Section: 14 | Properties of the Solar System |
Help Manual

Page of 1
Type a page number and hit Enter.
/1
  Back to Search Results
Type a page number and hit Enter.
Additional Information
Summary of table differences
No records found.
How to Cite this Reference
The recommended form of citation is:
John R. Rumble, ed., CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 102nd Edition (Internet Version 2021), CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL.
If a specific table is cited, use the format: "Physical Constants of Organic Compounds," in CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, 102nd Edition (Internet Version 2021), John R. Rumble, ed., CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton, FL.

PROPERTIES OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM

Our solar system consists of eight major planets and numerous other objects (Ref. 1) that have been observed orbiting the sun. These include the following.

Improved optical and non-optical telescopes (Ref. 4) constantly add new objects to the list.

Dwarf planets are defined by the International Astronomical Union (Ref. 2) as bodies in orbit around the sun massive enough to adopt a near-spherical shape because of their self-gravity, but are appreciably smaller than the eight major planets. Plutoids form a subset of the dwarf planets, with orbits larger than that of Neptune (Ref. 5). As of 2020, the IAU has recognized the names of four plutoids: Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake. Because Ceres has an orbit much smaller than Neptune, it is classified as a dwarf planet but not as a plutoid. Data in these tables are drawn from many references as indicated. See Refs. 17-19 for additional information.

The following tables contain various properties about our solar system. 

Table 1 Properties of the Planetary System
Table 2 Properties of the Sun
Table 3 Orbital Properties of the Major and Important Dwarf Planets
Table 4 Physical Properties of the Major and Important Dwarf Planets and the Moon
Table 5 Mean Surface Temperature and Pressure and Atmospheric Composition of the Major Planets and Pluto

References

  1. IAU Minor Planet Center, retrieved 31 January 2021. <www.minorplanetcenter.net>
  2. Dwarf Planets, IAU Minor Planet Center, retrieved January 3, 2021. <www.minorplanetcenter.net/dwarf_planets>
  3. Asteroids, NASA Science Solar System Exploration, retrieved January31,  2021. <solarsystem.nasa.gov/asteroids-comets-and-meteors/asteroids/overview/?page=0&per_page=40&order=name+asc&search=&condition_1=101%3Aparent_id&condition_2=asteroid%3Abody_type%3Ailike>
  4. The Multiwavelength Milky Way: Telescopes, NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center, retrieved January 31, 2021. <asd.gsfc.nasa.gov/archive/mvmw/mmw_telescope.html>
  5. IAU Press Release, <www.iau.org/public_press/news/release/iau0804>, June 2008.
  6. Lang, K. R., Astrophysical Data: Planets and Stars, Springer-Verlag, New York, 1992. [https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4684-0640-5_3]
  7. Cox, A. N., Allen’s Astrophysical Quantities, Fourth Edition, Springer-Verlag, New York, 2000; this is a revision of Allen, C. W., Astrophysical Quantities, Third Edition, 1983.
  8. Planetary Fact Sheet - Metric, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, retrieved January 31, 2021. <nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet>
  9. Sun Fact Sheet, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, retrieved January 31, 2021. <nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/factsheet/sunfact.html>
  10. See individual fact sheets for each planet at Planetary Facts Sheets, National Space Science Data Center, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, retrieved January 31, 2021. <nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/planetfact.html>
  11. Data available at JPL Small-Body Database Browser search engine using name of dwarf planet, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, retreived January 31, 2021. <ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/sbdb.cgi>
  12. The Planetary Society, <www.planetary.org/explore/topics/groups/our_solar_system/>.
  13. The Astronomical Almanac for the Year 2019, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2005; available online at <asa.usno.navy.mil/>.
  14. Arnet, B., The Nine Planets, <www.nineplanets.org>.
  15. Onasch, B., Our Solar System, <www.onasch.de/astro/>.
  16. Killen, R., Cremonese, G., Lammer, H. et al, Space Science Reviews 132, 433-509, 2007. <doi: 10.1007/s11214-007-9232-0>
  17. K. A. Olive et al. (Particle Data Group), Chin. Phys. C 38(9), 090001, 2014.; section on astrophysical constants available at <pdg.lbl.gov/2014/reviews/astrorpp.pdf>, [https://doi.org/10.1088/1674-1137/38/9/090001]
  18. Seidelmann, P. K., Editor, Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac, University Science Books, Mill Valley, CA, 1992.
  19. Kopp, G., and Lean, J. L., Geophys. Res. Lett. 38 (1), 2011. [https://doi.org/10.1029/2010GL045777]

Properties of the Planetary System

Our planetary system, which includes all major and dwarf planets as well as other objects that orbit the sun, has been the object of research and wonder since ancient times. Ancient observers clearly recognized that several objects in the night sky had different motion from more fixed objects (i.e., stars) and over the centuries, considerable effort was expended to explain this motion. Nicolas Copernicus’ work first published in 1542 provided the foundation for our present-day helio-centric view of the solar system. Many refinements to the theory have been made since Copernicus’ first publication.

Table 1 presents data for several properties of the planetary system as a whole (Refs. 6-8). The mass of the earth is included as it is often used as a reference point for masses of objects in the solar system.

TABLE 1. Properties of the Planetary System



PropertyValue
Mass of the earth (Me)5.9723 × 1024 kg
Total mass of planetary system2.669 × 1027 kg
447 Me
Total angular momentum of planetary system3.148 × 1048 kg m2 s-1
Total kinetic energy of planets1.99 × 1035 J
Total rotational energy of planets0.7 × 1035 J


Properties of the Sun

Our sun is a star categorized as a G-type, yellow-dwarf, main sequence star. Table 2 contains important properties of the sun (Ref. 9) except as noted.

TABLE 2. Properties of the Sun



PropertyValue
Mass1.9885 × 1030 kg
3329483 Me
Radius6.95700 × 105 km
Surface area6.079 × 1012 km2
Volume1.412 × 1018 km3
Mean density1.408 g cm-3
Surface gravity274.0 m s-2
Surface escape velocity617.6 × 105 km s-1
Effective temperature5772 K
Luminosity (Total radiant power emitted)3.828 × 1026 W
Flux of radiant energy at the earth (Solar constant) (Ref. 11)1360.8 W m-2
Surface flux of radiant energy*6.293 × 107 W m-2
Mass conversion rate4260 × 106 kg s-1
Mean energy production0.195 × 10-3 J kg-1 s-1
Sidereal rotation period (at 16 deg. latitude)609.12 h

  • *Calculated with Stefan-Boltzmann law with T = 5772 K.


Orbital Properties of the Major and Important Dwarf Planets

Table 3 has orbital and related properties for the major (Ref. 10)  and dwarf planets (Ref. 11). Additional property information is available in Refs. 12-15. These properties for the major planets are well established, though given that the planets are dynamic, i.e., bodies that evolve over time with consequent small changes in orbits and rotation. Column definitions for Table 3 are as follows. Note: 1 astronomical unit (au) = 149 597 870.700 km.

Column heading Definition
Planet Name of planet; the IAU number for plutoids is given in parentheses; Ceres is designated as minor planet 1
Year of discovery Year of first observation; note Galileo made the first telescopic observations of Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn in 1609-1610
Dist. to sun Distance to sun, in au
Sidereal orbit period Time, in years, it takes the planet to make revolution around the sun relative to the fixed stars; for Pluto, it is the time from the last zero longitude crossing to the next (July 24, 1820 to July 2, 2068); all planet orbits are prograde, that is, in the direction of the sun’s rotation
Sidereal rotational period (days) Time, in days, for one rotation of the planet on its axis relative to the fixed stars; a minus sign indicates retrograde rotation, that is, the rotation is opposite to the orbital motion
Sidereal rotational period (hours) Sidereal rotational period, in hours
Perihelion Point in the planet’s orbit closest to the sun, in au
Aphelion Point in the planet’s orbit farthest from the sun, in au
Semi-major axis Mean distance from the sun, in au, from center to center
Orbit eccentricity Measure of the circularity of the orbit, equal to the difference between the aphelion and perihelion distance divided by twice the semi-major axis; also expresses the shape of the ellipse
Orbit inclination Inclination, in degrees, of the orbit to the ecliptic; for planets, the ecliptic is the earth’s orbit; sometimes the orbit inclination is simply called the ecliptic
Inclination of  equator Angle, in degrees, between the equator and orbital plane with north defined as pole axis above (north by the right-hand rule) the plane of the solar system; also known as the axial tilt

TABLE 3. Orbital Properties of the Major and Important Dwarf Planets



PlanetYear of discoveryDist. to sun/
au
Sidereal orbit period/
y
Sidereal rotational period (days)/
d
Sidereal rotational period (hours)/
hr
Perihelion/
au
Aphelion/
au
Semi-major axis/
au
Orbit eccentricity(ε)Orbit Inclination/
deg.
Inclination of equator/
deg.
Major Planets
MercuryAncient0.38710.240846758.64621407.510.3077200940.4670252120.3873693080.205637.0049°0.01°
VenusAncient0.7233320.61519726-243.018-5832.60.7189366730.7287230840.7238399120.0067733.3947°177.36°
Earth11.00001740.9972696823.93450.9839925621.0174389441.0007157530.0167123.45°
MarsAncient1.523661.88084761.0259567624.62291.3821182261.6671616731.524639950.093411.8506°25.19°
Jupiter700-800 BCE5.2033611.8626150.413549.9254.9535563545.4625835325.2080699430.0483921.3053°3.12°
Saturn700 BCE9.5370729.4474980.4440110.6569.0476142710.13093599.5892717380.054152.484°26.73°
Uranus178119.1912684.016846-0.71833-17.2418.3373268320.0920778919.214699020.047170.7699°97.86°
Neptune184630.06896164.791320.6712516.1129.730147930.4072498430.068698870.0085861.769°28.32°
Dwarf Planets
Pluto (134340)193039.48168247.74-6.3872-153.292829.66648.86039.2630.244417.14°57.47°
Eris (136199)200567.7559.071.079238.27297.45667.8640.436044.0°
Haumea (136108)200443.13283.770.1631393.834.76751.59843.1820.194928.2°
Makemake (136472)200545.79306.210.95110838.10552.75645.4310.161329.0°
Ceres (1)18012.774.610.37809049.0742.55872.97962.76920.076010.587°


Physical Properties of the Major and Important Dwarf Planets and the Moon

Table 4 has physical and related properties for the major and important dwarf planets. The moon is included for ease of comparison. These properties, for the most part, are well established for the major planets. For the dwarf planets, the properties are not well established or not measured at the present time. Refs. 10-11 contain further information.

Column definitions for Table 4 are as follows.

Column heading Definition
Planet Name of planet; the IAU number for plutoids is given in parentheses; Ceres is designated minor planet 1
Mass Mass of the planet, in units 1024 kg
Equit. radius Radius of the planet at the equator, in km; * indicates mean radius
Polar radius Radius of the planet at the poles, in km
Volume Volume of planet, in units 1010 km3
Density Mean density of the planet (mass/volume), in g cm-3
Flattening Ratio of (equatorial radius – polar radius)/(equatorial radius)
Surface gravity Equatorial gravitational acceleration at the surface of the planet or the 1 bar level, not including the effect of rotation, in units m s-2
Escape velocity Initial velocity required to escape the planet’s gravitational pull, in km s-1
Geometric albedo Ratio of the planet’s brightness at a phase angle of zero to the brightness of a perfectly diffusing disk with the same position and apparent size; earth is highly variable
No. of satellites Number of detected satellites orbiting the planet

 

 

TABLE 4. Physical Properties of the Major and Important Dwarf Planets and the Moon



PlanetMass/
1024 kg
Equit. radius/
km
Polar radius/
km
Volume/
1010 km3
Density/
g cm-3
FlatteningSurface gravity/
m s-2
Escape velocity/
km s-1
Geometric albedoNo. of satellites
Mercury0.330112440.532439.76.0835.42703.704.250.1420
Venus4.86756051.86051.892.8435.24308.8710.360.6890
Earth5.97246378.13666356.8108.3215.5140.0033539.8011.1860.4341
(Moon)0.0734831738.11736.02.19683.3440.00121.622.380.12
Mars0.641713396.23376.216.3183.9340.005893.715.030.1702
Jupiter1898.1971492668541431281.3260.0648724.7960.200.53879
Saturn568.346026854364827130.6870.0979610.4436.090.49982
Uranus86.813255592497368331.2700.022938.8721.380.5127
Neptune102.413247642434162541.6380.0170811.1523.560.44214
Pluto (134340)0.01303118811880.7021.8900.621.210.525
Eris (136199)0.014661163*0.6592.430.821.380.961
Haumea (136108)0.004006780-798*0.1981.75-2.020.4010.809<0.51
Makemake (136472)0.0031715-739*0.1531.7-2.1<0.57<0.910.81
Ceres (1)0.000943469*0.4342.162270.510.09


Other Characteristics of the Major Planets and Pluto

Table 5 contains data on the mean surface temperature and pressure as well as the atmospheric composition for the major planets and Pluto (Ref. 10). Data for Mercury are from Ref. 16.

TABLE 5. Mean Surface Temperature and Pressure and Atmospheric Composition of the Major Planets and Pluto



PlanetTsur/KPsur/barCO2N2O2H2OH2HeArNeCOCH4
Mercury440< ~5 ×10-15TraceTrace<9 × 1014 cm-2*< 1 × 1012 cm-2*Trace< 3 × 1011 cm-2*~ 1.3 × 109 cm-2*Trace
Venus7379296.5%3.5%69 ppm20 ppm12 ppm70 ppm7 ppm17 ppm
Earth2881.014410 ppm78.084%20.946%0 to 3%0.55 ppm5.24 ppm9340 ppm18.18 ppm1 ppm1.7 ppm
Mars2100.004 to 0.0087a95.17%2.59%0.16%210 ppm1.94%2.5 ppm0.06%
Jupiter165>>10004 ppm89.8%10.2%3000 ppm
Saturn134>>100096.3%3.25%4500 ppm
Uranus76>>100082.5%15.2%2.3%
Neptune7280.0%19.0%1.5%
Pluto31b~0.00001399.0%0.05%0.5%

  • *These values are for column density, that is, the number of atoms or molecules in a vertical column of 1 cm2.
  • aThe surface temperature on Mars varies with its seasons.
  • bSurface temperature values for Pluto range from 24 to 38 K.


Page 1 of 1
1/1

Entry Display
This is where the entry will be displayed

Log In - Individual User
You are not within the network of a subscribing institution.
Please sign in with an Individual User account to continue.
Note that Workspace accounts are not valid.

Confirm Log Out
Are you sure?
Log In to Your Workspace
Your personal workspace allows you to save and access your searches and bookmarks.
Username
Password
Remember Me
This will save a cookie on your browser



If you do not have a workspace Log In click here to create one.
Forgotten your workspace password? Click here for an e-mail reminder.
Log Out From Your Workspace
Are you sure?
Create your personal workspace
Title
First Name (Given)
Last Name (Family)
Email address
Username
Password
Confirm Password


Incorrect login details
You have entered your Workspace sign in credentials instead of Individual User sign in credentials.
You must be authenticated within your organisation's network IP range in order to access your Workspace account.
Click the help icon for more information on the differences between these two accounts.
Incorrect login details
You have entered your Individual User account sign in credentials instead of Workspace credentials.
While using this network, a personal workspace account can be created to save your bookmarks and search preferences for later use.
Click the help icon for more information on the differences between Individual User accounts and Workspace accounts.
My Account

Change Your Workspace Password
Username
Current Password

New Password
Confirm New Password


Update your Personal Workspace Details
Username
Title
First Name (Given)
Last Name (Family)
Email address


Workspace Log In Reminder
Please enter your username and/or your e-mail address:

Username
Email Address


Searching for Chemicals and Properties

The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (HBCP) contains over 700 tables in over 450 documents which may be divided into several pages, all categorised into 17 major subject areas. The search on this page works by searching the content of each page individually, much like any web search. This provides a challenge if you want to search for multiple terms and those terms exist on different pages, or if you use a synonym/abbreviation that does not exist in the document.

We use metadata to avoid some of these issues by including certain keywords invisibly behind each table. Whilst this approach works well in many situations, like any web search it relies in the terms you have entered existing in the document with the same spelling, abbreviation etc.

Since chemical compounds and their properties are immutable, a single centralised database has been created from all chemical compounds throughout HBCP. This database contains every chemical compound and over 20 of the most common physical properties collated from each of the >700 tables. What's more, the properties can be searched numerically, including range searching, and you can even search by drawing a chemical structure. A complete list of every document table in which the compound occurs is listed, and are hyperlinked to the relevant document table.

The 'Search Chemicals' page can be found by clicking the flask icon in the navigation bar at the top of this page. For more detailed information on how to use the chemical search, including adding properties, saving searches, exporting search results and more, click the help icon in to top right of this page, next to the welcome login message.

Below is an example of a chemical entry, showing its structure, physical properties and document tables in which it appears.

image of an example chemical entry
We use cookies to improve your website experience. To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy. By continuing to use the website, you consent to our use of cookies.
Cookie Policy

Cookie Policy

We have developed this cookie policy (the “Cookie Policy”) in order to explain how we use cookies and similar technologies (together, “Cookies”) on this website (the “Website”) and to demonstrate our firm commitment to the privacy of your personal information.

The first time that you visit our Website, we notify you about our use of Cookies through a notification banner. By continuing to use the Website, you consent to our use of Cookies as described in this Cookie Policy. However, you can choose whether or not to continue accepting Cookies at any later time. Information on how to manage Cookies is set out later in this Cookie Policy.

Please note that our use of any personal information we collect about you is subject to our Privacy Policy.

What are Cookies?

Cookies are small text files containing user IDs that are automatically placed on your computer or other device by when you visit a website. The Cookies are stored by the internet browser. The browser sends the Cookies back to the website on each subsequent visit, allowing the website to recognise your computer or device. This recognition enables the website provider to observe your activity on the website, deliver a personalised, responsive service and improve the website.

Cookies can be ‘Session Cookies’ or ‘Persistent Cookies’. Session Cookies allow a website to link a series of your actions during one browser session, for example to remember the items you have added to a shopping basket. Session Cookies expire after a browser session and are therefore not stored on your computer or device afterwards. Persistent Cookies are stored on your computer or device between browser sessions and can be used when you make subsequent visits to the website, for example to remember your website preferences, such as language or font size.

Cookies We Use and Their Purpose

We use three types of Cookies - ‘Strictly Necessary’ Cookies, ‘Performance’ Cookies and ‘Functionality’ Cookies. Each type of Cookie and the purposes for which we use them are described in this section. To learn about the specific Cookies we use, please see our List of Cookies.

1. Strictly Necessary Cookies

‘Strictly Necessary’ Cookies enable you to move around the Website and use essential features. For example, if you log into the Website, we use a Cookie to keep you logged in and allow you to access restricted areas, without you having to repeatedly enter your login details. If you are registering for or purchasing a product or service, we will use Cookies to remember your information and selections, as you move through the registration or purchase process.

Strictly Necessary Cookies are necessary for our Website to provide you with a full service. If you disable them, certain essential features of the Website will not be available to you and the performance of the Website will be impeded.

2. Performance Cookies

‘Performance’ Cookies collect information about how you use our Website, for example which pages you visit and if you experience any errors. These Cookies don’t collect any information that could identify you – all the information collected is anonymous. We may use these Cookies to help us understand how you use the Website and assess how well the Website performs and how it could be improved.

3. Functionality Cookies

‘Functionality’ Cookies enable a website to provide you with specific services or a customised experience. We may use these Cookies to provide you with services such as watching a video or adding user comments. We may also use such Cookies to remember changes you make to your settings or preferences (for example, changes to text size or your choice of language or region) or offer you time-saving or personalised features.

You can control whether or not Functionality Cookies are used, but disabling them may mean we are unable to provide you with some services or features of the Website.

First and Third Party Cookies

The Cookies placed on your computer or device include ‘First Party’ Cookies, meaning Cookies that are placed there by us, or by third party service providers acting on our behalf. Where such Cookies are being managed by third parties, we only allow the third parties to use the Cookies for our purposes, as described in this Cookie Policy, and not for their own purposes.

The Cookies placed on your computer or device may also include ‘Third Party’ Cookies, meaning Cookies that are placed there by third parties. These Cookies may include third party advertisers who display adverts on our Website and/or social network providers who provide ‘like’ or ‘share’ capabilities (see the above section on Targeting or Advertising Cookies). They may also include third parties who provide video content which is embedded on our Website (such as YouTube). Please see the website terms and policies of these third parties for further information on their use of Cookies.

To learn about the specific First Party and Third Party Cookies used by our, please see our List of Cookies.

Managing Cookies

You always have a choice over whether or not to accept Cookies. When you first visit the Website and we notify you about our use of Cookies, you can choose not to consent to such use. If you continue to use the Website, you are consenting to our use of Cookies for the time being. However, you can choose not to continue accepting Cookies at any later time. In this section, we describe ways to manage Cookies, including how to disable them.

You can manage Cookies through the settings of your internet browser. You can choose to block or restrict Cookies from being placed on your computer or device. You can also review periodically review the Cookies that have been placed there and disable some or all of them.

You can learn more about how to manage Cookies on the following websites: www.allaboutcookies.org and www.youronlinechoices.com.

Please be aware that if you choose not to accept certain Cookies, it may mean we are unable to provide you with some services or features of the Website.

Changes to Cookie Policy

In order to keep up with changing legislation and best practice, we may revise this Cookie Policy at any time without notice by posting a revised version on this Website. Please check back periodically so that you are aware of any changes.

Questions or Concerns

If you have any questions or concerns about this Cookie Policy or our use of Cookies on the Website, please contact us by email to [email protected]

You can also contact the Privacy Officer for the Informa PLC group at [email protected].


Our Cookies

Here is a list of cookies we have defined as 'Strictly Necessary':

Taylor and Francis 'First Party' Cookies

JSESSIONID

TandF.ACCT.CNB.cookieId

TandF.WS.CNB.cookieId

TandF.SU.CNB.cookieId

TandF.PORTAL.cookiesAgreed

TandF.LOGIN.cookiesAgreed

TandF.HBCP.cookiesAgreed

TandF.CCD.cookiesAgreed

TandF.DNP.cookiesAgreed

TandF.DOC.cookiesAgreed

TandF.DOD.cookiesAgreed

TandF.DIOC.cookiesAgreed

TandF.POLY.cookiesAgreed

TandF.DFC.cookiesAgreed

TandF.DMNP.cookiesAgreed

TandF.DCCC.cookiesAgreed

TandF.POC.cookiesAgreed

Here is a list of the cookies we have defined as 'Performance'.

'Third Party' Cookies

Google Analytics:

_ga

_gid

_gat

Accessibility

The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) is a self-assessment document which discloses how accessible Information and Communication Technology products are in accordance with global standards.

The VPAT disclosure templates do not guarantee product accessibility but provide transparency around the product(s) and enables direction when accessing accessibility requirements.

Taylor & Francis has chosen to complete the International version of VPAT which encompasses Section 508 (US), EN 301 549 (EU) and WCAG2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) for its products.

Click here for more information about how to use this web application using the keyboard.


This is replaced with text from the script
This is replaced with text from the script
Top Notification Bar Dialog Header
Your Session is about to Expire!
Your session will expire in seconds

Please move your cursor to continue.