The Solar System
By Francesca Tonelli and Alessio Calandra
 In
this presentation we will :
- explore the eight planets and their
- compare and contrast the
similarities and differences of the
“inner” and “outer” planets.
Let’s start with the Sun
Diameter: 1.4 million kilometers
Contains 99.8% of the mass of the
solar system
The volume of the Sun could hold
1 million Earths.
Composition: 75% hydrogen,
25% helium
Surface Temperature: 5500 oC
Rotates on its own axis once
every 25.4 days at the equator.
Revolves around the center of the
Milky Way Galaxy once every 225
million years.
Core Temperature: 15 million
degrees Celsius
How about the planets?
The solar system is divided into two basic
groups. The inner and outer planets.
The inner planets lie inside of the asteroid belt
and consist of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.
They are four of the five smallest planets in the
solar system and are often called terrestrial
planets because of their similarities with Earth.
They have high densities because of heavy
metal cores.
Mercury is the eighth largest
planet (or second smallest) in the
Solar System.
Mercury is a heavily cratered
planet, composed of rock with a
central iron core that is threequarters of the diameter of the
planet. Following the Earth,
Mercury is the second densest
planet in the Solar System.
Covered with thousands of
craters, the surface of Mercury
closely resembles the Earth's
Mercury has few non-cratered
areas on the surface, with the
exception of the large flat area
known as the Caloris Basin, and a
few other small areas.
More on Mercury
The surface temperature of
Mercury is characterized by major
fluctuations. The daytime side of
the planet reaches over 400
degrees C , but on the night side
the temperature falls to -170
degrees C.
Mercury has no atmosphere and
no known satellites.
Mercury was believed by the
Greeks to be two different stars.
Mercury's appearance in the
morning was called Apollo, and its
evening appearance was referred
to as Hermes.
Closest to Sun
Distance from Sun:
57,910,000 km
Mercury Day:
58.65 Earth Days
Mercury Year:
87.97 Earth Days
Orbital Speed:
47.8 km/sec
Eccentricity of Orbit: 0.206
4,878 km
3.30e23 kg
Venus is the sixth largest planet in
the Solar System.
Similar in size, density, and mass,
Venus and Earth often referred to
as sister planets. However the
surface and atmosphere of the
two planets are drastically
The atmosphere of Venus is
primarily composed of carbon
dioxide and nitrogen, with traces
of other gases and little to no
water vapor.
Venus would have a cold climate if
it weren't for the high
concentration of carbon dioxide in
its atmosphere.
In fact the surface temperature of
Venus is over 480 degrees C.
More about Venus
Magellan Probe Computer Generated
Surface Image
The clouds in Venus' atmosphere
are composed of sulfuric acid
which causes the planet to reflect
65% of the sunlight that reaches it.
The surface of Venus is very dry
with flat plains, highland regions,
and depressions.
The interior of Venus is composed
of a central iron core and a molten
rocky mantle, similar to the
composition of Earth.
Venutian info
Second from Sun
Distance from Sun:
108,200,000 km (.72 AU)
Venus Day:
243 Earth Days
Venus Year:
224.7 Earth Days
Orbital Speed:
35 km/sec
Eccentricity of Orbit:
12,100 km
4.869e24 kg
Major Atmospheric Gas: Carbon Dioxide
The Third Planet - Earth
Diameter: 12.7 thousand
Mass: 6.0 x 1024 kilograms or
six sextillion metric tons
Composition: water, silicon,
carbon, heavy metal ironnickel core
Atmosphere: nitrogen, water
vapor, oxygen, carbon dioxide
Surface Temperature: -13 –
Called the “Blue Planet”
because of the color of
nitrogen in it’s atmosphere.
More on the Earth
The Earth rotates on an axis that is tilted 23 ½ degrees relative to
the orbital or ecliptic plane.
It’s period of rotation is one day or 23 hours and 56 minutes.
The period of revolution around the Sun is a year or 365 and onequarter days.
Earth info
Earth is the fifth largest planet in
the Solar System.
The Earth is around 4.6 billion
years old.
Earth is the only presently known
planet in the Solar System to
support life.
71% of Earth's surface is covered
in water.
The Earth is the densest planet in
the Solar System.
The Earth has only one satellite,
the Moon. The Moon is the
second brightest object in the
Third from the Sun
Distance from Sun:
149,600,000 km
Earth Day:
24 hours
Earth Year:
365 Earth Days
Orbital Speed:
29.8 km/sec
Eccentricity of Orbit:
12,756 km
5.976e24 kg
Major Atmospheric Gas: Nitrogen
The Moon is the only natural
satellite of the Earth, and the
fifth largest satellite in the
Solar System. It is the
largest natural satellite of a
planet in the Solar System
compared to the size of the
other natural satellites.
Red Planet - Mars
Mars is the seventh largest
planet in the Solar System.
Known as the Red Planet,
Mars is characterized by its
red, dusty landscape.
In observation of Mars
seasonal changes and river
channels on the surface,
many scientists hoped for a
possibility of Martian life.
They speculated that the
composition of Mars' was
similar enough to Earth to
support life. However, the
atmosphere on Mars is very
different than Earth's, with
only small amounts of life
supporting oxygen and water.
More on Mars
Temperatures on Mars vary from
a maximum of 0 degrees C to
minimum -100 degrees C .
The terrain on Mars is complex
and varied, with deep canyons,
mountains, volcanoes, and
craters. Olympus Mons, the
largest mountain in the Solar
System, stands on Mars with an
altitude of 24 km
Valles Marineris is a system of
canyons that stretch out over the
surface of Mars for nearly 2,500
Fourth from Sun
Distance from Sun:
227,940,000 km
Mars Day:
24.6 Earth Hours
Mars Year:
686.98 Earth Days
Orbital Speed:
24.2 km/sec
Eccentricity of Orbit:
6,794 km
6.4219e23 kg
Major Atmospheric Gas: Carbon Dioxide
Mars’s story
Mars was first visited by
the Mariner 4, in 1965,
which transmitted 22
pictures of the Martian
surface back to Earth.
The pictures revealed
that there was no water
or life on the cold
surface, shattering hopes
to find life on Mars. There
has been no proof to date
that there was ever life
on Mars.
Mars is the god of war in
Roman mythology.
Mars has two small
satellites named Phobos
and Deimos.
Mars Rover currently on Mars
Phobos and Deimos
Mars has two relatively small natural
moons, Phobos and Deimos, which orbit
close to the planet. Asteroid capture is a
long-favored theory but their origin
remains uncertain.
 A possibility is the involvement of a third
body or some kind of impact disruption.
The Outer Planets
The outer planets consist of four gas
giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and
 Finally Pluto that is recategorize in 2006
as a dwarf planet (is a celestial body in
direct orbit of the Sun) ,Charon, Nix and
Asteroid Belt
Asteroids are small
rocky objects that
move in elliptical
orbits in the
asteroid belt
between the orbits
of Mars and Jupiter.
Their average
distance from the
Sun is about 2.9
astronomical units
Jupiter is the largest
planet in our solar
It has 62 moons.
The largest four
were discovered by
Galilei Galileo. Io,
Europa, Ganymede
and Callisto
Jupiter is the fourth
brightest object to
be seen in the sky.
Occasionally Mars
will appear to be
brighter than Jupiter
in the Earth's sky.
Io, Europa, Ganymede and
Jupiter info
Jupiter spins faster on its axis
than any other planet in our solar
system. One day on Jupiter is 9.8
Earth hours
Jupiter is a gas planet, composed
largely of hydrogen and helium,
with traces of methane, water
vapor, and ammonia. The tops of
the gas clouds in the atmosphere
make up the colorful texture on
Jupiter, sometimes called Jove,
was the King of the gods in
Roman mythology and the son of
Like Saturn, Jupiter has rings,
though they are much smaller,
fainter, and darker.
Fifth from Sun
Distance from Sun:
778,330,000 km
Jupiter Day:
9.8 Earth Hours
Jupiter Year:
11.9 Earth Years
Orbital Speed:
13.1 km/sec
Eccentricity of Orbit:
16 (plus Rings)
Equatorial Diameter:
142,984 km
Polar Diameter:
133,708 km
1.900e27 kg
Major Atmospheric Gas: Hydrogen
Saturn is the sixth planet from
the Sun and the second largest.
Saturn is flattened at the poles,
due to a fast rotation on its axis.
Galileo discovered Saturn in
1610, and was confused by its
strange appearance in his
Saturn is a gas planet, like
Jupiter, and is large enough
and far enough away from the
Sun to retain its original
primitive gases.
Saturn info
Saturn is the only planet in our
solar system that is less dense
that water.
Saturn is well known for it's
beautiful ring system.The ring
system is divided into various
parts, including rings and gaps.
The bright A and B rings are
separated by a large gap called
the Cassini Division. Radial
"spokes" composed of fine
particles, about the size of dust
specks, were found in the BRing by the Voyager.
Saturn was the god of
agriculture in Roman mythology.
Saturn is also the father of
Jupiter, the king of the Roman
Sixth from Sun
Distance from Sun:
1,427 million km
Saturn Day:
10 hours, 14 minutes
Saturn Year:
29.5 Earth Years
Orbital Speed:
9.7 km/sec
Eccentricity of Orbit:
18 (plus rings)
Equatorial Diameter:
120,536 km
Polar Diameter:
108,728 km
5.688e26 kg
Major Atmospheric Gas: Hydrogen
The atmosphere of Uranus
is composed of hydrogen,
helium, and methane. The
methane in the atmosphere
absorbs red light, giving the
planet a blue-green color.
Like Venus, Uranus spins
from east to west, which is
opposite from the spin of
Uranus info
Uranus has rings that are
composed of fine dust, rocks,
and ice boulders. The rings are
very faint..
Uranus is named after the
Greek god of the sky. Uranus
was the husband of Gaia, the
goddess of the Earth.
Seventh from Sun
Distance from Sun:
2,870,990,000 km
Uranus Day:
.72 Earth Days
Uranus Year:
84.01 Earth Years
Orbital Speed:
6.6 km/sec
Eccentricity of Orbit:
15 (plus rings)
51,800 km
8.686e25 kg
Major Atmospheric Gas: Hydrogen
Neptune is the fourth
largest planet in the
Solar System.
Neptune is a gas planet,
composed of hydrogen,
helium, methane, with
traces of ammonia and
The blue color of the
planet is due to the
absorption of red light by
methane in the
Neptune info
Neptune has actually been the
most distant planet from the sun
since 1979 to 1999, due the fact
that Pluto's orbit is highly
eccentric. Pluto is now the most
distant planet from Sun the
Neptune has the stronger winds
than any other planet in the
Solar System.
"The Scooter" is a cloud that
moves around Neptune about
every 16 hours.
Neptune is the god of the sea in
Roman Mythology.
Eighth from Sun
Distance from
30.06 AU
Neptune Day:
0.75 Earth Days
Neptune Year:
164.83 Earth Years
Orbital Speed:
5.4 km/sec
Eccentricity of
8 (plus rings)
49,528 km
1.0247e26 kg
Atmospheric Gas:
Pluto,Charon, Nix and Hidra
Pluto, is the largest known object in the Kuiper belt. When
discovered in 1930, it was considered to be the ninth planet;
this changed in 2006 with the adoption of a formal definition
of planet.
Charon, Pluto's largest moon, is sometimes described as
part of a binary system with Pluto, as the two bodies orbit a
barycenter of gravity above their surfaces.
Beyond Charon, three much smaller moons, Nix, and Hydra,
orbit within the system.