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8.8: Comparing Planets

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    We will look at our Solar System and its worlds from a comparison perspective, called Comparative Planetology , rather than focus on a lot of numbers and data. To compare the planets, they will be grouped into two major types: the Rocky or Terrestrial (Earth-Like) planets , and the Gas Giants or Jovian (Jupiter-like) planets . Recall, the focus of this module will be on the Rocky Planets. The next module will focus on the Gas Giants.

    The table, Rocky Planets Vs. Gas Giant Planets , provides a broad snapshot of the differences between the Rocky Planets and the Gas Giant Planets.

    Rocky Planets Vs. Gas Giant Planets

    Rocky Planets: Mercury-Venus-Earth-Mars

    Characteristics:

    • Distance from the Sun — Close
    • Revolution Length — Short
    • Surface Type — Solid surface
    • Diameter — Small
    • Craters — Many
    • Water — All except Venus
    • Rings — None
    • Satellites — Few or none

    Gas Giant Planets: Jupiter-Saturn-Uranus-Neptune

    Characteristics:

    • Distance from the Sun — Farther out
    • Revolution Length — Long
    • Surface Type — Gas; Probably no surface or very small icy core
    • Diameter — Large
    • Craters — None (gas)
    • Water — Yes; in the atmosphere (gas)
    • Rings — Yes; from one to multiple rings
    • Satellites — Many
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