Planets

- Recall the names of planets and dwarf planets in order of their mean distance from the Sun
- Describe the main physical characteristics of the planets (including surface features, atmosphere, temperature and composition)

Click on the tabs below for comparisons

 

Planets
Planet
No. Planet from the Sun
Km from Sun (million)
Size Comparison to Earth Orbit Comparison to Earth Rotation
Mercury
1
57.9
Venus
2
108
Earth
3
149.6
Mars
4
228
Jupiter
5
778.3
Saturn
6
1,427
Uranus
7
2,871
Neptune
8
4,497
Data
Planet AU from Sun
Diameter
Sunlight Strength (of Earth's)
Rotation (Day)
Orbit (Year)
Number of Moons
Tilt of Axis
Gravity (Earth =1)
Mercury
0.39
4,900 km
400 - 1000%
58 days
88 days
0
0.38
Venus
0.72
12,100 km
400-1000%
243 days
224 days
0
177°
0.90
Earth
1
12,750 km
1
23h,56m,4s
365.25d
1
23.5°
1
Mars
1.5
6,800 km
35-50%
24h, 38m
687d
2
25°
0.38
Jupiter
5.2
142,800 km
3-4%
9h, 50m
11.86 years
63
2.69
Saturn
9.5
120,000 km
1%
10h 14m
29.5 years
60
26.5°
1.19
Uranus
19.2
51,000 km
0.2-0.3%
17h 55m
84 years
27
97.5°
0.889
Neptune
30
49,500 km
0.10%
19h, 10m
164 years
13
29°
1.125
Characteristics
Planet Surface Features Atmosphere Temperature Composition
Mercury Craters and cracks, similar to the Moon. None 440 K facing the Sun.

Sunlight Strength 400 - 1000% of Earth’s.
Thick rock crust. Large Iron Core Produces a small magnetic field.
Venus Geologically young, evidence of volcanic structures. Thick atmosphere.
96% Carbon Dioxide, Sulphuric acid.
750 K

Sunlight Strength 400-1000% of Earth’s.
Not possible to view surface visually due to 100% cloud cover
Earth 71 % Water. Geologically active. Thin crust. Life exists. Medium atmosphere - 78% Nitrogen
21% Oxygen
Average 290 K (22° Celsius). Crust movement through plate tectonics. Inner and Outer Core. Produces a magnetic field.
Mars Active weather system but geologically extinct. Thick crust. Indications of flowing water in the past. Thin atmosphere -
95% Carbon Dioxide
3% Nitrogen
220 K

Sunlight Strength 35-50% of Earth’s.
Low density core. Largest mountains and canyons in the Solar System.
Jupiter Gas giants have no solid surface. Bands of clouds visible. Very thin ring system. 90% Hydrogen
10% Helium.
125 K at cloud tops

Sunlight Strength 3-4% of Earth’s.
Largest planet. Could contain all the other planets within it. Red spot is an Earth -sized storm. Flattened sphere due to fast rotation.
Saturn Gas giant. Extensive rings around planet. 96% Hydrogen
4% Helium
95 K at cloud tops

Sunlight Strength 1% of Earth’s.
Low density means it could float in water.
Uranus Green gas giant. Few features visible. Dark ring system. 83% Hydrogen
15% Helium
2% Methane
55 K at cloud tops

Sunlight Strength 0.2-0.3% of Earth’s.
Small Ice-Rock core. Has an inclined axis and so appears to orbit on its side.
Neptune Blue Gas giant. Thin clouds, small storms visible. Very thin ring system. 79% Hydrogen
18% Helium
3% Methane
55K at cloud tops

Sunlight Strength 0.1% of Earth’s.
Small Ice-Rock core. Internal heat source.
Planet Surface Features Atmosphere Temperature Composition
Activities