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18th century illustration of the solar system

18th century illustration of the solar system

V700/0007

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Illustration depicting the solar system from Thomas Wright's book An Original Theory of the Universe, published in London in 1750. The illustration shows the Sun (centre) and the orbits of the six known planets; Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn. The elliptical orbit of a comet is also shown. The image echoes the German mystic Boehme (or Behmen) in depicting Hell (represented by the serpent biting its tail) as being outside the solar system. In this book Wright (1711-86) gave the first correct explanation of the appearance of the Milky Way as being due to our immersion in a layer of stars.

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