Planets

A:

Mars has been given the moniker "the Red Planet" because it has a bright red color. This reddish colors probably marks the areas that are like deserts on the Martian landscape; the grayish areas are the liquid parts.

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  • What are the requirements to be classified as a planet?

    Q: What are the requirements to be classified as a planet?

    A: In 2006, the International Astronomical Union defined a planet as a body that is in orbit around the sun, has enough mass to establish a round shape, and has cleared other debris from the neighborhood of its orbit. This ruling famously resulted in the demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet status, since Pluto did not have the gravitational influence to clear other bodies from its orbital path.
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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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  • Where is the highest temperature on Jupiter?

    Q: Where is the highest temperature on Jupiter?

    A: The highest temperatures on Jupiter are found in its core and are estimated at over 60,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to Jupiter's distance from the Sun, most of its heat comes from its core, and the temperature generally decreases moving away from the planet's center.
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  • What is the surface temperature on planets?

    Q: What is the surface temperature on planets?

    A: The surface temperatures of the solar system's planets are dependent on how close each planet is to the sun. Planets that have atmospheres are better able to retain heat from the sun, affecting the planet's surface temperature.
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  • What are the other planets' distances from Earth?

    Q: What are the other planets' distances from Earth?

    A: Mercury is 0.61 astronomical units (AU) from Earth, while Venus is 0.28 AU from Earth. Mars is 0.52 AU from Earth, while Jupiter is 4.20 AU from Earth. Saturn is 8.54 AU from Earth, Uranus is 18.14 AU from Earth and Neptune is 29.06 AU from Earth.
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  • What is the fastest moving planet in the solar system?

    Q: What is the fastest moving planet in the solar system?

    A: The fastest-moving planet in the solar system is Mercury. The planet whizzes around the sun at an orbital velocity of 1.6 times that of Earth's orbital velocity. This amounts to 107,700 miles per hour.
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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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  • What planet is the "third rock from the sun"?

    Q: What planet is the "third rock from the sun"?

    A: Earth is considered to be the "third rock from the sun." That phrasing is used because Earth is the third planet from the sun, as well as being a terrestrial (rocky) planet.
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  • How many light years away is Mars?

    Q: How many light years away is Mars?

    A: Mars is considerably less than 1 light-year away from Earth. According to Cornell University, Mars orbits the Sun at an average distance of 1.5 times the Earth's mean orbital distance. At the two planets' closest approach, the distance between them shrinks to 0.5 astral units, which equals 75 million kilometers.
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  • How hot is Mars?

    Q: How hot is Mars?

    A: The average temperature on Mars is -80 degrees Fahrenheit. A summer day near Mars' equator gets up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, but dips to -100 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Winter temperatures at the Martian poles drop to 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
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  • What planet has the largest moon?

    Q: What planet has the largest moon?

    A: According to NASA, Jupiter's moon, Ganymede, is the largest moon in the solar system. It has a diameter of 2,631 kilometers. Ganymede is larger than both Pluto and Mercury and is 3/4 the size of Mars. Unlike many other moons, Ganymede has a core that generates a substantial magnetic field.
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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 similarities between Earth and Neptune?

    Q: What are the similarities between Earth and Neptune?

    A: Although they are quite dissimilar in almost every way, the Earth and Neptune do share some similar qualities such as gravity, color and orbit. With a gravitational pull that is only 14-percent stronger than the Earth's, Neptune and the Earth have similar gravitational pulls. Both planets are blue and both orbit around the Sun.
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  • What color is Saturn?

    Q: What color is Saturn?

    A: Saturn is described as having a yellowish-brown color. This is due to the presence of trace amounts of ammonia, hydrocarbons, water vapor and phosphine in its atmosphere.
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  • What is Mars' temperature?

    Q: What is Mars' temperature?

    A: The surface temperature on Mars varies between a low of negative 225 degrees Fahrenheit at the poles and a high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit at the noontime equator during summer. Between the equator and the poles, the temperature averages between negative 76 and negative 58 degrees Fahrenheit.
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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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  • 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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  • Can humans live on Uranus?

    Q: Can humans live on Uranus?

    A: Based on scientific knowledge as of 2014, it is not possible for humans to live on Uranus. As a gas giant, Uranus lacks a solid surface for landing spacecraft or building long-term habitation facilities.
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  • When can Jupiter be seen at night?

    Q: When can Jupiter be seen at night?

    A: Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is most visible when it reaches opposition to the sun every 398.9 days on average. In March 2014, the planet was located in the Gemini constellation, making it appear bright against the night sky.
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  • What is Saturn's mass?

    Q: What is Saturn's mass?

    A: Saturn's mass is 258,326,818,200,000,000,000,000,000 pounds (568,319,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kilograms). The sixth planet in the solar system and the second largest after Jupiter, Saturn is about 886 million miles away from the Sun. According to the National Aeronautical and Space Authority, Saturn completes one rotation (spinning on its axis) in 10.70 Earth-hours.
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  • What are the nicknames for the planets?

    Q: What are the nicknames for the planets?

    A: Nicknames for the eight planets in the solar system are Swift Planet for Mercury, Morning Star and Evening Star for Venus, Blue Planet for Earth, Red Planet for Mars, Giant Planet for Jupiter, Ringed Planet for Saturn, Ice Giant for Uranus and Big Blue Planet for Neptune. Pluto was once considered a planet and had the nickname Ice Planet, but it is now classified as a dwarf planet.
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