Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun
It resembles the moon in that it has impact
craters on its surface
It has a crater called the Caloris Impact Basin
which is the size of Texas
Mercury’s molten core is larger than Earth’s core
relative to their respective planet sizes
The temperature on Mercury varies by around
600 degrees C between day and night
Mercury has the most elliptical orbit of any planet
in the Solar System
The surface of Venus is hot enough to melt
However, its composition is very similar to
• 96.4% carbon dioxide
• 3.4% nitrogen
• 0.015% sulfur dioxide
• 0.007% argon
• 0.002% water vapor
It is frequently referred to as the morning or
evening star, as it can be seen in the sky right
after the Sun rises or sets.
Earth formed approximately 4.54 billion
More than 70 percent of the Earth is
covered in water.
• 78.084% nitrogen
• 20.846% oxygen
• 0.9340% argon
• 0.1 % water vapor
• 0.039% carbon dioxide
• Minimal percentages of neon, helium,
methane, krypton, hydrogen, nitrous
oxide and carbon monoxide
The Earth’s lithosphere (solid outer layer)
floats on molten magma.
Earth’s moon is the largest moon relative to
the planet that it orbits in the Solar System
Mars is known as ‘The Red Planet’.
The temperature on Mars barely reaches 0
degrees C on a summer day
There has been evidence found on Mars of the
existence of water
This leads to possibilities of life, such as
microorganisms, existing there.
Mars is home to ‘Olympus Mons’, the largest
volcano in the solar system – it is three times the
height of Mount Everest!
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar
It is a gaseous planet that is more than three
hundred times the mass of the Earth.
It has a ‘Great Red Spot’, which is actually a
hurricane three times bigger than our planet,
that has been going on for at least 200 years.
If you managed to travel to Jupiter, the first
thing that you would come across would be
an invisible force field.
The core of Jupiter is thought to be solid, and
around the size of the Earth
Saturn is the second largest planet in the
Its diameter is ten times that of the Earth and
it is ten times further away from the Sun.
Saturn has 53 known moons, and has 9
moons that have been discovered and are
waiting to be confirmed
Saturn’s ‘Great White Spot’ is a giant storm,
similar to Jupiter’s ‘Great Red Spot’.
However, Saturn’s ‘Great White Spot’ is not
always there, and only shows up
intermittently, around every 30 years.
Saturn’s rings are so thin that they appear to
vanish when they are looked at straight on the
When Uranus was first discovered, it was
mistakenly catalogued as a star
Uranus is the name of the father of the Roman
Unlike any of the other planets, it spins on its
side, with its northern hemisphere facing the
Sun for 42 years of sunlight, before turning the
other way and experiencing 42 years of
Uranus has 27 moons named after various
characters from works of William Shakespeare
and Alexander Pope
Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun
Neptune is made up mostly of hydrogen
and helium, with a small amount of
Neptune is blue because the methane in its
atmosphere absorbs red light from the Sun,
but reflects blue light
Neptune has 13 moons which are named
after different sea gods and nymphs in
• Brunier, Serge. Solar System Voyage. Cambridge University Press, 2002.
• Chown, Marcus. Solar System: A Visual Exploration of the Planets, Moons, and Other
Heavenly Bodies that Orbit Our Sun. Touch Press and Faber and Faber, 2011.