terrestrial planet

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terrestrial planet,

the earth or a planet that resembles the earth in its physical characteristics. The terrestrial planets in the solar system are the earthearth,
in geology and astronomy, 3rd planet of the solar system and the 5th largest, the only planet definitely known to support life. Gravitational forces have molded the earth, like all celestial bodies, into a spherical shape.
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, MercuryMercury,
in astronomy, nearest planet to the sun, at a mean distance of 36 million mi (58 million km); its period of revolution is 88 days. Mercury passes through phases similar to those of the moon as it completes each revolution about the sun, although the visible disk varies
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, VenusVenus,
in astronomy, 2d planet from the sun; it is often called the evening star or morning star and is brighter than any object in the sky except the sun and the moon. Because its orbit lies between the sun and the orbit of the earth, Venus passes through phases like those of
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, and MarsMars,
in astronomy, 4th planet from the sun, with an orbit next in order beyond that of the earth. Physical Characteristics

Mars has a striking red appearance, and in its most favorable position for viewing, when it is opposite the sun, it is twice as bright as
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. These planets are approximately the same size, with the earth the largest. They are considerably denser than the Jovian planetsJovian planets,
the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. They are all larger and more massive than the earth. Since they rotate faster, they are more flattened at the poles than are the terrestrial planets.
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, ranging from a specific gravity of 4 for Mars to 5.5 for the earth. Because they spin less rapidly than the Jovian planets, the terrestrial planets are less flattened at their poles.

terrestrial planet

[tə′res·trē·əl ′plan·ət]
One of the four small planets near the sun (Earth, Mercury, Venus, and Mars).