All five planets that can be seen by the naked eye from Earth's surface were associated with a god or goddess by the Greeks based on the movements or appearance of the particular plannet. When the Romans conquered the Greek civilization they adopted many of their customs. The Romans adopted the religion of the Greeks, but adopted Latin names for the deitys. These Latin names are the names that most of us are more familiar with today, so I like to use the Greek names when I refer to gods and the Roman names when I am refering to the planet.
Revolution: 88 Earth Days
Rotation: 59 Earth Days
Distance from Sun: 57,900,000 km
Mercury is the first planet next to the sun. It is a fairly small planet that moves swiftly accross Earth's sky. For this reason, the ancient Greeks associated this planet with their god Hermes, the messenger of the gods. The symbol for Mercury resembles the staff with wings that the god Hermes carries. The plannet Mercury is small, rocky and similar in many ways to Earth's moon. It has no atmosphere and is covered in craters from astroids hitting it early in its history. Mercury's core is very rich in iron.
Moons: 2 - Phobos and Deimos
Revolution: 687 Earth Days
Rotation: 24 hours, 37 minutes
Distance from Sun: 227,900,00 km
Mars appears red in Earth's night sky. The planet's bloody color is most likely why the Greeks decided to name this planet after their god of war, Ares. The symbol for Mars resembles two tools of war, a shield and spear. Mars has a thin carbon dioxide atmosphere, and there has been evidence that there may have at one time been life on the planet.
Revolution: 11.86 Earth Years
Rotation: 9 hours, 55 minutes
Distance from Sun: 778,300,000 km
Jupiter is the largest of all of the known planets, so the Greeks named this planet after their king of gods, Zeus. The symbol for Jupiter represents the lightning bolts that Zeus used to punish the mortals who displeased him. Jupiter is gaseous, and is gigantic in size when compared to the inner planets.
Revolution: 22.4 Earth Days
Rotation: 243 Earth Days Retrograde
Distance from Sun: 108,200,000 km
Venus appears to be a very bright star in the Earth's night sky, and has even been described as the most beautiful of planets. It is appropriate that this beautiful planet be named after the Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. The symbol for Venus resembles a hand mirror. Venus is almost identical to Earth on the inside, but the atmosphere would be poisonous to any life on earth. The surface temperature would also be unbearably hot.
girl talk © 2001 by Leslie Norwood