Video: Understanding the Structure of the Solar System

In our solar system, what type of planets are found closest to the Sun?


Video Transcript

In our solar system, what type of planets are found closest to the Sun?

Okay, so to answer this question, we’re going to need to know about the different types of planets in our solar system. Now, in general, a planet is a body that orbits around a star, in our case, our Sun. But not all planets are the same. We’ve classified them according to their types. In our solar system, there are three types of full-sized planets. First, there are rocky planets, these are planets made mostly of rock or metal. They’re also called terrestrial planets. Then, there are planets known as gas giants. This term describes large planets that have a low density. And typically, these planets are made of hydrogen and helium. And then, finally, some planets in our solar system are ice giants. These masses are made of elements that are heavier than helium and hydrogen.

So these are the types of planets that we find in our solar system. But we want to know which type of planet is found a closest to our Sun. Now, at this point, we’d like to be able to recall the different planets in our solar system and the order that they appear from the Sun. To do that, we can recall this memory aid. It goes like this: “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nachos.” The first letter in each one of these words stands for the name of a planet in its order from the Sun. Since there are eight words in that sentence, we know that there are eight planets we want to write down.

And the first one — the one closest to the Sun — starts with an M and its name is Mercury. So let’s say that’s Mercury. Then comes the planet starting with V. That’s Venus. There we go with Venus. Next comes our favorite planet of all, planet Earth. And after that, another planet starting with M. This is Mars. Then, the one starting with J. That’s Jupiter, the biggest of the planets. Then S stands for Saturn, the planet with rings. U stands for Uranus. And lastly, N — in nachos — stands for Neptune.

Now that we have the planets in our solar system in order, we can divide them up according to their type. Starting from the ones furthest from the Sun, Uranus and Neptune, these are both ice giant planets. Then, the next two in Jupiter and Saturn are gas giants. And lastly, the next four planets, the ones that are closest to the Sun, are known as rocky planets. So that includes Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. But our question just wants to know what type of planets are found closest to the Sun. And we can now answer that question. Rocky planets are the planet type found closest to our Sun.

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