The Red Planet in Our Solar System – Our guide to the red planet in our solar system, its history, and how it got its name.
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Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is known as the “Red Planet” because of its reddish appearance. It is a rocky planet with a thin atmosphere and has two tiny moons (Phobos and Deimos). Mars is also home to the tallest mountain in the solar system, Olympus Mons, and the deepest, Valles Marineris.
The red planet
The red planet – otherwise known as Mars – is the fourth planet from the sun in our solar system. It is also the second-smallest planet, after Mercury. Mars is named after the ancient Roman god of war, and is often referred to as the ‘Red Planet’ because of its reddish appearance.
Mars is a rocky, desert-like world with a very thin atmosphere. It has two small moons – Phobos and Deimos – and is home to the largest volcano in our solar system, Olympus Mons. Despite its hostile environment, Mars has long been a popular destination for science fiction writers and film makers, and is now the focus of intense scientific study by astronomers and space agencies around the world.
The solar system
The solar system is the sun and all the objects that orbit around it. The sun sits in the middle of the solar system and is by far the largest object in it. The planets that orbit around the sun are (in order from closest to furthest away); Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. There are also dwarf planets such as Pluto. Objects that orbit around planets are called satellites. For example, our moon orbits around Earth.
Most of the objects in the solar system are orbiting around the sun in elliptical orbits. An ellipse is a shape where one side is longer than another. The sun sits at one focus of the ellipse while the other focus is empty space. All of the objects in our solar system are orbiting or rotating except for two; comets and asteroids. Instead they orbit or rotate around something called a barycenter which is usually located inside the sun or near to it (for example, Earth’s barycenter is actually located inside of the sun).
The red planet in our solar system
As the fourth planet from the sun, Mars is often referred to as the “Red Planet” because of its reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent of the impact craters of the moon and Venus. The days and seasons are similar to those of Earth, as Mars has a similar axial tilt. However, the length of a day on Mars (a “sol”) is only slightly longer than an Earth day.
The red planet has long been a source of fascination for humans. It was named after the Roman god of war and is often described as the “Red Planet” because of its reddish appearance. Early telescopic observations revealed coloration that was consistent with a rusty, blood-stained world, and Martian sunset hues were once popular in art and poetry. Today, we know that Mars is red because of the iron oxide (rust) that covers its surface.
Mars is sometimes called the “red planet” because it appears in our night sky as an orange-red star. When Mars is closer to Earth it looks brighter than when it’s farther away. The color may also be due to rust on its surface. But there are other earthly objects that are red too – even our own planet!