The night sky is full of wonder. How much do you know about the planets in our solar system? Take this quiz to test your knowledge. You may learn some surprising new facts!
1. Neptune is considered the stormiest planet, with winds blowing up to _______.
A. 320 mph
B. 580 mph
C. 800 mph
D. 1,240 mph
Answer: D. 1,240 miles per hour — Neptune’s powerful winds are eight times stronger than a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane on Earth.
2. Which planet has the tallest volcano in the solar system?
Answer: C. Mars — The volcano, Olympus Mons, on Mars is a whopping 15 miles high. That is almost three times the height of Mount Everest!
3. The rotational axis of _________ is almost horizontal, as though the planet had been knocked on its side.
Answer: D. Uranus — Astronomers believe a collision with another planet-sized body may have caused Uranus to become tilted on its side. As this sideways planet spins, the north and south poles alternately face the Sun.
4. This planet has no solid surface to land on.
E. All of the above.
Answer: E. All of the above — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are known as gas planets. Extreme pressure causes their atmospheric gases to turn into a sludge-like liquid.
5. On Venus, the Sun rises in the west and sets in the east.
Answer: A. True — Venus rotates from east to west (opposite of Earth’s rotation). The planet Uranus and the dwarf planet Pluto are the only other planets with a retrograde rotation.
6. This planet has the lowest density of all the planets in the solar system.
Answer: C. Saturn — Saturn is so lightweight that it could float on water if there was a sea large enough to hold it.
7. Earth is not round.
Answer: A. True — Contrary to popular belief, Earth is not a perfect sphere. It is actually an oblate spheroid — meaning the diameter between the two poles is slightly shorter than the equatorial diameter. Earth is somewhat flattened at the poles, but bulges at the equator.
8. Every morning on _______, the Sun rises briefly, sets, then rises again.
Answer: B. Mercury — Mercury’s unusual rotation and elliptical orbit result in the Sun rising, setting, and then rising again each morning. The inverse pattern of this occurs every evening.
9. How many dwarf planets are in our Solar System?
Answer: C. Five — Pluto is the most well-known dwarf planet due to its recent reclassification from its former status as the ninth planet in our solar system. But not as well-known is that there are four other dwarf planets in our solar system — Ceres, which is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and Haumea, Makemake, and Eris, all located beyond Neptune’s orbit.
10. Which planet has the most moons?
Answer: C. Jupiter — Jupiter has a total of 49 known moons. Ganymede is its largest moon and is also the largest moon in the solar system, measuring larger than Mercury and Pluto. Jupiter’s moon, Io, boasts more volcanoes than any other celestial body in our solar system.