Planets

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Scientists are not sure how or when Saturn got its rings, according to NASA. One theory states that comets, asteroids and meteoroids collided with Saturn’s moons, and they all shattered into pieces. The broken pieces then spread out and formed rings around Saturn. Another theory states that the rings formed from materials that were left over when Saturn formed.

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  • What is the weather on Saturn?

    Q: What is the weather on Saturn?

    A: With an average temperature of minus 288 degrees Fahrenheit and frequent, powerful storms throughout the planet, Saturn is not hospitable to life. Unlike most planets in the Milky Way, Saturn derives its heat from its core rather than from the Sun. The planet is known as a gas giant; it is primarily composed of gases, including hydrogen and molecular helium.
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  • How long does it take for Mars to rotate on its axis?

    Q: How long does it take for Mars to rotate on its axis?

    A: It takes Mars 24 hours, 37 minutes, 23 seconds to rotate on its axis. This is almost identical to the amount of time that it takes the Earth to rotate once on its axis.
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  • Where is Venus located?

    Q: Where is Venus located?

    A: Venus is the second closest planet to the sun, after Mercury. It is part of the solar system, along with Earth and six other planets, which is located in the Milky Way galaxy.
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  • What planets have shorter days than Earth?

    Q: What planets have shorter days than Earth?

    A: The outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all have shorter days than Earth. Among the terrestrial planets, Mars has a slightly longer day than Earth at 24 hours 37 minutes. Mercury's day lasts 59 Earth days, while a day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days.
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  • How did Jupiter get its name?

    Q: How did Jupiter get its name?

    A: Jupiter gets its name from the most powerful god in Roman mythology. The king of all other gods, Jupiter is the equivalent of Zeus in Greek mythology. It was the largest visible object in the night sky during the time of the Roman Empire, and thus named after its most important deity.
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  • Can you see Saturn from Earth?

    Q: Can you see Saturn from Earth?

    A: Saturn is frequently visible from Earth's surface. Space.com describes it as resembling a bright star when viewed by the unaided human eye. Owing to the planet's size and proximity, however, it usually doesn't twinkle the way stars do.
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  • Can Mars sustain life?

    Q: Can Mars sustain life?

    A: According to NASA, 7 billion years ago, Mars may have been an excellent place for microbes to live, but currently it cannot support life because the air is too thin and is comprised mainly of carbon dioxide. After drilling into the rocks on Mars, scientists discovered the key ingredients of life, including sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen and carbon.
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  • Is Saturn hot or cold?

    Q: Is Saturn hot or cold?

    A: Saturn is a mostly cold planet, with areas that reach temperatures as low as minus 270 F. There are some regions of the planet that feature temperatures of 80 F, but these remain unfriendly, having an extremely high atmospheric pressure.
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  • Which planet is farthest away from Earth?

    Q: Which planet is farthest away from Earth?

    A: Of the planets in the solar system, Neptune is the farthest away from Earth. Depending on where each planet is in its orbit, Neptune is between 2.7 and 2.9 billion miles away from Earth.
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  • What planet in our solar system is closest in size to Earth?

    Q: What planet in our solar system is closest in size to Earth?

    A: Venus is, by far, the closest match to the Earth in size. Venus has a measured diameter that is just about 95 percent that of the Earth and a planetary mass equal to 81.5 percent of the Earth's.
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  • What is the hottest planet in the solar system?

    Q: What is the hottest planet in the solar system?

    A: Venus, the second planet from the sun, is the hottest planet in the solar system, with surface temperatures of around 864 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is no difference between day and night temperatures on Venus, so there is no time of day where temperatures tend to dip. This high temperature, which is hot enough to melt tin and lead, is due in part to the planet's proximity to the sun, though Venus manages to be much hotter than Mercury, which is the closest planet to the sun. Venus' extreme heat can be attributed mostly to its extremely thick atmosphere, which is 93 times thicker than Earth's atmosphere and composed mainly of carbon dioxide.
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  • Why is Pluto not a planet?

    Q: Why is Pluto not a planet?

    A: In 2006, the International Astronomical Union changed Pluto's classification from a planet to a dwarf planet because the planet has not cleared its orbit of other objects. When a planet clears its orbit, all other objects on the orbital path are either drawn into the planet's gravitational pull or flung away from it and out of the orbit.
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  • What is the average surface temperature of Neptune?

    Q: What is the average surface temperature of Neptune?

    A: The average surface temperature on Neptune is minus 329.8 degrees Fahrenheit, close to its effective temperature of minus 353 degrees Fahrenheit. Neptune is among the coldest planets in the solar system.
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  • How long does it take Saturn to rotate on its axis?

    Q: How long does it take Saturn to rotate on its axis?

    A: Historically, scientists believed that it takes Saturn 10.656 hours to rotate on its axis or about 10 hours and 39 minutes. More recently, astronomers received satellite messages indicating that the length of Saturn's day is closer to 10 hours and 45 minutes.
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  • What is the most metal-rich terrestrial planet?

    Q: What is the most metal-rich terrestrial planet?

    A: By weight, Earth contains the most metal when compared between the four terrestrial planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. The planet Mercury is composed of nearly 70 percent metal, making it the most metal dense.
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  • What type of planet is Earth?

    Q: What type of planet is Earth?

    A: According to Encyclopædia Britannica, Earth is classified as a terrestrial planet. A terrestrial planet is rocky, in contrast to the predominantly gas planets found in the outer solar system.
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  • Where did Neptune get its name?

    Q: Where did Neptune get its name?

    A: Shortly after its discovery, Neptune was referred to as "the planet exterior to Uranus." It was also called "Le Verrier's Planet" after one of the men who discovered it, Urbain Le Verrier. He shares the credit with one other man, John Couch Adams. Verrier named the planet Neptune.
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  • What is a rhyme to remember the planets?

    Q: What is a rhyme to remember the planets?

    A: One rhyme to remember the planets is "Amazing Mercury is closest to the Sun, Hot, hot Venus is the second one, Earth comes third; it’s not too hot, Freezing Mars awaits an astronaut, Jupiter is bigger than all the rest, Sixth comes Saturn, its rings look best, Uranus and Neptune are big gas balls, Tiny Pluto is the last planet of all." As well as using rhymes to remember the order of the planets, there are also a good selection of mnemonics available.
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  • What are some interesting or unique features of Neptune?

    Q: What are some interesting or unique features of Neptune?

    A: Neptune was the first planet to have its existence predicted by mathematical calculations before it was seen through a telescope. According to Space, wind speeds on Neptune can reach up to 1,500 miles per hour; the fastest detected in the solar system as of 2014. This incredibly high wind speed was recorded by Voyager 2 in 1989 and was linked to a storm larger than planet Earth.
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  • How long does it take the Earth to complete an orbit around the Sun?

    Q: How long does it take the Earth to complete an orbit around the Sun?

    A: It takes roughly 365 days, or 1 year, for the Earth to complete its orbit around the Sun. Although it is an elliptical orbit, it is almost circular, so there is only a slight difference between the closest and farthest points from the Sun throughout the orbit. The two-dimensional plane occupied by the Earth's orbit is called the ecliptic.
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  • What are the nine planets in order?

    Q: What are the nine planets in order?

    A: The nine planets in order are Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and, if it's still considered the ninth planet, Pluto. However, not only has Pluto been demoted to a dwarf planet by some astronomers, but its orbit is so eccentric that there are times when it's closer to the sun than Neptune.
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