Ferguson's solar system diagram, 1756

Ferguson's solar system diagram, 1756

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ferguson's solar system diagram. This diagram was published in 1756 by the Scottish astronomer and instrument maker James Ferguson (1710-1776), in his book Astronomy explained upon Sir Isaac Newton's Principles. The main diagram (right) shows the orbits of comets (elongated) and planets (circular) within the solar system. Three comets are marked with their years of return: 1532 and 1661; 1105 and 1680; 1531, 1607 and 1682. This last one is Halley's Comet. The planets are marked with astrological symbols, and their moons are shown. At left, diagrams show the relative sizes of some astronomical bodies. At far left, a key identifies the zodiacal symbols.

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