The universe is a wildly mysterious place. Astronomers have been staring and studying it for centuries, and yet there are still so many things we do not know. One orbiter could bring new information to light any day. However, that does not mean we haven’t learned anything. NASA has been hard at work, along with many other scientists who have been struggling to unveil more of the universe’s mysteries. At the very least, those within our solar system.
They have been named after Roman gods, so their majesty and grandeur are all there. Here are 25 cool facts about planets within our very own solar system that you probably didn’t know. It’s an interesting world out there, beyond the boundaries of Earth. It’s a system full of odd contradictions, incredible facts, and etched in theories that we may never come to confirm.
However, before we move forward into the new age of technological advancement and further discovery, we need to know a few things could be potentially fascinating first. Keep in mind that we have included Pluto, even down its status has been downgraded from a ‘planet’ to a ‘dwarf planet’. We believe in Pluto.
#1 Mercury Is The Closest Planet To The Sun, But Not The Hottest
It’s the second planet closest to the sun instead, Venus, that takes that distinction. The average temperature of the celestial body named after the Roman goddess of love is 875o Fahrenheit. Hot, hot, hot. That sizzling heat is enough to melt tin and lead. Mercury, on the other hand, has an average temperature of 800o F. Still pretty warm out there too.
#2 Mercury Has Fickle And Extreme Temperatures
You need to pack a lot of things for a trip to Mercury if that were even possible. It ranges from incredibly high temperatures as previously mentioned, to dangerously low ones at night. The temperature plummets to freezing -275o F, which represents the biggest swing from hot to cold in our solar system.
#3 There Is Ice On Mercury
It may be the closest planet to the sun, so you could be surprised to know that there’s ice on its surface. In fact, it’s a permanent presence in its shadowed craters, where the sunlight can never shine.
#4 Where Are The Moons?
Mercury and Venus are the only planets in our solar system without moons. And no one knows why.
#5 What’s That Smell?
Mercury likely smells. The planet’s atmosphere is too weak to hold onto any gas, but it does have the ability to hold on to any ions that cross its path. Mercury hangs on to the kind of things that Earth doesn’t because it does not have the fresh and life-sustaining oxygen of our home. Ions of magnesium, sodium, calcium and hydrogen sulphide linger. So, it likely smells awful.
#6 Wanted: Mars’ atmosphere
Scientists have well established that Mars had water once and a thicker atmosphere to support it. However, that atmosphere is now pretty much gone, and no one knows where it went. All scientists have are theories of its mysterious disappearance.
#7 Mars Has The Highest Highs and the Lowest Lows
While Mercury presents with that regarding temperatures, Mars holds that distinction from a geographical standpoint. The Red Planet hosts the biggest mountain in our solar system, Olympus Mons, which is around 17 miles high. That’s three times taller than Mount Everest. Mars also has the deepest and longest system of canyons, called Valles Marineris. They are between 5 to 6 miles deep and run for around 2,500 miles.
#8 Jupiter Is The MVP Of The Solar System
Due to its incredible gravitational pull and sheer size, Jupiter is an amazing asteroid catcher. In fact, scientists believed that it absorbs a lot of space junk, which ultimately keeps it away from Earth. Thanks, Jupiter!
#9 The Day Goes By Fast On Jupiter
The gas giant has incredibly short days, equal to 9 hours and 55 minutes on Earth. That’s basically a Sunday sleeping in on our planet.
#10 There’s a Giant Red Spot On Jupiter
Otherwise known as the Great Red Spot, this incredible feature of the planet not only hosts storms of unbelievable power, but it’s also massive, hence the name. You could fit Earth in there three times.
#11 The Age of Saturn’s rings
As fascinating as the rings are, no one knows how longs they’ve been there. Records date their presence back to the 1600s, but it is possible that they could’ve been around for billions of years. However, that has not been proven yet.
#12 The Stealthy Ring of Saturn
Everyone knows of the planet’s most famous feature. However, it appears that our attention has not been so intent on the rings as we liked it. Due the advancement in technology, scientists found another ring around Saturn in 2009. It’s very faint, even though its diameter is around 200 times bigger than Earth.
#13 Saturn Could Float On Water
If you found a tub big enough, Saturn could actually float on water due to its very small density. It’s the lightest planet in our solar system.
#14 Uranus is Crooked
It’s not just the planet that is often the punchline of many jokes. Uranus is also fascinating in its nature due to its weird tilt. In fact, the planet is so skewed that it’s almost orbiting the sun on its side. It’s believed that this occurs to due to a massive collision with an Earth-sized planet shortly after its formation. Or maybe it’s just tired.
#15 Seasons on Uranus Last Decades
We have learned from Game of Thrones that there are worlds where one season could last several years. That’s literally the case on Uranus. One season could last up to 20 years there.
#16 Out Of Sight, But Not Out Of Mind
Uranus and Neptune are the only two planets you cannot see from Earth with the use of a modest telescope or binoculars. Venus, on the other hand, is the easiest to spot because it’s the brightest.
#17 Neptune Has Its Own Storm Spot
Jupiter is not the only planet in our solar system with a spot filled with violent storms. Neptune has one too, even though it’s a lot darker and “smaller”. That just means it’s as big as Earth. Very tiny, indeed.
#18 Pluto Can Get Closer To The Sun
Even though it’s now called a dwarf planet, it does not mean that Pluto doesn’t still have some very exciting capabilities. Pluto was always known as the planet that was furthest away from the sun. However, that was not always the case. In fact, between September 1989 and February 1999, it jumped ahead of Neptune. For a full decade, Pluto’s orbit made it the second furthest planet away from the sun.
# 19 Pluto Is Smaller Than The USA
Perhaps this is a better explanation why it was downgraded from the status of planet. The longest distance across the U.S. is of around 2,900 miles from Maine to California. Pluto, on the other hand, has an estimated diameter of just 1,400 miles. Hence the demotion.
#20 Pluto Is Not At The Edge Of The Solar System
You may believe that because it’s the furthest away from the sun that it sits on the edge. However, the edge of the solar system is around 1,000 times farther away from the sun than Pluto. There’s plenty of space in between.