Earth is the fifth-largest planet in the solar system and the only planet supporting life. It is the only terrestrial planet with liquid water on its surface. The radius of Earth is 3,959 miles and completes one orbit around the Sun in 365.25 days. Earth takes 23.9 hours to complete one rotation, causing day and night. If you wonder which is the third nearest planet to the Sun, this article will help you. Also, you will learn about planets in order from the Sun and planets closest to the Sun along with what is the third planet closest to the sun.
1. Which Planet is closest to the Sun?
The planet that orbits closest to the Sun is Mercury, which is nearly equal to the Earth’s moon and the solar system’s smallest planet. The Sun appears three times larger from the surface of Mercury than when viewed from the surface of Earth. Also, sunlight would be experienced seven times more on Mercury’s surface than on Earth’s. Although close to the Sun, Mercury is not the hottest. Mercury has an egg-shaped elliptical orbit. Also, check out how many Suns are in the Universe?
2. Which is the Third Nearest Planet to the Sun?
You may also ask, what is the third planet closest to the sun? The fifth-largest planet is the Earth, which is the third nearest planet to the Sun. Earth has favorable conditions supporting life and water, which is essential for survival. The temperature is moderate. That is neither too cold nor too hot. Earth’s atmosphere comprises gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen, making it a unique planet. Earth, one of the planets closest to the Sun, is also called a blue planet since it appears blue from outer space due to water covering two-thirds of the Earth’s surface. Also, check out who named our planet Earth?
3. The Earth is the Third Nearest Planet to the Sun. True or False?
The given statement is true. The distance between Earth and the Sun is approximately 93 million miles. Therefore, Earth, our home planet, is third in the planets in order from the Sun. (See What is Revolution and Rotation?)
4. What is the Distance from the Earth to the Sun?
As you know what is the third planet closest to the sun, note that the distance of the Sun from the Earth is 151.91 million kilometers, which is about 93 million miles, equal to 1 Astronomical unit. Scientists use astronomical units to calculate the distance between celestial objects. The distance of Earth from the Sun varies throughout the year since it orbits around the Sun in an elliptical orbit. (See How many times Bigger is Earth than the Moon?)
5. The Four Planets Closest to the Sun are called?
Terrestrial planets are the four planets that are closest to the Sun. To name them are Earth, Venus, Mercury, and Mars. They are called terrestrial because their surface is made of rocks. Pluto also has a rocky surface but is not grouped with these planets. The smallest terrestrial planet is Mercury.
6. Which Planet is Farthest from the Sun?
Besides which is the third planet closest to the sun, in the solar system, Neptune is the farthest planet from the Sun. Earlier, Pluto was the farthest planet from the Sun, but later it was realized to be a dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union. Also, Pluto jumped inside Neptune’s orbit in 1979, due to which the farthest planet remained to be Neptune. Later, Pluto again slipped out, becoming the farthest planet. Now, this confusion has ended, finally declaring Neptune to be the farthest.
Neptune is also one of the ice giants. It is 30 times away from the Sun compared to the Earth. To complete a single orbit around the Sun, Neptune takes 165 Earth days. One day on Neptune is equal to 16 hours. (See In Which Direction does the Sun Set?)
7. What are the Four Planets Farthest from the Sun called?
Jovian planets are the farthest planets and they are Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune. They are different from terrestrial planets. These are also referred to as the gas or ice giants. The Jovian word is derived from the term Jupiter, which is the largest planet and was first observed by Galileo. These gas giants contain gases like hydrogen, helium, and heavy elements. Also, they have their systems of rings and large systems of moons as well.
Saturn and Jupiter are gas giants, while Neptune and Uranus are ice giants. Uranus and Neptune are hazy blues due to the presence of methane. Jupiter and Saturn are orangish white due to hydrogen, and there are patches due to sulfur, phosphorus, and hydrocarbons that are spots and white bands created by the ammonia crystals. (See Where is the Center of the Earth Located?)
8. What is the Hottest Planet in the Solar System?
After knowing what is the third planet closest to the sun, you must be curious about the hottest planet. The closest planet to Earth is Venus, the second in the planets in order from the Sun. Moreover, it is the hottest planet because it has a thick atmosphere consisting of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and sulfuric acid clouds, making the atmosphere thick. This thick atmosphere traps the heat which makes the surface of the furnace. Even metal would melt on the surface of Venus. The pressure on the surface of Venus is more than 90 times that on Earth because of the heavy atmosphere.
Also, it is extremely dry, and the absence of water on the surface is due to scorching heat, which causes the water to boil away. The highly reflected clouds of Venus make it the brightest planet when observed from the Earth’s surface. As the distance increases from the Sun, the temperature of the surface of the planet decreases. But Venus is an exception due to its thick atmosphere. The temperature is approximately 867 ̊F (464 ̊C), and that of Mercury, which is the closest planet to the Sun, the temperature is 333 ̊F (167 ̊C) only. Must read how hot is the Sun?
9. Which is the Smallest Planet in the Solar System?
By mass and volume, Mercury is the smallest planet. It is closer in size to that of the moon. The diameter and mass of Mercury are 4879 km and 3.3010 × 1023 kg, respectively. Earth is 20 times heavier than Mercury, and the diameter of Earth is nearly two times that of Mercury. Mercury travels faster around the Sun because of an average distance of only 58 million kilometers.
Compared to Pluto, Mercury is two times the figure in size. Being the closest to the Sun, Mercury is not the hottest planet because of the absence of the greenhouse effect that causes the heat to escape very quickly. Also, the second densest of the planets is Mercury due to its compact size and presence of an iron core. Must read 18 fun facts about Space.
10. List the Planets in Order from the Sun
The planets are arranged in the following order from outward towards the Sun:
- Venus, and
- Mercury. (See What is the Color of Each Planet?)
11. Is there a 9th Planet?
As you are aware of what is the third planet closest to the sun, you must know that Planet X in an elliptical orbit is referred to as Planet 9, a hypothetical object far beyond Pluto. In 1930, Pluto was determined to be planet X. But in 2006, Pluto was referred to as a dwarf planet. Then it was found that said planet did not trace the elliptical rings around the Sun as expected. It was observed that the planet now was pulled away and had its orbit, which could be between 5 to 10 times the Earth’s size.
Not only this planet but it was said that six others accompanied it. The cluster of these was pulled in the same direction but did not get lost after several years. The tilt continued to increase, and the number of objects in the orbital pattern increased. With this, 19 planets were declared by Batygin. The research on planet 9 is still going on. (See What is the Difference between Oceanic Crust and Continental Crust?)
12. Why is Pluto no longer a Planet? List 3 Reasons why Pluto is not a Planet
Pluto is no longer a planet. According to resolution 5A, a planet is a body that possesses a clear neighborhood around its orbit. In contrast, according to resolution 6A, a dwarf planet is a body that does not possess a clear neighborhood around it. Later it was found that Pluto’s orbit overlapped with Neptune’s orbit, which is, that it did not have a clear neighborhood and so it was referred to as a dwarf planet. So, Pluto did not meet the criteria of the international astronomical union to be a planet. (See How long does it Take to Walk around the Earth?)
Apart from answering what is the third planet closest to the sun, the following are the other reasons why Pluto is not a planet:
- Pluto is smaller even than the Earth’s moon and is rocky and dense. Pluto is the neighbor of Jovian planets like Neptune, Saturn, and Jupiter. Due to this reason, it is believed that Pluto might also have originated in space and the Sun’s gravity caught it. Some theories consider Pluto to be Neptune’s moon.
- The orbit of Pluto is at an angle of 17 ̊ to the plane around the Sun while other planets orbit in a flat plane. Also, it has an exceptionally elliptical orbit that crosses Neptune’s orbit.
- Charon, one of the moons of Pluto, is about half its size, and the astronomers recommend considering Pluto and Charon as a binary system and not the planet and satellite. (Also read How Convection Current causes the Lithospheric Plate to move?)