The Adler Planetarium

The Planets


Mercury was named after the Roman messenger god, who was a copy of the greek god Hermes. Along with being the messenger of the gods, mercury was also the god of travelers, thieves, rascals, etc. as well as being the gatherer of the most noble souls to take to hades after they had died. The planet mercury is the closest and fastest traveling planet around the sun, with a year only being earth 88 days. A day on mercury is a little more that 55 earth days and 15 hours. Like Venus, mercury is a moonless planet.


Venus is the second planet from the sun, and is also the hottest planet (we will see why this is ironic in a moment). The name venus is the name of the roman counterpart of the greek goddess of love, Aphrodite. The irony is that the romans named the hottest planet after the goddess, and sometimes embodiment, of love. What is maybe not so ironic is that they also named another planet after venus’s lover: Mars.


Earth: the planet we live on. Our home planet Earth is a rocky, watery planet. It has a solid and active surface with mountains, valleys, canyons, plains and so much more. Earth is special because it is an ocean planet. Water covers 70% of Earth’s surface. In this way we are very much like saturn, except that saturn is covered in water vapor and ice, verses our liquid H20.


Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, being larger than only Mercury. Mars is named for the Roman god of war, who also happens to be the lover of Venus. Mars is a cold, rocky planet with a thin atmosphere (less than 1% that of Earth’s), and has a crust primarily composed of elements similar to Earth’s crust, as well as a core made up of iron and nickel. Mars has surface features such as impact craters, valleys, dunes, and polar ice caps. It has two small and irregularly shaped moons: Phobos and Deimos.


Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest in the Solar System. It is a gas giant with a mass more than two and a half times of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, but slightly less than one-thousandth the mass of the Sun. Jupiter is the third brightest natural object in the Earth’s night sky after the Moon and Venus, and it has been observed since prehistoric times. It was named after the Roman god Jupiter, the king of the gods. It is placed between it’s father, saturn, and it’s son, mars.


Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It has only one-eighth the average density of Earth; however, with its larger volume, Saturn is over 95 times more massive. Saturn is the roman name of the greek titan Cronus. Like jupiter, saturn is situated between it’s son, jupiter, and it’s father, uranus.


Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. Its name is a reference to the roman god of the sky, Uranus, who was the great-grandfather of Mars, grandfather of Jupiter and father of Saturn. It is the third-largest planet in size and fourth-largest planet in mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have bulk chemical compositions which differ from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. For this reason, scientists often classify Uranus and Neptune as “ice giants” to distinguish them from the other giant planets.


Neptune is the eighth planet from the Sun and the farthest known solar planet. In the Solar System, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter, the third-most-massive planet, and the densest giant planet. It is 17 times the mass of Earth, and slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus. Neptune is denser and physically smaller than Uranus because its greater mass causes more gravitational compression of its atmosphere. It is referred to as one of the solar system’s two ice giant planets (the other one being Uranus). Being composed primarily of gases and liquids, it has no well-defined “solid surface”. The planet orbits the Sun once every 164.8 years at an average distance of 2.8 billion mi. It is named after the Roman god of the sea, who happens to be the brother of Jupiter.

Two Prominent Scientists in Astronomy


Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei was an Italian astronomer, physicist, inventor and engineer. Galileo has been called the father of astronomy, the scientific method, modern science, and modern physics. Galileo studied speed and velocity, gravity and free fall, the principle of relativity, inertia, projectile motion, and also worked in applied science and technology, describing the properties of pendulums and hydrostatic balances. He invented various military compasses, as well as the thermoscope, a device that works like a thermometer and shows the temperature. I find his curiosity and willingness to try and create new things incredibly inspiring.

Neil deGasse Tyson

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an american astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. Tyson went to Harvard University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Columbia University. From 1991 to 1994, he worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University. In 1994, he joined the Hayden Planetarium as a staff scientist and the Princeton faculty as a visiting research scientist and lecturer. In 1996, he became director of the planetarium and oversaw its $210,000,000 reconstruction project, which was completed in 2000. Also in 1996, he has became the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Spacein New York City, and has been in that position ever since. The center is part of the American Museum of Natural History, which is where Tyson founded the Department of Astrophysics in 1997, which has been one of the department’s research associates since 2003.