Our Solar System


Distance from the sun: 57,909,100 km
Orbital period: 87.97 Earth days
Mean radius: 0.38 Earths

Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system and was first observed in the 17th century by Galileo. It's surface temperature can range from -170°C to 426°C.


Distance from the sun: 108,208,000 km
Orbital period: 224.7 Earth days
Mean radius: 0.95 Earths

While Venus is similiar in size and mass to the Earth, the conditions on Venus are vastly different; It's atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, clouds made of sulfuric acid, and the hottest temperatures of any planet in the solar system (462°C).


Distance from the sun: 227,939,100 km
Orbital period: 686.97 Earth days
Mean radius: 6,371km

Our home; The pale blue dot; The Blue Marble. The farthest any human has been from Earth was 400,171 km in April 1970 (the Apollo 13 crew).


Distance from the sun: 149,598,261 km
Orbital period: 365.26 Earth days
Mean radius: 0.53 Earths

Mars gets it's red color from iron oxide found on the surface. It's also home to the second highest known mountain within our solar system and one of the largest canyons. As of 2013, there are two spacecraft functioning on the surface of Mars: Opportunity and Curiosity.


Distance from the sun: 778,547,200 km
Orbital period: 11.86 Earth years
Mean radius: 11.21 Earths

Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. It also has at least 67 moons, the largest of which has a diameter greater than that of Mercury. The "Great Red Spot", a storm large enough to contain 2-3 Earths, has existed since it was first observed in the 1800s.


Distance from the sun: 1,433,449,370 km
Orbital period: 29.46 Earth years
Mean radius: 9.45 Earths

The famous rings surround Saturn are made up of mostly ice particles, rocks, and dust. Like Jupiter, Saturn also has a large number of known moons: 62. The moon Titan is the only moon in the Solar System to have an atmosphere.


Distance from the sun: 2,876,679,082 km
Orbital period: 84.32 Earth years
Mean radius: 4 Earths

Uranus' atmosphere, composed mostly of water; ammonia; and methane, is the coldest atmosphere in our solar system: A cool -224°C. Uranus is unique among the planets in that it is tilted 97 degrees. Because of this, each pole gets around 42 years of continuous sunlight (and then 42 years of darkness).


Distance from the sun: 4,503,443,661 km
Orbital period: 164.79 Earth years
Mean radius: 3.83 Earths

Neptune was the first planet found by mathematical prediction instead of direct observation. It has the strongest winds of any planet, as high as 2,100 km/h. Neptune has been visited only once by spacecraft, Voyager 2, in August 1989.

New Horizons

Distance from the sun: 3,868,000,000 km
Speed (relative to sun): 15.137 km/s
Launched: January 19, 2006

New Horizons is currently making it's way to Pluto, where it will be the first spacecraft to fly by a photograph the dwarf planet and its moons. It is expected to reach Pluto in Jul 2015. The spacecraft also flew by Jupiter during which time it provided data about the planet and its moons.

Voyager 1

Distance from the sun: 18,490,446,400 km
Speed (relative to sun): 17.036 km/s
Launched: September 5, 1977

Voyager 1 is the farthest man-made object from Earth. Currently in the outermost layer of our solar system, it is close to becoming the first man-made object to leave the Solar System. Its primary mission was to provide data on both Jupiter and Saturn (and their moons). Like Voyager 2, it carries a golden record.

Voyager 2

Distance from the sun: 15,123,746,300 km
Speed (relative to sun): 15.427 km/s
Launched: August 20, 1977

Similar to Voyager 1, Voyager 2 was launched to study the 4 outer planets. Unlike Voyager 1, though, 2 also flew by Uranus and Saturn and is the only spacecraft to have done so. Its current mission is to locate and study the boundaries of the Solar System and beyond. Like Voyager 1, it carries a golden record.