Where can I find information about the different planets in our solar system?
Entry last updated: 12/05/17
Planets are round objects that move in circles around stars. There are 8 planets in our solar system (including Earth), and 5 dwarf planets. These planets move around our star, which we call the Sun.
Mercury: Closest to the Sun, this planet gets both very hot and very cold.
Venus: The brightest planet in the solar system.
Earth: The third planet from the Sun and our home - it's unique in many ways.
Mars: Sometimes called the ’red planet’ because it’s tinted red by iron oxide.
Jupiter: The largest planet, more than 300 times larger than the Earth.
Saturn: The second largest planet, which is surrounded by rings.
Uranus: The seventh planet from the sun, with 27 moons (that we know of).
Neptune: The planet farthest away from the sun.
Dwarf planets: Pluto, Ceres, Eris, Makemake and Haumea.
Facts and pictures
There are some great websites that have useful and reliable information about the planets, even though they are so far away! A lot of this information has been collected by satellites and spacecraft that are sent into space to find out more about planets and how the solar system works.
This is a website supported by NASA - an overseas government organisation that researches and explores space.
- This site has answers to lots of questions about space, including each of the planets.
- Keep going down the page until you see the planet you're looking for.
Tips: We like websites with .gov or .edu in their address because they are reliable – they are from government or educational organisations overseas.
NASA itself has heaps of information about space and space exploration.
- Search for 'planets' to bring up lots of results.
- Look at the Planets, Moons and Dwarf Planets page.
- From there you can choose which planet you want to find out about.
Tips: Click on some of the links under the main list of facts to find pictures of planets and information about missions that NASA has made to different planets. There are also links to recent news articles, so you can keep really up to date with what's happening.
Tips: Websites with .org in the address can have good information but you need to check how reliable it is. This website is run by a group of Science teachers, so we should be able to trust the information.
Articles and videos
Humans have been interested in the planets for thousands of years, long before people knew what planets were like or how far away they are. Thanks to spacecraft and powerful telescopes we are now able to observe planets more closely and find out more about them. Try these websites for more detailed information about the planets.
The Khan Academy website is for school students and has articles and videos on lots of different study topics, including planets. Using the side bar you will see a number of different topics. These include:
- an article about The Pluto controversy to find out about how planets are defined, or
- you could watch the video called Seeing planets like never before to see how many planets we know about which are outside our own Solar System.
Tips: Remember to check the About Us page to find out more about who is behind the website, and make sure it's reliable.
Another good place to look for scientific information is EPIC. EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics, and it's put together especially for New Zealand school students. You may need a password from your school or local library to access it.
This particular resource has lots of articles from encyclopedias, magazines and journals.
- Search for the name of the planet you are researching.
- Add planet to your search to find information about planets rather than other things that might have the same name (like the Ancient Roman god, also called Jupiter).
Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.
There have been many books written about the planets - check out your local public or school library to see what they have.
Some recommended titles are:
- How many planets circle the sun? : and other questions about . . . our solar system by Mary Kay Carson.
- The planets by Alice Harman.