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Planets are generally divided into two main types: large low-density giant planets, and smaller rocky terrestrials. In order of increasing distance from the Sun, they are the four terrestrials, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, then the four giant planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Six of the planets are orbited by one or more natural satellites.
These would remain the only known planets until the invention of the telescope in early modern times.
The ancient Greeks initially did not attach as much significance to the planets as the Babylonians.
The Pythagoreans, in the 6th and 5th centuries BC appear to have developed their own independent planetary theory, which consisted of the Earth, Sun, Moon, and planets revolving around a "Central Fire" at the center of the Universe.
Pythagoras or Parmenides is said to have been the first to identify the evening star (Hesperos) and morning star (Phosphoros) as one and the same (Aphrodite, Greek corresponding to Latin Venus), though this had long been known by the Babylonians.
The five classical planets, being visible to the naked eye, have been known since ancient times and have had a significant impact on mythology, religious cosmology, and ancient astronomy.
These were regarded by many early cultures as divine, or as emissaries of deities.
As observational tools improved, astronomers saw that, like Earth, each of the planets rotated around an axis tilted with respect to its orbital pole, and some shared such features as ice caps and seasons.
Since the dawn of the Space Age, close observation by space probes has found that Earth and the other planets share characteristics such as volcanism, hurricanes, tectonics, and even hydrology.
A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or stellar remnant that is massive enough to be rounded by its own gravity, is not massive enough to cause thermonuclear fusion, and has cleared its neighbouring region of planetesimals.
The term planet is ancient, with ties to history, astrology, science, mythology, and religion.
By the 1st century BC, during the Hellenistic period, the Greeks had begun to develop their own mathematical schemes for predicting the positions of the planets.