Optical (HRC): W.M. Keck Observatory); Optical (VLT/HRC): ESO/VLT/Kirill Feigelman)

The 7th planet from the sun, Uranus is an oddball. It has clouds made from hydrogen sulfide, the identical chemical that makes rotten eggs smell so foul. It rotates from east to west like Venus. however, in contrast to Venus or some other planet, its equator is almost at proper angles to its orbit — it essentially orbits on its side. Astronomers accept as true with an object two times the dimensions of Earth collided with Uranus kind of four billion years ago, inflicting Uranus to tilt. That tilt reasons excessive seasons that final 20-plus years and the sun beats down on one pole or the alternative for 84 Earth-years at a time.

The collision is also thought to have knocked rock and ice into Uranus' orbit. these later became a number of the planet's 27 moons. Methane inside the surroundings offers Uranus its blue-inexperienced tint. It additionally has thirteen sets of faint earrings.

The 8th planet from the solar, Neptune is about the scale of Uranus and is understood for supersonic sturdy winds. Neptune is far out and bloodless. The planet is greater than 30 times as far from the sun as Earth. Neptune changed into the primary planet predicted to exist by using the use of math, before it turned into visually detected. Irregularities within the orbit of Uranus led French astronomer Alexis Bouvard to indicate some other planet is probably exerting a gravitational tug. German astronomer Johann Galle used calculations to help discover Neptune in a telescope. Neptune is about 17 instances as huge as Earth and has a rocky center.

Discovery: 1846

Named for the Roman god of water

Diameter: 30,775 miles (forty nine,530 km)

Orbit: a hundred sixty-five Earth years

Day: 19 Earth hours




New Horizons' photo of Pluto displaying the coronary heart-formed area now informally named 'Tombaugh Regio'.

once the 9th planet from the sun, Pluto is unlike other planets in many respects. it's far smaller than Earth's moon; its orbit is enormously elliptical, falling interior Neptune's orbit at some points and far past it at others; and Pluto's orbit would not fall on the equal plane as all of the other planets — alternatively, it orbits 17.1 levels above or beneath.

From 1979 until early 1999, Pluto had without a doubt been the 8th planet from the solar. Then, on Feb. 11, 1999, it crossed Neptune's path and another time became the solar system's maximum remote planet — till it was redefined as a dwarf planet. it is a chilly, rocky international with a tenuous ecosystem.

Scientists notion it is probably not anything greater than a hunk of rock at the outskirts of the solar system. however, when NASA's New Horizons task achieved records' first flyby of the Pluto system on July 14, 2015, it transformed scientists' view of Pluto.

Pluto is a completely lively ice world it is included in glaciers, mountains of ice water, icy dunes, and likely even cryovolcanoes that erupt icy lava made of water, methane, or ammonia.



New Horizons' Pluto Flyby: modern-day news, snap shots and Video

Discovery: 1930 by way of Clyde Tombaugh

Named for the Roman god of the underworld, Hades

Diameter: 1,430 miles (2,301 km)

Orbit: 248 Earth years

Day: 6.four Earth day


A PLANET seek AT solar device'S side

Orbits of distant Kuiper Belt gadgets and the hypothesized Planet 9. Orbits rendered in crimson are in the main managed with the aid of Planet 9's gravity and show off tight orbital clustering. green orbits are strongly coupled to Neptune and showcase a broader orbital dispersion. updated orbital calculations propose that Planet Nine is an about the five-Earth-mass planet that resides on a mildly eccentric orbit with a duration of about 10,000 years.


The orbits of remote Kuiper Belt items and the hypothesized Planet nine around the sun are shown in this photograph.. Orbits in purple are in general controlled by Planet nine's gravity and showcase tight orbital clustering. inexperienced orbits are strongly coupled to Neptune and exhibit a broader orbital dispersion. Planet 9 is an approximately five-Earth-mass planet that resides on a mildly eccentric orbit with a period of approximately 10,000 years. (photo credit: James Tuttle Keane/Caltech)


In 2016, researchers proposed the feasible lifestyles of a ninth planet, for now dubbed "Planet nine" or Planet X. The planet is anticipated to be about 10 instances the mass of Earth and to orbit the solar among three hundred and 1,000 times farther than the orbit of the Earth.


Scientists have no longer absolutely seen Planet nine. They inferred its lifestyles via its gravitational effects on other items in the Kuiper Belt, a place on the fringe of the sun gadget this is domestic to icy rocks left over from the birth of the solar machine. also known as trans-Neptunian gadgets, these Kuiper Belt gadgets have relatively elliptical or oval orbits that align inside the same route.


Scientists Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena described the evidence for Planet 9 in a look at published inside the Astronomical journal. The research is based totally on mathematical models and laptop simulations the usage of observations of six different smaller Kuiper Belt objects with orbits that aligned in a comparable be counted.


A current hypothesis proposed in September 2019 at the pre-print server arXiv shows Planet 9 might not be a planet in any respect. as an alternative, Jaku Scholtz of Durham University and James Unwin of the University of Illinois at Chicago speculate it can be a primordial black hollow that formed quickly after the Big Bang and that our solar system later captured, in keeping with Newsweek. unlike black holes that form from the crumble of massive stars, primordial black holes are notion to have fashioned from gravitational perturbations much less than a second after the massive Bang, and this one would be so small (5 centimeters in diameter) that it'd be hard to stumble on.


what number of planets are in the solar machine?

how many planets are within the sun gadget? The sun device. picture credit score: NASA

I'm just going to warn you, that is an arguable subject matter. a few people get quite grumpy when you ask: what number of planets are in the solar system? Is it eight, ten, or greater?

I promise you this, though, we're in no way going back to 9 planets… ever.

when lots of us grew up, there were 9 planets within the sun machine. It became like a hard and fast point in our brains.

As kids, memorizing this list changed into an early right of passage of nerd delight: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto.

but then in 2005, Mike Brown observed Eris, an icy object notion to be about the equal length as Pluto, out past its orbit.

that would deliver the total variety of planets to 10. right? there is no turning returned, textbooks would want to be changed.

for you to settle the dispute, the global Astronomical Union met in 2006 and argued for, and towards Pluto's planethood. a few astronomers encouraged widening the wide variety of planets to 12, which include Pluto, its moon Charon, the Asteroid Ceres, and the newly located Eris.

In the long run, they modified the definition of what makes a planet, and unfortunately, Pluto would not make the cut:

what number of planets are within the solar machine? Makemake. credit score: NASA

Here are the brand new necessities of planethood reputation:


1. A planet has to orbit the sun. okay quality, Pluto does that.

2. A planet wishes enough gravity to drag itself right into a sphere. k, spherical. Pluto's first-class there too.

three. A planet wishes to have cleared out its orbit of other gadgets. Uh oh, Pluto hasn't completed that.

For example, planet Earth bills for a million instances the relaxation of the fabric in its orbit, whilst Pluto is just a fraction of the icy items in its realm.

The final choice was to demote Pluto from planet to dwarf planet.

but do not despair, Pluto is in proper business enterprise.

there may be Ceres, the primary asteroid ever determined, and the smallest of the dwarf planets. The surface of Ceres is fabricated from ice and rock, and it'd even have a liquid ocean underneath its surface. NASA's sunrise mission is flying there proper now to offer us close-up pics for the first time.


Related Articles