The Planet Pluto – Planets In Our Solar System

Planet Pluto

The Planet Pluto - Planets In Our Solar SystemThe Planet Pluto is in the ninth position from the Sun.  It is smaller than the earth’s moon. Thus, its orbit takes it within the Neptune orbit and beyond the orbit. Pluto was the eighth planet actually from the sun until 1999 from 1979. But on Feb 11, 1999, it was relegated to a dwarf planet as it crossed the path of Neptune and became the most distant planet of the solar system. Pluto for another 228 years will be beyond Neptune. The orbit of the Pluto is tilted to the solar system main plane by 17.1 degrees. Thus it is a rocky and cold world with an ephemeral atmosphere.

  • Orbit: 248 Earth years
  • Diameter: 1,430 miles (2,301 km)
  • Day:4 Earth day

Pluto is also the largest members of the Kuiper Belt, which is beyond the Neptune orbit, a shadowy disklike zone and is thought to be populated with thousands of rocky, icy bodies larger than 62 miles (100 kilometres) across, in association with 1 trillion or more comets.

Discovered by:

Pluto was discovered at the Lowell Observatory by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, based on the predictions by Lowell and many more astronomers, It acquired its name from the Roman god of the underworld. Pluto in 2006 was categorised as a dwarf planet and since then it attracted controversy in the scientific community and general public.

The planet Pluto is far from Earth and very little was known until 2015 about its surface conditions or size. The recent NASA’s space probe show that this dwarf planet is 1473 miles (2370 km), this means it is two-thirds wide as the moon in the earth and is less than the earth’s diameter by nearly one-fifth.

The new horizons revealed that Pluto’s surface has a variety of features including mountain at 11,000 feet comparing the Earth’s Rocky Mountains. The nitrogen and methane ice cover most of the Pluto surface. The materials are fragile to support enormous peaks, so it is suspected that these mountains are formed on water-ice bedrock.

The surface of the planet Pluto is covered with plenty of methane ice, but the scientists have now observed the dwarf planet’s surface ice reflects light in different ways.  Pluto’s surface is the coldest in the solar system at minus 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  However, in comparison to the past images of Pluto, the dwarf planet has grown redder now, obviously due to seasonal changes.   The dwarf planet goes closer to the sun than Neptune and when it is closer, its surface ices thaw and the atmosphere thins, comprising of nitrogen mostly with some methane.

The Planet Neptune – Planets In Our Solar System

Planet Neptune

Planet Neptune - Planets In Our Solar SystemThe Planet Neptune is in the eighth positioned planet from the Sun. This planet is faster than the sound speed and is renowned for strong winds. Neptune is far out and really cold. This planet is far from the sun to over 30 times as the earth. It features a rocky core. This was the first planet forecasted as existed using math, even before it was discovered. Neptune is 17 times massive as Earth.

  • Orbit: 165 earth years
  • Diameter: 30,775 miles (49,530 km)
  • Day: 19 earth hours

Neptune, the eighth planet was predicted on Sept 23, 1846, even prior to seeing it through a telescope. Galileo, the previous astronomer mistook this planet to be a star owing to its slow motion. Neptune acquired the name as the Roman god of the sea. However, Johann Galle based on calculations spotted Neptune through a telescope.

Neptune has a blue tint owing to an unidentified compound and absorption of methane red light in the planets due to the hydrogen-helium atmosphere.  Neptune is dubbed often as ice giant as it possesses a slushy mix of thick water, methane ices and ammonia in its atmosphere and is 17 times earth’s mass and the volume is nearly 58 times as per NASA. The rocky core of Neptune is equal to Earths mass.

Neptune winds reach 1500 mph and are detected to be the fastest in the solar system. It receives sunlight to maintain warmth though it is at the farthest distance from the sun. This oval shaped ‘Great Dark Spot’ spinning counterclockwise was huge to contain entire earth and moves nearly 750mph westward.

Magnetic poles of the planet Neptune are tipped more than 47 degrees in comparison to others that spins together. As such, the magnetic field of this planet is nearly 27 times powerful than the earth’s and with each rotation it undergoes wild swings. Considering the cloud formations, scientists calculated that it takes less than 16 hours to complete a day.

Neptune’s oval-shaped orbit is at a distance of (4.5 billion kilometres) 2.8 billion miles, from the sun. It is 30 times roughly away from the Earth such that it cannot be seen through the naked eye. Neptune goes roughly every 165 earth years around the sun.

Every 248 years, Pluto appears to move closer to the sun and this is because it moves inside the orbit of Neptune for 20 years. Nevertheless, Neptune is the farthest planet and Pluto was considered as a dwarf planet.

The Planet Uranus – Planets In Our Solar System

Planet Uranus

The Planet Uranus - Planets In Our Solar SystemThe Planet Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. It has the distinction of being the only planet with an equator that is at a right angle from its orbit. Effectively, the planet orbits sideways. Astronomers believe that is due to Uranus colliding with another object long ago. The tilt is responsible for extreme seasons. Sometimes these seasons last for more than 20 years and the sun beating down on one pole for close to 84 Earth years.

  • Orbit: 84 Earth years
  • Diameter: 31, 763 miles (51, 120 km)
  • Day: 18 Earth hours

The planet Uranus was formally discovered in 1781 by William Herschel. Though it was observed long ago, it was long mistaken to be a star as a result of its slow orbit and dimness. The dimness associated with the planet is due to the methane present in its atmosphere. The planet has many moons and also faint rings.

Uranus is named after the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos and is the only planet to be named after a Greek god. Before this particular name was decided upon, several names were proposed such as Hypercronius (“above Saturn”), Minerva, Herschel and even Georgium Sidus. The name for this planet was later finalised by the German astronomer, Johann Bode.

Magnetic Poles

The magnetic poles of planets are typically aligned with their axis of rotation. Uranus exhibits an exception with its magnetic field being tipped by almost 60 degrees from its axis of rotation. Furthermore, it has been found that the strength of the magnetic field is more at the surface near the northern hemisphere than that at the southern hemisphere.

The composition of the planet Uranus is estimated as 25% rock, 5-15% helium and hydrogen and 60-70% ice. Uranus’ core is made of iron and magnesium silicate and its mantle is made of water, methane and ammonia ices. Uranus has seasons that last 21 years on an average. However, the extreme tilt of its axis gives rise to unusual weather. When sunlight reaches some areas for the first time after some years, this heats the atmosphere and causes huge storms. On the other hand, when it was discovered in 1986 by Voyager 2, it had only 10 clouds and was dubbed ‘the most boring planet’.

Uranus possesses two sets of rings. The inner set is comprised of narrow and dark rings while the other set has two distant rings that are coloured red and blue. As of now, as much as 27 rings have been seen around Uranus.

The Planet Saturn – Planets In Our Solar System

Planet Saturn

The Planet Saturn - Planets In Our Solar SystemSaturn from the sun is the sixth planet and is renowned for its rings. Initially, Galileo thought it had three parts, unknowing the fact that the planet Saturn was a planet with rings. After 40 years, it came to light that the rings were made of rock and ice. This is a gaseous plant comprising of helium and hydrogen.

  • Orbit:5 Earth years
  • Diameter:74,900 miles (120,500 km)
  • Day:About 10.5 Earth hours

The Planet Saturn in the solar system is the second largest planet. Saturn acquired the Roman name for Cronus, as in Greek mythology as the lord of the Titans. Saturn is an English root word “Saturday.”

From Earth, Saturn is the farthest planet and is visible to the naked eye, but only through a telescope, the rings of this plant can be seen.  Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus also have rings, but of course, the Saturn rings are most extraordinary.

Saturn is a gas giant comprising of hydrogen and helium. It is immense to hold over 760 Earth’s and is massive than other planet but for Jupiter, approximately 95 times the mass of the Earth. Conversely, Saturn has the least density of other planets and is less dense than water.

Saturn’s Atmosphere

The atmosphere of Saturn has gold and yellow bands and is the result due to upper atmosphere super-fast winds that reach around its equator up to 1100 mph (1800km/h) in combination with heat from the interior of the planet.

Saturn completes one rotation in every 10-and-a-half hours. This spinning causes the bulge to Saturn at its equator and at its poles it appears flat. The planet is wider by 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometres) at its equator than the poles. Saturn has northern and southern lights and this is due to sun particles.

The atmospheric composition comprises of molecular hydrogen of 96.3 %, helium of 3.25% and small amounts of ethane, ammonia, methane, water ice aerosols, hydrogen deuteride, ammonia ice aerosols and ammonia hydrosulfide aerosols.

The magnetic field of the planet Saturn is nearly 578 times powerful than the Earth’s. Saturn has a robust rocky and iron material enveloped in the outer core and this is composed of methane, ammonia and water.  The next layer features liquid metallic hydrogen in a compressed state with viscous hydrogen and helium. The helium and hydrogen become gaseous near the surface of the planet and merges with the atmosphere.

Saturn has nearly 62 moons and most moons are named after Titans, their descendants, Gallic, Inuit and Norse myths.  These moons exhibit bizarre features.  Though it is identified to have many moons, this system has more small moons being created and destroyed constantly.

The Planet Jupiter – Planets In Our Solar System

Planet Jupiter

The Planet Jupiter - Planets In Our Solar SystemJupiter is the planet in the fifth position from the sun. This is the massive and huge planet in the solar system. It is filled with hydrogen and helium. It has a different trace of gases.  The planet Jupiter has dozens of moons that it appears to be a miniature solar system and it has a strong magnetic field. There is a great red spot in Jupiter.

  • Orbit:9 Earth years
  • Diameter: 86,881 miles (139,822 km)
  • Day:8 earth hours

The Planet Jupiter is the largest planet, named in Roman mythology after the king of the gods. Jupiter helped in revolutionising as Galileo discovered four large moons of Jupiter’s, the Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto, representing as Galilean moons. These celestial bodies were circling Jupiter and not the earth.

Jupiter is 80 times massive. The atmosphere is identical as the sun comprising of helium and hydrogen, besides it has four large moons and also smaller moons around it in the orbit that Jupiter maintains an individual miniature solar system. The volume can hold nearly 1300 Earth’s.

The planet Jupiter bands are colourful arranged in light zones and dark belts travelling 400 mph. There are white clouds made of frozen ammonia crystals and the darker clouds include chemicals appearing in the belts. Blue clouds are visible at deepest levels, while the cloud stripes keep changing.

The Great Red Spot

The great spot in Red colour is the extraordinary feature; a hurricane-like giant storm seen for over 300 years. This red spot is the widest and thrice the earth’s diameter, while its edge spins around the centre counterclockwise at 225mph (360kph) speed. The storm colour varies from red to brown due to the ammonia crystals featuring phosphorous and sulphur in the Jupiter’s clouds. However, the spot shrinks and grows each time, while sometimes it appears to completely fade.

The magnetic field of Jupiter is the strongest having 20,000 times of Earth’s strength. It traps in its intense electrons belt the electrically charged particles, while the other electrically charged particles keep blasting the rings and moons of the planet with a radiation level over 1000 times. Jupiter’s magnetosphere comprises of particles and fields’ swelling out nearly 600,000 to 2 million miles towards the Sun and its tail extends to 600 million miles behind the Jupiter.

Jupiter spins faster on its axis taking under 10 hours to complete a turn in comparison to the Earth taking 24 hours. This rapid spin makes Jupiter flatten at the poles and bulge at the equator. Radio waves of Jupiter are strong to detect on earth when the Jupiter’s large moon, lo, passes the magnetic field of Jupiter in certain regions.