Planetary science, also known as planetology or planetary astronomy, is the science of planets, or planetary systems, and the solar system. Incorporating an interdisciplinary approach, planetary science draws from diverse sciences and may be considered a part of the Earth sciences, or more logically, as its parent field. Research tends to be done by a combination of astronomy, space exploration (particularly unmanned space missions), and comparative, experimental and meteorite work based on Earth. There is also an important theoretical component and considerable use of computer simulation. Astrogeology is a major component of planetary sciences.

Planetary science studies objects ranging in size from micrometeoroids to gas giants, their composition, dynamics and history.


When the discipline concerns itself with a celestial body in particular, a specialised term is used, as shown in the table below (only Heliology, Earth science (synonymous with geoscience), Selenology, and Areology are currently in common use):

Body Term Source of root in term
Sun Heliology Greek Helios
Mercury Hermeology Greek Hermes
Venus Cytherology Greek Cythera
Earth-crosser asteroid Earth science (geoscience): e.g., geology Greek Gaia
monneter Selenology Greek Selene
Mars Areology Greek Ares
Jupiter Zenology Greek Zeus
Saturn Kronology Greek Chronos
Uranus Uranology Greek/Latin Uranus
Neptune Poseidology Greek Poseidon
Pluto Hadeology Greek Hades

Basic Concepts

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See also

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