Chapter 1. Our Planetary System

  1. Stephen Eales

Published Online: 23 APR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470721780.ch1

Planets and Planetary Systems

Planets and Planetary Systems

How to Cite

Eales, S. (2009) Our Planetary System, in Planets and Planetary Systems, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470721780.ch1

Author Information

  1. School of Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 23 APR 2009
  2. Published Print: 27 MAR 2009

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470016923

Online ISBN: 9780470721780



  • our planetary system;
  • solar system diversity;
  • surface of Venus and ‘pancake domes’;
  • European mission Mars Express;
  • asteroid Ida and its moon Dactyl - image by Galileo spacecraft;
  • International Astronomical Union (IAU) - ‘planet’ and precise scientific definition;
  • Oort Cloud - cloud of ‘dirty icebergs’ surrounding solar system;
  • IAU discovery - new class dwarf planet;
  • Tombaugh's discovery of ninth planet - turning out false


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Diversity in the Solar System

  • General trends in the properties of the planets

  • Why are planets round?

  • When is a planet not a planet?

  • Exercises