Planets

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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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  • 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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  • Have any man-made satellites been sent to Mars?

    Q: Have any man-made satellites been sent to Mars?

    A: Several man-made satellites have been sent to Mars since 1964. The first spacecraft to Mars, known as Mariner 3, was launched on Nov. 5, 1964. This spacecraft malfunctioned and failed to fly by Mars as planned.
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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 probes have been sent to Saturn?

    Q: What probes have been sent to Saturn?

    A: As of June 2014, there have been a total of four probes to visit the planet Saturn. Since the Pioneer 11 spacecraft first visited Saturn in 1979, much has been learned about the ringed planet.
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  • How many Earths can fit into Jupiter?

    Q: How many Earths can fit into Jupiter?

    A: According to NASA, about 1000 Earths can fit inside Jupiter. The massive fifth planet is large enough to hold all the planets in the solar system easily.
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  • What are the diameters of the planets?

    Q: What are the diameters of the planets?

    A: The diameters of the planets are as follows: Mercury is 3,032 miles; Venus is 7,521 miles; Earth is 7,926 miles; Mars is 4,222 miles; Jupiter is 88,846 miles; Saturn is 74,898 miles; Uranus is 31,763 miles; Neptune is 30,778 miles. As a result, the largest planet by diameter is Jupiter and the smallest is Mercury.
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  • Does Mars have clouds?

    Q: Does Mars have clouds?

    A: Mars indeed does have water ice clouds, similar to Earth's cirrus clouds, both high in the atmosphere and often forming as icy fog just above the ground surface. The Viking orbiter was able to capture sunrise pictures during which an icy fog was rising from within Martian craters.
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  • What is Venus' nickname?

    Q: What is Venus' nickname?

    A: The planet Venus' nicknames are the Morning Star and the Evening Star. From Earth, the planet sometimes looks like a bight star in the morning and the evening skies.
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  • Could people live on Saturn?

    Q: Could people live on Saturn?

    A: Saturn would provide a hostile environment for most of the life found on Earth, according to Fraser Cain of Universe Today. It could not be inhabited by humans without extensive protection.
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  • How would a human being fare on Mars?

    Q: How would a human being fare on Mars?

    A: Low pressures, a lack of oxygen and cold weather on Mars would force humans to remain confined to spacecrafts and vehicles, according to physics.org. Astronauts could occasionally walk around in the open, but only if they wore spacesuits. Settlers would risk dying if their spacesuits became seriously damage. Underground shelter would be an ideal scenario. As of 2014, no settlement on Mars has been established.
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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 miles is Jupiter from the sun?

    Q: How many miles is Jupiter from the sun?

    A: Jupiter is located an average of 483.64 million miles from the sun. The exact distance between Jupiter and the sun varies depending on the location of Jupiter along its orbit.
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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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  • Which two planets are the only ones in the solar system to have no moons?

    Q: Which two planets are the only ones in the solar system to have no moons?

    A: Mercury and Venus are the two planets in the solar system without any moons. This is likely due to the close proximity of both planets to the sun.
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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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  • What kind of atmosphere does Neptune have?

    Q: What kind of atmosphere does Neptune have?

    A: Neptune's atmosphere is similar to the atmospheres of other large planets and contains helium and hydrogen. It also has trace amounts of water, ammonia, methane and other ices.
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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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  • What are some facts about the outer planets in our solar system?

    Q: What are some facts about the outer planets in our solar system?

    A: Outer planets of the solar system are made predominantly of gases. They tend to have many more moons than the inner planets, and outer planets take a shorter period of time to rotate around their axes.
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  • What is the difference between a planet and a star?

    Q: What is the difference between a planet and a star?

    A: Planets and stars differ in their mass, composition and life cycle. Stars are usually structurally simple bodies of high mass that produce energy by way of nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium. Planets are much smaller, do not generate light and usually orbit stars.
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  • How did Saturn form?

    Q: How did Saturn form?

    A: Saturn formed according to one of two models: the core accretion model, which states that planets formed over time through gravitational forces drawing materials together, or the disk instability model, which states that clumps of dust and gas fused together quickly and progressively formed a planet.
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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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