Universe Guide

What is the closest planet to the Sun?

There are three types of planets in our Solar System, Rocky, Dwarf and Gas Giant. The difference is that Rocky and Dwarf Planets have a hard surface like the Earth whereas Gas Giants probably don't. The main difference between the Rocky and Dwarf planets in our system is that Dwarf planets don't clear the parth around them.

Gas Giants might have hard surface near the core but we just don't know for certain. Gas Giants are the biggest types of planets in the Solar System, their radius can be over ten times the radius of Earth. They are massive spherical balls of gas.

Closest Rocky Planet

The closest rocky planet to the Sun is Mercury, it is about 57,910,000 km from the sun. It is also the closest planet of any type to the Sun. Its been known since ancient times when ancient astronomers noticed what looked like a star moving across the sky, a wanderer from where it gets its name from. Mercury is Roman for Messenger of the Gods.

Venus is the closest planet to the Earth. Scientists tend to study Mars more because Mars has a less hostile environment and carry out more tests and experiments on the surface.

Closest Rocky Planet with Life

The closest planet to the Sun with life is Earth. It is the only planet in the Solar System which has life. That can all change if life is ever discovered in the toxic environment of Venus. Life forms known as extremophiles have been known to live in extreme environments so there is always the possibility however tiny that some could live on Venus. Venus is located on the edge of the Goldilocks Zone.

Closest Rocky Planet with Orbiting Moon

Earth is the closest planet of any type to the Sun with an orbiting Moon. If Mercury and Venus ever had a moon, they no longer have one any more. If they did, they were not able to keep the moon as the Sun could've pulled the moon into it.

Closest Dwarf Planet

The Closest dwarf planet to the Sun is Ceres. It is the only spherical object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It has a diameter of 946 km and is located 414 million km from the Sun. The distance is on average 2.7 A.U. from the Sun. When we talk about A.U., 1 A.U. is the distance from the Sun to the Earth. Therefore, Ceres is 2.7 times the distance from the Sun than the Earth. Ceres is on an elliptical orbit so it can come in closer to the Sun and further out than the figure 2.7 that I quoted.

Ceres was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi in 1801. It was first considered to be a planet but then got demoted an asteroid. Ceres got promoted to Dwarf planet status during the International Astronomical Union meeting in 2006. It was the same meeting that saw Pluto get demoted to Dwarf Planet from Planet status because it did not clear its neighbourhood.

Closest Gas Giant

The closest gas giant planet to the Sun is Jupiter. Jupiter is the largest planet of any type that is in orbit around the Sun. It has been known of since ancient times. It is named after the Roman God of Gods.

Closest Planet with a Ring System

Although not commonly associated with rings like Saturn, Jupiter has a faint ring system which also makes it the nearest planet with rings to the Sun also. The ring system was only discovered when it was spotted by the Voyager 1 Space Probe as it flew past.

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