How many planets are there in the solar system 2021?

solar system

Back when we were in school there were 9 planets in the solar system: – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune & Pluto. But now there are only 8 planets in the solar system. What happened? Who dropped out? Yah its Pluto, but why?

Well, it all changed after the discovery of Eris by Mike Brown. In 2006 scientists started to speculate whether Pluto is a Planet or not. Pluto was demoted as a planet in 2006 when a group of scientists made a new definition of a planet. According to IAU (International Astronomical Union), a planet is a celestial body that: –

1: is in the orbit around the Sun

2: has enough gravity to pull itself into a sphere

3: has cleared the neighborhood around its orbit.

The above definition is given by IAU, do you have your own definition of a planet?

Sadly, Pluto fails the Third criteria. Therefore, Pluto was termed as a dwarf planet.

According to IAU, there are 8 planets, 5 dwarf planets, 181 moons, 566,000 asteroids, and 3100 comets.

Pluto isn’t the only dwarf planet in the solar system, here are all the dwarf planets: –

Dwarf Planets

1: Pluto

Planet Pluto in true color
Pluto in true colors

The Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 and is one of the members of the Kuiper belt. Pluto is the founding member of the dwarf family. It takes Pluto 248 years to make an orbit around the Sun, and out of that only 20 years are spent inside Neptune’s orbit.

Pluto was demoted as a planet in 2006. Pluto has five moons: Charon, Nix, Kerberos, Hydra, and Styx.

Diameter: 2376.6 km

Orbit: 248 Earth Years

Day: 153 hours

Read the full guide on Pluto

2: Ceres

Dwarf planet Ceres photo by Dawn Spacecraft
Photo by Dawn Spacecraft

Ceres has a diameter of only 939 km, therefore, it is the smallest dwarf planet. Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres in 1801. It contains 30% of the combined mass of the asteroid belt. Ceres surface is made of ice and rock.

Diameter: 939 km

Orbit: 4.6 Earth Years

Day: 9 Earth hours

Read the full guide on Ceres

3: Haumea

Dwarf planet Haumea

Haumea was discovered in 2003 and its moons in 2005. It is egg-shaped and has two moons: Hi’iaka and Nakama. The planet orbits the Sun once every 285 years. Haumea is a third of the mass of Pluto.

Diameter: 1632 km

Orbit: 284 Earth Years

Day: 3.9 Earth hours

Read the full guide on Haumea

4: Makemake

Makemake dwarf planet

Makemake is also located in the Kuiper belt. It was discovered in 2005 and is two-thirds the size of Pluto. Makemake orbits Sun once every 310 years.

Diameter: 1430 km

Orbit: 305 Earth years

Day: 22.5 Earth hours

Read the full guide on Makemake

5: Eris

Eris is 27% more massive than Pluto. It also has one moon called Dysnomia. Eris orbits Sun once every 557 years.

Diameter: 2326 km

Orbit: 557 Earth Years

Day: 25.9 Earth hours

Read the full guide on Eris

PLANETS

1: Mercury

Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and is the smallest planet in the solar system. Mercury has no natural satellites. The planet Mercury has a very thin atmosphere.

Mercury is visible from the naked eye. Closer the planet is to the Sun faster it moves in order to stay in the orbit therefor Mercury is the fastest planet in the solar system.

Diameter: 4878 km

Orbit: 88 Earth Days

Day: 58 Earth Days

Read the full guide on Mercury

2: Venus

Brightest planet in solar system

Venus is called the morning star or evening star because it is always close to the sun during sunrise or sunset. It is close to the size of the earth.

Out of all planets in the solar system, Venus is the hottest. It has a very dense atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is the main component of the Venusian atmosphere.

Venus spins the opposite compared to other planets. It has no magnetic field. Venus doesn’t have any natural satellite.

Diameter: 12,104km

Orbit: 225 Earth Days

Day: 241 Earth Days

Read the full guide on Venus

3. Earth

Earth our home
Our Home

Earth is the only planet in the solar system where life is known to exist and where we live. Water covers 2/3 of the Earth’s surface

Earth has a small ozone layer which is a layer made up of O3 gas which reflects the Sun’s UV radiation. As we all know that our planet has one satellite (Moon). Earth is the densest planet in the solar system.

Diameter: 12,756km

Orbit: 365.2 days

Day: 24 hours

Read the full guide on Earth

4. Mars

Biggest planet in solar system Jupiter and great red spot

Mars is often called the red planet because its surface is made of high ironic content. It is smaller than Earth and Venus. Mars’s atmosphere is mostly made of Carbon Dioxide. It has rocky mountains and valleys just like earth.

 Mars has the highest volcano in the solar system Olympus Mons, which is 20km high. The planet has two natural satellites Delmos and Phobos thought to be either asteroid or ejected from massive impact in the early days.

Diameter: 6792km

Orbit: 687 Earth days

Day: 24.7 hours

Read the full guide on Mars

5. Jupiter

Jupiter:- great red spot
Jupiter and its Great Red Spot

The planet Jupiter is by far the biggest planet in our solar system. Its mass is 2.5 times greater than the mass of all the planets combined. It is so big that 1300 piles of earth can fit in it. Planet’s atmosphere is mostly made up of Hydrogen and Helium.

The planet also has the Great Red Spot where four piles of earth can easily fit in. It has 79 satellites of which Ganymede is the largest and also the largest in the solar system. And, Hey! It rains diamonds on the mighty gas giant.

Diameter: 142,984 km

Orbit: 4331 Earth days

Day: 9.9 hours

Read the full guide on Jupiter

6. Saturn

'Planet Saturn and its rings'

Saturn is arguably the most beautiful planet in the solar system. It is mostly known for its rings. Saturn is less dense than water. Saturn has 59 named satellites of which Titan is the biggest, it is bigger than Mercury.

Diameter: 120,536 km

Orbit:10,747 Earth days

Day: 10.7 hours

Read the full guide on Saturn

7. Uranus

Uranus planet in solar system

Firstly, Uranus orbits the sun on its sides. The atmosphere is composed mainly of Hydrogen and Helium.

The planet has a blue-green color because of Methane in its atmosphere. Uranus has 11 inner rings and 2 outer rings. Uranus has 27 known moons.

Diameter: 51,118 km

Orbit: 30,589 Earth days

Day: 17.2 hours

Read the full guide on on Uranus

8. Neptune

Neptune planet

Neptune is blue because of Methane in its atmosphere which absorbs red light and reflects blue. It is denser than Uranus. It is 17 times more massive than the earth.

Like Jupiter Neptune also has a great dark spot which is larger than Earth. Neptune has six known rings but they are relatively short-lived. Neptune has 14 satellites.

Diameter: 49,528 km

Orbit: 59,800 Earth days

Day: 16.1 hours

Read the full guide on on Neptune

Did You Know? Scientists are speculating the potential existence of the actual Ninth planet (not Pluto) which is predicted to be 10 times the size of planet earth.

Conclusion

At the beginning of the 21st century, there was a lot of speculation about this topic. In 2006 IAU finally settled the debate. Maybe a little harsh on Pluto.

Do you think that the definition of a planet should be redefined again? What do you think of the new planet nine speculations?

Prajyot Kumbharjuvekar

Co-founder of astronomiac

Prajyot is a writer and co-founder of Astronomiac. Writer at day and reader at night, he writes everything about astronomy.



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2 thoughts on “How many planets are there in the solar system 2021?”

  1. While I was in high school, we were taught by our teacher that there are nine planets. And in order for us to remember the names of the planets very quickly, my teacher made it easy for us like this:
    my……………….mercury
    very…………….venus
    educated…….earth
    mother………..mars
    just………………jupiter
    show……………sarurn
    us………………..uranus
    nine……………..neptune
    planet…………..pluto
    Now the world is confuse whether we have 8 or 9 or 10 or 12 planets. God indeed created the universe and for human beings to know everything about His creations so minutely would eventually term God not a God. Now nobody for certain knows how many planets we have and this is a pure sign that humans are too weak to gather everything into ones mind about God’s mysterious way of dealing with the world and human. Glory to God the Creator of heaven and earth.

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