Planet facts

Facts about planets

Earth is a planet because it is a large object in the Solar System, large enough for its own gravity to make it round and is in orbit around the Sun.

The Solar System consists of the Sun and the eight official planets as well as moons and stars. In order from the Sun the planets are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. The Solar System also contains at least five dwarf planets including Ceres and Pluto (originally classified as the Solar System's ninth planet).


Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun but even then it is nearly 58 million kilometres away. Mercury orbits the Sun every 88 days. Being so much closer to the Sun than Earth, the surface temperature of Mercury can reach 430 degrees Celsius. Unlike Earth though, Mercury has no atmosphere to retain heat, so at night the temperature can drop to -170 degrees Celsius. Brrrr!


Venus is the second-closest planet to the Sun and is very similar to Earth in size, mass and what it is made of. Venus orbits the Sun every 224 days. Although similar to the Earth, Venus has no oceans and is covered in thick clouds that make the surface temperature very hot. Venus and Earth make up two of the four terrestrial planets which means they have a rocky body.


Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only planet in the Solar System known to contain life. Earth is made up of air, water, land and life and is constantly changing as these elements are unpredictable. Earth is the largest of the terrestrial planets although nearly three-quarters of the surface is covered by oceans.


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