NASA Goddard Planetary Scientist James O’ Donoghue created a nice animation showing the sidereal days and axial tilts of the solar system planets.
The sidereal days and axial tilts of Mercury-to-Neptune. Animation composed by Dr. James O’Donoghue using NASA imagery. Planets and dwarf planets to scale in size, rotation speed, and axial tilt (in order of distance from the Sun). There are many more dwarf planet candidates, but they aren’t mapped so aren’t included. Sidereal day lengths are shown.
Update: new video by James O’ Donoghue, and even a better one: selected solar system objects to scale in size, rotation speed, and axial tilt.
Planets’ Sidereal Days and Axial Tilts:
- Mercury: 58 days 15.5 hours, 0°
- Venus: 243 days 26 minutes, 177.3°
- Earth: 23 hours 56 minutes, 23.4°
- Mars: 1 day 36 minutes, 25.2°
- Jupiter: 9 hours 55 minutes, 3.1°
- Saturn: 10 hours 40 minutes, 26.7°
- Uranus: 17 hours 14 minutes, 97.8°
- Neptune: 16 hours, 28.3°
What is a sidereal day?
A sidereal day is the length of time it takes a planet to rotate from the perspective of a distant star. For the planet Earth, a sidereal day is approximately 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds. By contrast, solar time is reckoned by the movement of the Earth from the perspective of the Sun. The “solar day”, or simply “day” is 24 hours, so it is slightly longer than the sidereal day because of the amount the Earth moves each day in its orbit around the Sun.
The seasons on Earth (or any other planet) occur because of the axial tilt.
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