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The Planetary Science (from the ancient Greek αστήρ πλανήτης for "wall champion star" and λόγος "teaching") is the science that deals with the individual not stellar celestial bodies (not the stars) and the planetary systems is concerned in general.


Until the end of the 20th century, only stars and larger celestial bodies (such as some gas clouds ) could be observed outside the solar system . Therefore, until 1993 the subjects of planetology were limited exclusively to the named objects in the solar system, u. a.

With the discovery of extrasolar planets in 1993, the research area expanded considerably. Since then, the study of exotic, extrasolar objects such as the planets of neutron stars has also been part of it, more generally as well

  • the formation of planetary systems and
  • the development of planetary systems.

One of the sub-areas of planetology is astrogeology , which deals with geological issues within planetology and applies geological methods. The part of planetology that deals with the description of the surface properties of planetary bodies and especially with the creation of maps is also known as planetography based on geography .


Methods of planetology are earth or space-based measurements and especially imaging methods of astronomy in the areas of the visible light spectrum , infrared and radar , the sending of space probes to the objects to be examined, the examination of samples obtained on site or on earth (the latter so far only from the moon, from the solar wind and a comet), the investigation of meteorites as well as model calculations and theoretical considerations.

Inferences by analogy based on the knowledge of geology , geophysics , glaciology , hydrology , meteorology , mineralogy , seismology , volcanology and others play an important role in planetology . Although planetology is related to, and has evolved from, traditional geosciences , there are also close links to astronomy. The formation of the individual planets depends, among other things, on the history of their orbit parameters . Furthermore, planetology deals with astrobiology . Planetological missions, such as the Viking probes to Mars and, more recently, Cassini-Huygens to Saturn and Titan and Mars Express to Mars, carried out or carry out experiments aimed at investigating exobiological questions.

Selection of planetology locations in Germany

See also


  • Imke De Pater, Jack J. Lissauer: Planetary sciences. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge 2007, ISBN 978-0-521-48219-6
  • Michael E. Bakich: The Cambridge planetary handbook. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge 2000, ISBN 0-521-63280-3
  • D. Möhlmann: Laboratory planetology. Pergamon Press, Oxford 1995, ISBN 0-08-042618-2
  • Katharina Lodders, Bruce Fegley: The planetary scientist's companion. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, NY 1998, ISBN 0-19-511694-1

Web links

Commons : Planetary science  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Planetology  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations