The eight planets of our Solar system vary widely, not just in regards to size, but likewise in regards to mass and density (i.e. Its mass per unit that volume). For instance, the 4 inside planets – those that space closest come the sun – space all terrestrial planets, definition they space composed mostly of silicate rocks or metals and have a heavy surface. On this planets, density varies the farther one ventures from the surface ar towards the core, yet not considerably.

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By contrast, the 4 outer planets are designated as gas giants (and/or ice giants) which space composed generally of the hydrogen, helium, and water existing in miscellaneous physical states. While these planets are better in size and mass, their overall density is lot lower. In addition, their thickness varies considerably in between the outer and inner layers, varying from a fluid state to materials so dense that they come to be rock-solid.

Density additionally plays a an essential role in determining a planet’s surface ar gravity and also is intrinsic come understanding how a earth formed. After the formation of the sunlight at the facility of our Solar System, the planets were formed from a protoplanetary disc. Conversely, the terrestrial planets result from dust seed in the inside Solar System, planets in the external Solar system accreted enough matter for their gravity to host on come the nebula’s leftover gas.


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The Solar System. Image Credit: NASA

The much more gas they hosted onto, the larger they became. And the bigger they became, the an ext matter they would accumulate, till such tie that they got to a an important point. Conversely, the gas giants of Jupiter and also Saturn prospered exponentially, the ice cream giants (Uranus and Neptune), with only a couple of Earth masses of nebular gas, never ever reached that vital point. In all cases, thickness is measured as the number of grams per cubic cm (or g/cm³).

Density that Mercury:

Ad a terrestrial planet, Mercury is written of metals and also silicate material. Mercury’s mean thickness is the second-highest in the Solar System, which is estimated to it is in 5.427 g/cm3 – just slightly much less than Earth’s thickness of 5.515 g/cm3.However, if the effects of gravitational compression – in i beg your pardon the effects of gravity minimize the dimension of an object and rises its density – climate Mercury is in fact an ext dense 보다 Earth, with an uncompressed thickness of 5.3 g/cm³ compared to Earth’s 4.4 g/cm³.

These estimates can be additionally used to infer details that its inside structure. Compared to Earth, Mercury is much smaller, which is why the inner areas are subject to much less in the means of compression. Therefore, the high density is thought to it is in the an outcome of a large, and iron-rich core. All told, metals like iron and also nickel are thought to consist of 70% of the planet’s fixed (higher than any type of other planet), if silicate rock accounts for just 30%.


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Internal framework of Mercury: 1. Crust: 100–300 km thick 2. Mantle: 600 kilometres thick 3. Core: 1,800 km radius. Credit: MASA/JPL

Several theories because that this have actually been suggested, but the predominant one cases that Mercury had actually a more thick silicate crust earlier in that history. This crust was then mostly blown off once a huge planetesimal collided through the planet. Combined with its size and also mass, Mercury has a surface gravity the 3.7 m/s2, i beg your pardon is the identical of 0.38 that Earth’s gravity (aka. 1 g).

Density the Venus:

The second planet from our Sun, as well as the second-closest terrestrial planet, Venus has a mean density of 5.243 g/cm3. Again, this is an extremely close come Earth’s very own density. And also while much remains unknown around Venus’ geology and seismology, astronomers have actually an idea that Venus’ composition and also structure based upon comparative approximates of its size, mass and its density.

In short, it is believed that Venus’ makeup and internal structure room very similar to Earth’s, consist of of a core, a mantle, and a crust. Also like Earth, the interior is though to be written of iron-rich minerals, if silicate minerals consist of the mantle and crust. The slightly smaller size of Venus also means pressures space 24% reduced in the deep internal than Earth’s.


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The internal structure that Venus – the tardy (outer layer), the mantle (middle layer) and also the main point (yellow inside layer). Credit: public Domain

Because Venus and also Earth have been cooling at about the very same rate, the is thought that Venus’ core must be at least partially liquid. However, the lack of a magnetosphere around Venus has led researchers to inquiry this, with some claiming that the core have to be uniform in temperature, when others urge it is totally cooled and solid. Some has gone so together far as to suggest the it has actually no core.

Density the Earth:

Earth has actually the highest thickness of any kind of planet in the Solar System, at 5.514 g/cm3. This is considered the standard whereby other planet’s densities room measured. In addition, the mix of Earth’s size, mass and also density likewise results in a surface gravity of 9.8 m/s². This is additionally used as a the typical (one g) when measuring the surface ar gravity of other planets.

Like the various other terrestrial planets, Earth’s interior is separated into layers which are identified by their chemical or physics (rheological) properties. This layers consist of a core written of iron and nickel, one upper and also lower mantle created of viscous silicate materials, and also a crust composed of solid silicate materials.


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Artist’s impression of the Earth’s interior, which consists of the upper and also lower mantle, and also the inner and also outer core. Credit: Huff short article Science

However, unlike the various other terrestrial planets, Earth’s core region is split into a heavy inner core and a liquid outer core. The within core actions an estimated 1220 km and also is written of iron and nickel, while the external core extends past it come a radius of around 3,400 km. The external core also rotates in the opposite direction of the Earth’s rotation, i beg your pardon is believed to it is in the source of the Earth’s magnetosphere. Like all planet’s, this thickness increases the closer one it s okay to the core, reaching an approximated 12,600–13,000 kg/m3 in the inside core.

Density of Mars:

As a terrestrial planet, Mars is additionally divided into layers that room differentiated based upon their chemical and physical nature – a thick metallic core, a silicate mantle and a crust. The planet’s overall density is reduced than that of Earth’s, estimated at 3.933 g/cm³, and this thickness increases the closer one it s okay to the core. Like Earth, this is because of the truth that the core is created of iron and nickel, if the mantle is consisted of of silicate materials.

Current models that its interior suggest a core region about 1,794 ± 65 kilometers (1,115 ± 40 mi) in radius, consisting mainly of iron and also nickel with around 16–17% sulfur. Compared to Earth’s tardy – i m sorry averages 40 kilometres (25 mi) in thickness – the average thickness of Mars’ tardy is around 50 kilometres (31 mi), with a preferably thickness the 125 km (78 mi). Between it’s size, mass, and also density, Mars has a surface ar gravity of about 3.711 m/s² – which works out to 0.38 g.


Density that Jupiter:

As a gas gigantic (aka. Composed mainly of gaseous and liquid matter) Jupiter has a reduced mean thickness than any of the terrestrial planets. However, in ~ 1.326 g/cm3, it is likewise the second-most thick of the gas giants. Regardless of their incredible size and mass, the lower thickness is as result of them being greatly composed that noble gases, which are maintained in states ranging from gas to solid.

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Jupiter’s internal structure and also composition. (Image Credit: Kelvinsong/Wikipedia Commons

In addition, this density ranges considerably in between its external gaseous layers and also its core, i beg your pardon is believed to be written of rock and also surrounded by a great of metallic hydrogen. In the outermost layer, which are made up of elemental hydrogen and helium, the thickness of the products is much less than the of water – 0.0002 g/cm³ compared to 1 g/cm³ that water.

Beneath that, where the planet’s hydrogen are in a fluid state, the thickness rises to about 0.5 g/cm³ and increases come 1 g/cm³ at the boundary with the layer composed of metallic hydrogen. The great metallic hydrogen, meanwhile, has actually an estimated density of 4 g/cm³ – i.e. About the very same as Mars. And also in the core, who’s ingredient is still the topic of speculation, the thickness rises come 25 g/cm³.


Thought that average thickness is lower than the of the terrestrial planets, Jupiter’s as whole size, mass, and also the quantity of material it packs right into it frame makes for some powerful gravity. Measured indigenous its “surface” (which in this case means its cloudtops), Jupiter’s gravity is over two and a hlaf times that of planet – 24.79 m/s2, or 2.528 g.

Density that Saturn:

At 0.687 g/cm3, Saturn is the least thick of the gas giants. In fact, it’s mean density is actually lower than that of water, which means that if the were possible to ar the planet right into a tub of water, it would float. But as with Jupiter and the other giants, this thickness ranges significantly from the plant’s exterior (which is written of element hydrogen and also helium) to its core (which is again believed to be rocky, and surrounded by metallic hydrogen).

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Diagram the Saturn’s interior. Credit: Kelvinsong/Wikipedia Commons

Owing come its greater size yet lower thickness than terrestrial planets, Saturn’s surface ar gravity (again, measured from its cloudtops) is just slightly greater than the of Earth’s -10.44 m/s² or 1.065 g.


Density of Uranus:

With a mean thickness of 1.27 g/cm3, Uranus is the second-least dense of the gas giants, after Saturn. That is slightly higher density is as result of its composition, which is composed primarily of various volatile ices – such together water, ammonia, and methane – in addition to gases like hydrogen and also helium. Because that this reason, Uranus (and Neptune) are frequently referred to as “ice giants” to identify them from Jupiter and also Saturn.

The standard model of Uranus’s structure is that it consists of 3 layers. Favor the other giants, this has a rocky core and also an outer layer of hydrogen and also helium. But in Uranus’ case, this layers are associated by an icy mantle in the middle rather the one consisted of of fluid hydrogen. The existence of methane in its setting is additionally what offers Uranus’ its specific hue.

Uranus’ all at once size, mass, and also density likewise mean that its surface gravity is less than that of Earth’s. Every told, it functions out come 8.69 m/s², i beg your pardon is indistinguishable to 0.886 g.


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Diagram the the internal of Uranus. Credit: public Domain

Density that Neptune:

Neptune’s mean thickness is 1.638 g/cm³, making the the most thick of any kind of of the giants. Like Uranus, its is written of higher concentrations the volatiles loved one to Jupiter and Saturn. Likewise like Uranus, its internal is differentiated in between a dense core consist of of silicates and metals, a mantle consists of water, ammonia and methane ices, and also an setting consisting that hydrogen, helium, and also methane gas.

The higher concentrations of methane in Neptune’s setting is why the is darker in hue 보다 Uranus. And also between its size, mass and also density, Neptune has actually a surface ar gravity of 11.15 m/s2 – which is the indistinguishable of 1.14 g.

As you can see, the densities of the Solar planets varies widely. Vice versa, those that room closer to the Sun room terrestrial and quite dense, those that inhabit the external Solar mechanism are mainly gaseous and liquid, and also are thus less thick on average.


We have actually written plenty of interesting articles around the densities of planets here at cosmos Today. Right here is the thickness of Venus, the density of Earth, the density of the Moon, the density of Mars, the density of Saturn, the thickness of Uranus, and the thickness of Neptune.

If you room looking for much more information, check out NASA’s Solar System expedition page, and here’s a attach to NASA’s Solar device Simulator.

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Astronomy actors has illustration on all the planets including Episode 49: Mercury,


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CategoriesAstronomy, overview to Space, Solar device Tagsdensity that the planets, Earth, Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Saturn, Uranus, Venus

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