Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are called the terrestrial planets (Inner Planets).
Terrestrial planets are Earth-like planets (in Latin, terra means Earth) made up of rocks or metals with a hard surface — making them different from other planets that lack a solid surface. Terrestrial planets also have a molten heavy metal core, few moons, and topological features such as valleys, volcanoes and craters.
Mercury can produce a magnetic field 100 times weaker than the Earth. It takes Mercury 58.6 days to rotate and 88 to orbit the sun.
Venus is an oppressively hot world. Although not the closest planet to the Sun, Venus has the highest surface temperature of all the planets, averaging 464 celsius. The clouds trap the heat from the sun, creating a greenhouse effect.
The Earth takes 23.9 hours to fully rotate and 365.3 days to complete its orbital path around the Sun. It’s the only planet in our Solar system known to support life or water. The atmosphere has been greatly transformed by the existence of life throughout much of its history.
Ancient floodplain and network of dry riverbeds are clear evidence that large amounts of water flowed across the surface of Mars billions of years ago, when the planet was much warmer than it is today.
Jupiter completes one orbit in just 12 years. Like all other planets, it rotates as it travels, turning once in just less than 10 hours. Jupiter has a grand total of 60 moons!
Named after the one-time ruler of the Roman gods and father of Jupiter, Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun. It is nearly twice as far away as it’s larger inner neighbour, Jupiter, and it takes almost 29.5 years to complete one orbit around our star.
Uranus takes 84 years to complete orbit around the sun. On each orbit, the North and South poles experience 42 years of darkness and 42 years of continuous sunlight.
Neptune takes 164 years to orbit around the Sun once. Neptune is the furthest away planet in our solar system, and has 14 moons. Neptune’s largest moon is called Triton, and is named after the Greek god of the ocean (Neptune is the name for the Roman god of the ocean).
The sun is 4.6 billion years old and is expected to live for 10 billion which means that in 5.4 billion years the sun will explode.
Also known as minor planets, asteroids are small bodies made of rock and metal that follow independent orbits around the sun. The vast majority lie in a concentration called the main belt. The largest of these, Ceres, was only discovered in 1801 and was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006. The asteroid belt lies between Mars & Jupiter.