Wonder Wednesday: Weather On Other Planets

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A size comparison scale of the planets in the solar system compared to the sun. Picture via pixabay.com

We have seven other planets in our solar system. However, none are quite like ours. Our planet has an atmosphere to help sustain life. The other planets don’t seem to have any life form, at least not any we have found. We’ll look at the other planets, and why we (or other life forms) wouldn’t survive. 

The planet Mercury. Looks similar to the Earth’s moon. Picture via picryl.com.

Starting with the closest planet to the Sun, Mercury is too close to the Sun to really sustain any sort of life. Temperatures during the day can reach up to 800 degrees Fahrenheit, while the evenings can drop to 300 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. This is over a thousand-degree difference! Our bodies can’t handle these extremities. Plus, the atmosphere is minimal, which means we won’t have any air to breathe.  

Venus is considered the the hottest planet in the solar system. Picture via Public Domain Pictures.

Venus is next and is the hottest planet. The planet is covered in a layer of sulfuric acid clouds, which keeps a continuous greenhouse effect going for the surface of the planet. Pressure on this planet is 92 times greater than ours on Earth. This acts as a pressure cooker, which would vaporize us in a matter of seconds. Plus the temperature on this planet is always sitting around 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Hard pass. 

Many scientists have wondered if life existed on Mars at one point. Notice the ice caps? Picture via flickr.com.

Looking to the next in line, Mars continues to fascinate many for the idea of having life previously sustained on the planet. Now, plenty of dust swirls around this planet, giving it the nickname the Red Planet. Temperatures aren’t as extreme as the others, but can still vary greatly. The temperatures range can be as cold as 220 degrees below zero to 70 degrees above zero, both in Fahrenheit. Speculations continue as to whether we could live on this planet. 

The large gas planet Jupiter. Picture via Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, and even though it emits warmer colors, the temperatures are quite cold. Sitting with an average of 230 degree below zero Fahrenheit, it has been found that the surface of Jupiter is liquid hydrogen. The atmosphere on this gas giant is said to be around 100 miles thick, which ours is just about 10 miles. Regardless, this planet is unlivable for us. 

A snapshot of Saturn. Picture via NASA.

Saturn is another gas giant planet in our solar system. While it may look cool, this planet has several types of gases, layered through the atmosphere. However, none of these layers have solid ground, and are almost 300 degrees below zero Fahrenheit in temperatures. So another planet we can’t call a good alternative to ours. 

Uranus is the only planet to rotate in a vertical motion. Picture via pixabay.

Uranus is blue in color but is also another gas planet in our solar system. However, it is considered an ice giant, similar to Neptune. The atmosphere is more composed of ice particles rather than gas like Saturn and Jupiter. Temperatures are well below zero on this planet as well, with surface temperatures only getting to about minus 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Because the main gases on this planet are hydrogen, helium and methane, life isn’t possible on this planet either.  

A look at Neptune, one of the coldest planets in our solar system. Picture via NASA.

Neptune is very much like Uranus, with an atmosphere composed of hydrogen, helium and methane. The average temperatures on this planet are around minus 370 degrees Fahrenheit. Winds on this planet are the strongest in speeds, which have been measured up to 1,200 miles per hour! This is 1.5 times faster than the speed of sound. Needless to say, we wouldn’t be able to stay standing at Neptune, let alone have life supported there. 

For an interactive view of the planets and our galaxy visit https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/solar-system/our-solar-system/overview/

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