The inner and outer planets all follow an elliptical orbit, share the same orbital plane, are spherical and contain some of the same elements. Besides those attributes, each planet is very different.Continue Reading
The inner planets are those that exist between the sun and the asteroid belt. They are:
The outer planets are those that are between the asteroid belt and the end of the solar system. These are:
The outer planets are known as Jovian or gas giants. They are much larger in size than the inner planets and are primarily composed of gases that surround a liquid metal core.
The inner planets are all smaller and denser than the outer planets. They are mostly solid and composed of rock rather than gas.
The reason for the difference in the size, density, and composition of the planets is that the gravity of the sun tends to attract heavier, solid elements, such as heavy metals, while lighter gases, such as hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, and oxygen, are not pulled as strongly inward.
The elements that exist in all of the planets are iron and nickel. Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, is almost entirely made of these two elements, while the outer planets only have trace amounts located in their core.Learn more about Planets
Perturbations in the orbit of the planets Neptune and Uranus point to the existence of Planet X in the region of the proto-planet Pluto. Planet X is beyond Uranus and Neptune and likely resides within part of the sky that hosts the constellations Scorpius or Taurus.Full Answer >
No one planet is always closest to Jupiter, as the range between Jupiter and the other planets varies depending on its position in orbit. The closest approach Jupiter is capable of making to another planet is with Mars, at a minimum separation of 551 million kilometers.Full Answer >
The orbit of the planets around the sun is a result of two opposing forces that are held in perfect balance. Planetary inertia serves to carry the planets on a course that would send them out of the solar system were it not for the gravitational attraction of the sun.Full Answer >
All eight planets in the solar system orbit the sun in the same direction and on roughly the same orbital plane. Viewed from a point over Earth's north pole, the planets circle the sun in a counter-clockwise direction.Full Answer >