Orange sun with colorful planets trailing out to one side.

About the Planets

The solar system has eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. There are five officially recognized dwarf planets in our solar system: Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.

8

Planets

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Dwarf Planets

The solar system has eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. There are five officially recognized dwarf planets in our solar system: Ceres, Pluto, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris.

Inner Planets

The first four planets from the Sun are Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. These inner planets also are known as terrestrial planets because they have solid surfaces.

Mercury is gray with bright white patches, and craters visible in this image from the MESSENGER spacecraft.

Mercury Facts

Mercury is the smallest planet in our solar system, and the nearest to the Sun.

A serene-looking Venus with creamy white, and tan clouds.

Venus Facts

Venus is the second planet from the Sun, and Earth's closest planetary neighbor.

A view of Earth from Apollo 17 showing the blue ocean, reddish brown landmasses, and wispy, white clouds.

Earth Facts

Earth – our home planet – is the third planet from the Sun, and the fifth largest planet.

Mars is a reddish brown in this image from a spacecraft. A deep gash is visible across the center of the planet.

Mars Facts

Mars – the fourth planet from the Sun – is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere.

Outer Planets

The giant planets in our outer solar system don't have hard surfaces and instead have swirling gases above a core. Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants. Uranus and Neptune are ice giants.

A view of Jupiter's Great Red Spot and colorful cloud bands of tan, brown, white, and orange as seen from the Juno spacecraft.

Jupiter Facts

Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system – if it were a hollow shell, 1,000 Earths could fit inside.

A view of Saturn from the Cassini spacecraft shows the golden planet with its rings.

Saturn Facts

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun, the second-largest planet in our solar system.

Pale blue planet Uranus is seen against the darkness of space in an image from the Voyager 2 spacecraft.

Uranus Facts

The seventh planet from the Sun, Uranus has the third largest diameter of planets in our solar system.

Neptune is blue and banded with clouds and storms.

Neptune Facts

Neptune is the eighth and most distant planet in our solar system.

Dwarf Planets

Beyond Neptune, a newer class of smaller worlds called dwarf planets reign, including longtime favorite Pluto. The other dwarf planets are Ceres, Makemake, Haumea, and Eris. Ceres is the only dwarf planet in the inner solar system. It's located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Gray Ceres has a bright spot near its upper left side in this image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft.

Ceres Facts

Dwarf planet Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and it's the only dwarf planet located in the inner solar system.

Pluto is reddish and has a heart shape lighter patch in the lower right half of this image from the New Horizons spacecraft.

Pluto Facts

Pluto was long considered our solar system's ninth planet. But it was reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006 by the International Astronomical Union.

Dwarf planet Haumea looks like a bright dot with two smaller ones on each side.

Haumea Facts

Haumea was nicknamed Santa by one discovery team. It is oval-shaped, and is one of the fastest rotating large objects in our solar system.

Makemake Facts

Makemake is slightly smaller than Pluto, and is the second-brightest object in the Kuiper Belt, while Pluto is the brightest. 

Eris Facts

The discovery of Eris helped trigger a debate in the scientific community that led to the decision to clarify the definition of a planet.

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Illustration of eight planets and one dwarf planet displayed three across and three down.
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An illustration of colorful planets overlapping each other.