Q:

What is the difference between inner and outer planets?

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Quick Answer

The main difference between inner and outer planets is that outer planets are larger and are mainly made of gas. The inner planets are Venus, Mercury, Mars and Earth, while the outer planets are considered to be Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Jupiter.

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Full Answer

All of the inner planets are considered terrestrial planets due to the fact that their surfaces are made mostly of solids. These planets have no or few moons, with Earth having one moon, and Mars having two. In contrast, the outer planets are much more likely to have moons and rings. For example, Jupiter, known to be the largest planet in the solar system, has several moons.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What do the outer planets have in common?

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    The characteristics that the outer planets have in common include their large size and their large number of moons when compared with the inner, or terrestrial, planets. They also lack solid surfaces, and as far as astronomers know, none are capable of supporting life. For example: Jupiter and Saturn are "gas giants" with atmospheres made up largely of hydrogen and helium, while Neptune and Uranus are called "ice giants" because their atmospheres also contain ammonia, methane and water ices.

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  • Q:

    What are planets made of?

    A:

    The inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars, are made up of silicate rock and heavy metals such as iron and nickel, whereas the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, are made up mostly of gases, according to Universe Today. The outer planets are subdivided into gas giants, comprised mostly of hydrogen and helium, and ice giants, comprised mostly of methane, ammonia and water.

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  • Q:

    What planets have shorter days than Earth?

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    The outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all have shorter days than Earth. Among the terrestrial planets, Mars has a slightly longer day than Earth at 24 hours 37 minutes. Mercury's day lasts 59 Earth days, while a day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days.

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  • Q:

    What are the characteristics of the outer planets?

    A:

    According to Universe Today, the four outer planets of the solar system are all gas giants. This means they lack a conventional surface, and are made up of dense gases around a possible rocky or metallic core. These planets are called Jovian planets to distinguish them from the four rocky terrestrial planets closer to the sun.

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