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PLANETS in our SOLAR SYSTEM: Earth and other planets orbiting our sun

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Published on Apr 12, 2012

There are 8 planets in our solar system. From the Sun, the planets are: Mercury Venus EARTH Mars Jupiter (gas) Saturn (gas) Uranus (gas) Neptune (gas)

(the outer four planets are all gas giants)

This solar system animation shows the planets orbiting our sun. In this simulation, the planets are shown at their correct relative sizes (to each other) and their correct relative distances. Relative years (orbital periods) are also about right. The Earth, the third planet from the sun, takes just over 365 days to do a complete orbit of the sun (one Earth year).

In this animation, the sun is shrunk down compared to the planets so that it doesn't swallow the innermost planets. In reality, the planets (and even the sun) are much much smaller than shown here. If shown to scale you would see nothing at all!

The further a planet is from the sun, the slower it moves. Compare the sedate progress of the furthest planet Neptune (pale blue at upper right - with an orbital period of about 165 Earth years) to the frenzied circling of Mercury (the planet closest to the sun - whose year lasts less than a quarter of our Earth year). Notice also how Mercury speeds up as it gets closer to the sun.

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