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The Planets and the Solar System Planets 2 A planet is a celestial body that revolves around a central star and does not shine by its own light Grolier 1992 The only planetary system that is known to man is our solar system It is made up of nine planets which range in size and make-up The nine major planets in our solar system are Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune and Pluto There are also many other minor planets which are also in our solar system but they are unimportant compared to the nine major planets In this paper I will discuss the planets and how they are each unique Mercury which is the planet that is closest to the sun is the first planet I will discuss Mercury is the smallest of the inner planets It is speculated that the heat from the sun made it impossible for the gases present to become part of the planetary formation The surface of Mercury is extremely hot It is approximately 470 degrees celsius on the surface and is thought to be even hotter at the two hot spots These hot spots are on opposite ends of the equator It is the heat of the surface that makes it impossible for Mercury to have any type of atmosphere Mercury orbits the sun once every 88 days and has a true rotation period of 586 days It is the closest planet to the sun and therefore orbits faster than any other planet ThompsonTurk 542 1993 It is said that Mercury rotates three times for every two trips around the sun so that during Planets 3 every alternate perihelon passage the same face points directly at the sun Geologically the most remarkable features of Mercury are compressional cliffs or faults just the sort of wrinkles that might form in the crust if the interior of the planet shrank
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