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What is Planet?

A planet is generally considered to be a relatively large mass of accreted matter in orbit around a star that is not a star itself. The name comes from the Greek term p?a??t??, planetes, meaning "wanderer", as ancient astronomers noted how certain lights moved across the sky in relation to the other stars. Based on historical consensus, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) lists nine planets in our solar system. Since the term "planet" has no precise scientific definition, however, many astronomers contest that figure. Some say it should be lowered to eight by removing Pluto from the list, whilst others claim it should be raised to fifteen, twenty, or even higher.

Planetary formation:-
It is not known with certainty how planets are formed. The prevailing theory is that they are formed from those remnants of a nebula that don't condense under gravity to form a protostar. Instead, these remnants become a thin disc of dust and gas revolving around the protostar and begin to condense about local concentrations of mass within the disc. These concentrations become ever more dense until they collapse inward under gravity to form protoplanets. When the protostar has grown such that it ignites to form a star, its solar wind blows away most of the disc's remaining material. Thereafter there still may be many protoplanets orbiting the star or each other, but over time many will collide, either to form a single larger planet or release material for other larger protoplanets or planets to absorb. Meanwhile, protoplanets that have avoided collisions may become moons of larger planets.

With the discovery and observation of planetary systems around stars other than our own, it is becoming possible to elaborate, revise or even replace this account.

Within our solar system:-
The process of naming planets and their features is known as planetary nomenclature. All the currently accepted planets in the solar system are named after Roman gods, except for Uranus (named after a Greek god) and the Earth, which was not seen as a planet by the ancients but rather the centre of the universe. The designated planetary names are near-universal in the Western world, but some non-European languages, such as Chinese, use their own. Moons are also named after gods and characters from classical mythology, or, in the case of Uranus, after Shakespearean characters. Asteroids can be named after anybody or anything at the discretion of their discoverers, subject to approval by the IAU's nomenclature panel
Mercury (astronomical symbol ?)
Venus (?)
Earth (?) with one confirmed natural satellite, Luna (the Moon)
Mars (?) with two confirmed natural satellites, Deimos and Phobos
Jupiter (?) with sixty-three confirmed natural satellites
Saturn (?) with forty-six confirmed natural satellites
Uranus () with twenty-seven confirmed natural satellites
Neptune (?) with thirteen confirmed natural satellites
Pluto (?) with three confirmed natural satellites (Charon, S/2005 P 1, S/2005 P 2)

Planets in approximate scale of size, but not distance. A portion of the solar disc is shown at the top.


All text of this article available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

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