Astrophotography – Planets

Rocky Inner Planets

Mercury  (distance from Earth to Mercury = 60.2 million miles / 97 million km – 4.3 light minutes)
 It is a small planet which orbits closer to the sun than any other planet in our solar system. As well as being very hot, it features a barren, crater covered surface which looks similar to Earth’s moon. It has a very barren, rocky surface covered with many craters.

Venus  (distance from Earth to Venus = 86.3 million miles / 139 million km; 6 light-minutes)
It can be best described with two words: cloudy and hot. The entire surface of Venus is constantly covered by clouds as a result Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system. It is even hotter than Mercury, which is much closer to the Sun. Venus is a terrestrial planet like Mercury, Earth, and Mars.

It is the largest of the four terrestrial planets, the other terrestrial planets being Mercury, Venus, and Mars – there are many things that make Earth unique among the Solar System’s planets.

Mars  (distance from Earth to Mars = 147 million miles / 236.7 million km – 3.03 light minutes)
It is the fourth planet from its Sun and is the second smallest planet in the solar system – the planet is red because of a mineral called iron oxide that’s very common on its surface. Mars is a terrestrial planet – it’s rocky with craters and mountains.


Gas Giant Planets

Jupiter  (distance from Earth to Jupiter = 542.3 million miles / 872.7 million km – 45 light minutes)
It is the largest planet in our solar system. Its famous ‘Red Spot’ and raging gas storms give it an impressive if not intimidating appearance. As well as having many moons, Jupiter also has a number of rings similar to that of Saturn but much less noticeable. Jupiter is the largest planet in our Solar system.

Saturn  (distance from Earth to Saturn  = 0.9 billion miles / 1.6 billion km – 81 light minutes)
It has a small rocky core covered with liquid gas. It is surrounded by a system of rings that stretch out into space for thousands of kilometres. The rings are made up of millions of ice crystals, some as big as houses and others as small as specks of dust.

Uranus (distance from Earth to Uranus = 1.87 billion miles / 3.01 billion km – 2.1 light hours)
It has a very unique rotation – it spins on its side at an almost 90-degree angle, unlike other planets. Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1781. Uranus lies more than 1,739 million miles / 2,800 million km from the Sun.

Neptune  (distance from Earth to Neptune =  2.87 billion miles / 4.62 million km – 4 light hours)
It has the faintest rings of all of the gas giants. Even though Neptune is a gas giant it has the second largest gravity of all of the solar system planets. Neptune has a Great Dark Spot that is the size of our Earth and a Small Dark Spot that is almost the size of our moon.

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