Q:

What separates the inner planets from the outer planets?

A:

Quick Answer

In the universe, an asteroid belt physically separates and distinguishes the inner planets from the outer planets. This asteroid belt appears just after Mars and right before Jupiter. Mars bears the distinction of farthest inner planet from the sun while Jupiter takes recognition as the closest outer planet.

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Full Answer

In the solar system, the inner planets include Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. These planets, in that order, span the distance from closest to furthest from the sun. The four inner planets are classified as terrestrial planets, which means their surfaces were formed from solid substances. Although classified as terrestrial, Earth is the only inner planet capable of supporting vast amounts of life.

The other planets contain some hospitable features, such as water and ice, but lack the climactic conditions suitable for growth. The cores and surfaces of the inner planets were formed primarily from metals and elements. Heavy metals of iron and nickel form the many layers of most inner planets. In contrast to the inner planets, the outer planets contain warmer atmospheres as they were formed from gases and liquids. These planets feature rings and many moons. Like the inner planets, outer planets vary in size. Jupiter, also the closest to the sun, is the largest.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are the inner planets made of?

    A:

    The inner planets are made of rocks and metals and are called the terrestrial planets. They are Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars. As of 2014, Earth is the only terrestrial planet known to have life.

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  • Q:

    What are heavenly bodies?

    A:

    Heavenly bodies are the things that make up the universe, such as stars, planets and smaller objects. Within these categories are many different variations instead of one single type.

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  • Q:

    What color is each planet?

    A:

    The colors for inner planets Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are gray, yellowish-white, predominantly blue with patches of other colors and red-orange, respectively; the outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune have the colors orange with white bands, light yellow, light blue and pale blue, respectively. Mercury, which is the closest planet to the sun, has no atmosphere, and its surface appears gray. Mars color is red-orange because its surface contains rust-colored rocks.

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  • Q:

    What is the biggest planet in the universe?

    A:

    As of 2015, the largest known planet in the universe is TrES-4, a gas giant that is approximately 1.7 times the diameter of Jupiter, but only approximately 92 percent as massive. Located 1,430 light-years from Earth, TrES-4 was discovered in 2007 in the Hercules constellation by the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey.

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