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Starting at the sun, order the planets listed below by distance from the sun
What's the Correct Order?
1. (Start with The Sun!)
4. (Home sweet home)
10. (Furthest From the Sun)
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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The Sun
The center of our solar system, and source of the energy which makes our lives possible, the sun starts off our solar system journey! The sun fuses around 600 million tons of hydrogen into helium every second, which produces the energy that the sun emits.
The smallest planet in the solar system, Mercury orbits the sun in a little over 87 days. It is named after the Roman god Mercurius, messenger of the gods. It is one of the terrestrial planets, having a rocky body like Earth. Interestingly, Mercury is mostly core -- some 55% of its volume. The core of Earth, in comparison, is only 17% of its volume.
Venus is the second planet from the sun, and is the closest planet to Earth. It has a thick, toxic atmosphere that we humans wouldn't have much fun in. Its clouds consist of sulfuric acid that trap in heat, causing a runaway greenhouse effect. Interestingly, it is the hottest planet in the solar system because of this -- even hotter than Mercury which is a lot closer to the sun.
Our home! It's only a little larger than Venus, but far more hospitable to life. The name "Earth" is actually over 1000 years old, and is of Germanic decent meaning "the ground". Our atmosphere consists mostly of nitrogen and oxygen. According to radiometric dating and other evidence, Earth formed approximately 4.5 billion years ago. Let's hope it lasts a little longer!
The red planet! Mars is the most accessible planet to us because of its stable surface, thin atmosphere, and proximity to Earth. It has also captured the imaginations of writers and luminaries for centuries. The Romans named it Mars after their god of war, fittingly because of its blood red color.
Jupiter is probably best known for its "great red spot", a persistent anticyclonic storm that is the largest in the solar system. Jupiter is a gas giant, more than twice as massive than the other planets of our solar system combined. It is thought that Jupiter is a failed star -- a huge ball of gas that couldn't quite get big enough to ignite.
It also has a magnetic field 14 times as strong as Earth's!
Ahh beautiful Saturn. Known for its dazzling icy rings, it is perhaps one of the most intruiging and fascinating planets in our solar system. The other giant planets also have rings, although they pale in comparison to Saturn.
Uranus is a stinky planet. Really. Its clouds are made of hydrogen sulfide, the same chemical that makes rotten eggs smell so foul. It is unique in our solar system in that its equator is nearly 90 degrees from its orbit. In other words, the planet orbits on its side. The going theory is that a massive object collided with Uranus approximately 4 billion years ago causing the tilt.
Neptune is the eighth planet from the sun and has a gorgeous blue color. It is far from the sun and extremely cold. Interestingly, inconsistencies in the orbit of Uranus led to Neptune being the first planet discovered by mathematics rather than direct observation. Neptune is about 17 times as massive as Earth.
Poor Pluto. It used to be a planet: a member of an exclusive club, but was kicked out when it was determined it was too small to count. It is now considered a dwarf planet, and there may be millions of similar objects in the distant reaches of the solar system. It takes Pluto 248 Earth years to orbit the sun, and a Pluto day lasts 153 Earth hours!