Shortcut Navigation:
Planets_HERO

Planets

Planets

  • Exhibition Text

    • The Sun, an unremarkable star, holds in orbit a system of planets.  If most Sun-like stars have planets, then there should be billions of planets in our Milky Way Galaxy. Numerous other planetary systems have already been detected, many with configurations quite different than that of our solar system.

      Show more

In This Section

Other planetary systems

Other Planetary Systems

Until the end of the 20th century, ours was the only planetary system known. We now know of more planets outside our solar system than within it.

Surfaces

Surfaces

Many forces shape the solid surfaces of planets and moons.

Greenhouse effect

Greenhouse Effect

Visible sunlight heats a planet’s surface, which re-radiates the energy as infrared light. Certain atmospheric gases absorb and trap much of this infrared energy, raising the temperature at the surface.

Volcanism

Volcanism

Volcanoes provide an efficient way for solid planets and moons to shed their internal heat.

Rings

Rings

All of the gas giant planets have rings.

Orbits

Orbits

The Moon orbits Earth. Earth orbits the Sun. The Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Gravity governs all of these motions, holding moons, planets, and stars in their orbits.

SELECT PAGE

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions

Enlighten Your Inbox

Stay informed about Museum news and research, events, and more!