A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System:
one star, eight planets, and moreby Bill Arnett
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This website is an overview of the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of the planets, moons and other objects in our solar system. Each page has my text and NASA's images, some have sounds and movies, most provide references to additional related information.
All eight planets can be seen with a small telescope; or binoculars. And large observatories continue to provide much useful information. But the possibility of getting up close with interplanetary spacecraft has revolutionized planetary science. Very little of this site would have been possible without the space program.
Nevertheless, there's a lot that you can see with very modest equipment or even with just your own eyes. Past generations of people found beauty and a sense of wonder contemplating the night sky. Today's scientific knowledge further enhances and deepens that experience. And you can share in it by simply going out in the evening and looking up.
The IAU has changed the definition of "planet" so that Pluto no longer qualifies. There are now officially only eight planets in our solar system. Of course this change in terminology does not affect what's actually out there. In the end, it's not very important how we classify the various objects in our solar system. What is important is to learn about their physical nature and their histories.
Our knowledge of our solar system is extensive. But it is far from complete. Some of the worlds have never even been photographed up close. The Nine Planets is an overview of what we know today. We are still exploring. Much more is still to come:
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
-- T. S. Eliot
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