The largest planets in the solar system are the gas giants; Jupiter and Saturn. As gas giants, these planets don’t have a solid surface like terrestrial planets and consist mainly of gases (hydrogen and helium).
Uranus would round out the top three as the third largest planet in the solar system, but it doesn’t come close to even the size of the second largest planet, Saturn. In fact, Jupiter is 2.8x larger than Uranus.
Saturn and Jupiter photographed through my telescope (Trevor Jones).
The largest planets in the solar system are also the most gratifying ones to view and photograph through a telescope. To learn how to capture images like the one above, be sure to read: How to Photograph Planets.
Largest Planet in the Solar System – Jupiter
Jupiter is the fifth planet from the Sun and by far the largest planet in the solar system. It is so large, that it is twice as massive as all the other planets combined, according to NASA.
Jupiter has a radius of 43,440.7 miles (69,911 kilometers), compare this to Earth at 3,959 miles (6,371 kilometers), Jupiter is 11 times wider than Earth. Its enormous size and powerful gravity have a large influence on the dynamics of our solar system.
Jupiter is a fascinating and unique planet, different from any other in our solar system, here are some interesting facts:
- Due to its massive size, Jupiter has a powerful gravitational pull. It’s more than twice as massive as all the other planets in the solar system combined, and its gravity is about 2.5 times stronger than Earth’s.
- Jupiter’s size allows for massive storms like the Great Red Spot, an enormous storm system that has lasted at least 350 years. The storm itself is so large, that several Earths could fit inside it.
Jupiter taken by HubbleTelescope
Second Largest Planet in the Solar System – Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun. It has a diameter of approximately 72,367 miles (116,464 kilometers), making it the second-largest planet in the solar system (after Jupiter) and about 9 times wider than Earth.
Saturn’s gravity is strong. If you were standing on its surface (though it doesn’t have a solid surface), you would experience a gravitational force approximately 1.07 times stronger than Earth’s.
Though Saturn is not the only planet in the solar system to have a ring system, the complex icy ring system of this planet is by far the most captivating and famous.
Saturn taken by Hubble Telescope