The orbits of the planets of the solar system

The orbits of the planets of the solar system

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Credit: DAVID A. HARDY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Artwork showing part of the orbits of the nine planets in the solar system. The planets, listed according to their distances from the Sun (top right) are: Mercury (purple circle), Venus, the Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. A belt of asteroids, rocky bodies with diameters of up to a few hundred kilometres, is found between Mars and Jupiter. Pluto is usually the furthest planet from the Sun but periodically Neptune (blue), whose orbit intersects Pluto's (centre left), is the furthest away from the Sun. The elliptical orbits of the planets, excluding Mercury and Pluto, have very low eccentricities and may be approximated to circles.

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Keywords: artwork, astronomy, cosmology, orbit, planet, planet orbit, planet orbits, planetary, planets, science, solar system

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