Monday, October 13, 2014

The Sun and the planets

It is relatively easy to spot five of the planets in the Solar System. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are all visible with the naked eye.

Under ideal conditions Uranus is just barely visible to unaided viewers, but it is best to use binoculars or a telescope. You will definitely need magnification to see the eighth planet, Neptune.

Pluto lost its planet status in 2006 and is now considered to be a dwarf planet.

The discovery of hundreds of exoplanets orbiting other stars means our eight planets have plently of company in the Universe.

All The Sun and the planets [9]

Photo: Illustration of the Sun and eight planets (International Astronomical Union)

  • Sun Sun The Sun's core powers the Solar System.
  • Mercury Mercury The closest planet to the Sun is hard to spot.
  • Venus Venus The second planet from the Sun is a pressure cooker.
  • Earth Earth Our life-filled home is unique in the Universe (so far).
  • Mars Mars The Red Planet continues to fascinate mankind.
  • Jupiter Jupiter The largest planet is wracked by ancient storms.
  • Saturn Saturn The ringed planet is a complex world.
  • Uranus Uranus The seventh planet from the Sun orbits on its side.
  • Neptune Neptune Bright blue clouds speed around the outermost planet.
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