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Jupiter The layers of dense clouds around Jupiter appear in a photograph of the planet taken by the Voyager 1 space probe. The large, oval-shaped mark on the clouds is the Great Red Spot. The spot is believed to be an intense atmospheric disturbance. Image credit: Jet Propulsion Laboratory Jupiter is the largest planet in […]


Mercury The planet Mercury was first photographed in detail on March 29, 1974, by the U.S. probe Mariner 10. The probe was about 130,000 miles (210,000 kilometers) from Mercury. Image credit: NASA Mercury is the planet nearest the sun. It has a diameter of 3,032 miles (4,879 kilometers), about two-fifths of Earth’s diameter. Mercury orbits […]


Neptune The blue clouds of Neptune are mostly frozen methane, the main chemical in natural gas — a fuel for heating and cooking on Earth. The other object shown is Neptune’s moon Triton. Image credit: NASA/JPL Neptune is one of the two planets that cannot be seen without a telescope. The other is Pluto. Neptune […]


Mars The planet Mars, like Earth, has clouds in its atmosphere and a deposit of ice at its north pole. But unlike Earth, Mars has no liquid water on its surface. The rustlike color of Mars comes from the large amount of iron in the planet’s soil. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems Mars is […]


Earth Earth, our home planet, has oceans of liquid water, and continents that rise above sea level. NASA scientists combined satellite photographs with surface data to create this detailed image of Earth’s land masses and oceans. The swirling mass of clouds west of Mexico is a large hurricane. Image credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Earth […]


Venus The surface of Venus was scanned with radar waves beamed from orbiting space probes to produce this image. The colors are based on photos taken by probes that landed on Venus. Image credit: NASA Venus is known as the Earth’s “twin” because the two planets are so similar in size. The diameter of Venus […]


Uranus appears in true colors, left, and false colors, right in images produced by combining numerous pictures taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. The false colors emphasize bands of smog around the planet’s south pole. The small spots are shadows of dust specks in the camera. Image credit: JPL Uranus, (YUR uh nuhs or yu […]


Saturn is encircled by seven major rings. In this photograph, a section of the rings is hidden by the planet’s shadow. The Cassini spacecraft, launched in 1997 to study Saturn and its rings and satellites, captured this natural color image as it approached the planet in 2004. Image credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute Saturn is the […]