The question “what is the heaviest planet” has been said to be one of the most asked questions about space. While the answer can be said to be simple, it could also be a tricky one for most people to answer. In this article, we’ll give you an overview of this topic that continues to intrigue space explorers and people interested in learning more about space.
How Do You Weigh a Planet?
Before we can explore the answer to the question “What is the heaviest planet?,” we must explain how scientists are able to “weigh” a planet in the first place.
According to the National Aeronautics Space Administration, otherwise referred to as NASA, “To weigh a planet, scientists need to know two things: how long it takes objects to orbit the planet and how far away those objects are from the planet. The time it takes an object to orbit a planet depends on its distance from the planet and the planet’s weight.”
What is the Heaviest Planet According to NASA?
Jupiter vs. Earth
NASA says that Jupiter happens to be the heaviest planet in our solar system. Jupiter, with a mass of 1.90 x 10^27 kg, is said to be two and a half times the total mass of every other planet in our solar system combined. To get a clearer image of how heavy and large Jupiter is, we’ll use an example.
As humans, we inhabit the planet Earth. Humans have lived on this planet for billions of years without experiencing any issue in terms of population. In fact, a larger part of this planet is covered with water, meaning that we are yet to totally inhabit every corner of this beautiful planet. As heavy and as large as the planet Earth, you will find it both surprising and astonishing to know that Jupiter has a mass equivalent of about 318 planet Earths. This simply means that it is 11.2 times bigger than the planet Earth in diameter. Interesting right?
The composition and nature of Jupiter are a few of the many reasons why there is a low mean density. Unlike some of the other planets, Jupiter does not have a true surface, and this means that if one were to have himself positioned within the atmosphere where the pressure is equivalent to that to the planet Earth, there would be a gravitational pull of about 2.258g.
Saturn vs. Earth
Another heavy and large planet is Saturn. Saturn, like Jupiter, has been said to have a low mean density because of its overall composition and nature. Astronauts have revealed that Saturn is slightly smaller than Jupiter, and it has a mass that is about 95 times larger than the planet Earth. This planet has been said to be the only planet in the solar system that is less dense than water.
The question “what is the heaviest planet” has been answered in this blog post and based on the recommendations of NASA, we refer to the mass instead of the weight, because mass does not change based on location or time, unlike weight.
But keep in mind, even though Jupiter wins this round, the sun is 1,000 times heavier than Jupiter, and 300,000 times heavier than Earth!
If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy reading about colonizing Mars.