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We usually divide the planets into two groups but we have two ways of doing this One way is by location in the Solar System and the other is by what they are like The planets are located in the inner and outer parts of the Solar System so two groups are then formed The planets are also further classified in several ways Those ways are by composition size position relative to the sun position relative to Earth and history What determines what group each planet will be placed in when discussing its composition is whether it is terrestrial and rocky or gas Terrestrial planets are composed primarily of rock and metal and relatively high densities slow rotation solid surfaces no rings and few satellites Gas planets are composed primarily of hydrogen and helium and generally have low densities rapid rotation deep atmospheres rings and a lot of satellites The terrestrial planets are Mercury Venus Earth and Mars The gas planets are Jupiter Saturn Uranus and Neptune Then there is Pluto which is in a group all its own The next method of classification is by size The small planets are Mercury Venus Earth Mars and Pluto In order to be classified in the small planets group the planet must have a diameter less than 13000 km The giant planets are Jupiter Saturn Uranus and Neptune The giant planets must have the diameter greater than 48000 km The giant planets are sometimes referred to as gas giants while Mercury and Pluto are sometimes called lesser planets When discussing the position relative to the sun the planets are categorized in groups of inner and outer planets The planets in the inner Solar System are the Sun Mercury Venus Earth and Mars and in the outer Solar System are Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune and Pluto There is a belt called the asteroid belt
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