terrestrial planet


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Related to terrestrial planet: Jovian planet

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. They are all less dense than the earth.
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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]
(astronomy)
One of the four small planets near the sun (Earth, Mercury, Venus, and Mars).
References in periodicals archive ?
In other words, Vesta may be the preserved remnant of a transitional class of planetary objects--it's no longer a primitive asteroid but it's not quite a classical terrestrial planet either.
Our understanding is that this kind of meteorite is the starting composition of the terrestrial planets, from Mercury to the Earth.
From telescopic studies, we knew this Arizona-sized world had an interesting shape and composition, and that it's a possible example of the building blocks from which all the terrestrial planets formed 4.
Alessandro Morbidelli of the Cote d'Azur Observatory in Nice, France, and collaborators suggest that the formation of the inner, terrestrial planets was accompanied by a rowdy encounter with the solar system's big bully, Jupiter.
Whereas the giants are surrounded by rings and a myriad of small natural satellites, the terrestrial planets have few moons, or just one, and no rings.
The discovery of the planet, dubbed COROT-Exo-7b, may ultimately provide groundbreaking information about the composition and structure of terrestrial planets beyond the solar system.
The wobble of a star due to the orbit of a terrestrial planet is so small that, employing this method, finding such a planet is nigh impossible.
So even for a terrestrial planet transiting a very bright, nearby M star, obtaining spectra would require some 50 hours of observations with JWST, Greene says.
Mars is the only terrestrial planet with Trojans in its orbit, but there are also gas planets with their own Trojans.
This NASA Discovery-class mission is a terrestrial planet explorer that will address one of the most fundamental issues of planetary and solar system science; understanding the processes that shaped the rocky planets of the inner solar system (including Earth) more than four billion years ago.

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