MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY MARK GARLICK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Solar system. The planets are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars (inner); then Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune (outer). Also shown is the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune. Each orbit is marked with its perihelion (closest approach to the Sun, open circle), its aphelion (furthest point from the Sun, closed circle), direction of orbit (arrow), and the two orbital nodes (where the orbit crosses the ecliptic plane, tick marks). The grid numbers indicate distances from the Sun in astronomical units (AU), where 1 AU is the Earth-Sun distance.
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