Post Submitted by Finley Vigliotti
As a kid, you probably found outer space to be really cool and fascinating. Maybe it even inspired you to be an astronaut. But did you ever learn these facts about the planets?
1. Earth is the only planet that is not named after a god. All the other planets are named after Roman Gods! They are usually better known by their Greek names:
Mercury – Hermes, Messenger of the Gods
Venus – Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love
Mars – Ares, God of War
Jupiter – Zeus, king of Gods
Saturn – Cronos, father of Zeus and a Titan
Uranus – King of Titans
Neptune – Poseidon, God of the Sea
The ex-planet Pluto was also named after a Roman God; Hades, God of the Underworld.
2. The name ‘Earth’ is derived from both English and German words; ‘ertha’ and ‘erde’
respectively, but nobody knows for sure who named it.
3. Although Saturn is typically the only planet depicted with rings, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune have rings too!
4. Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf planet because it has not yet made a full orbit around the sun, although members of the planetary science community have not solidified this as concrete fact yet.
5. All planets can eventually be seen with the naked eye, depending on the time of year, except Uranus and Neptune.
6. Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are called terrestrial planets because they have a dense, rocky composition.
7. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are called gas giants because of their size and gaseous composition.
8. Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, actually has ice on its surface! It’s in permanently shadowed craters, so the ice doesn’t receive sunlight or melt.
9. The Great Red Spot on Jupiter is actually a huge storm that has been going on for over 300 years!
10. Uranus’ axis is tilted so far that it basically orbits on its side! Most astronomers believe this occurred because Uranus was hit with an Earth-sized planet soon after it was formed.
Charles Q. Choi, Space.com Contributor. “Top 10 Extreme Planet Facts.” Space.com, Purch, 25 Oct. 2010, http://www.space.com/22-top-10-extreme-planet-facts.html.
“Gods and Goddesses of Greek and Roman Mythology.” Dummies, John Wiley & Sons, Inc,
Howell, Elizabeth. “Interesting Facts About The Planets.” Universe Today, Universe Today, 23 Dec. 2015, http://www.universetoday.com/33415/interesting-facts-about-the-planets/.
“Planet Facts: Interesting Facts about the Eight Planets.” The Planets, theplanets.org/planets/.