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Big Ideas Of Science


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This simulation shows the four inner planets of the solar system, as they orbit the Sun. Moving out from the Sun, we see Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, in that order. The strip at the bottom shows what the other four objects look like in the sky, as viewed from an observer on whatever object is at the center.

Note that there are various scales in the picture. The relative sizes of the planets (and, in the strip at the bottom, their relative apparent sizes) are approximately correct. At that scale, however, the Sun should be shown 60 times larger than it is (or, the planets should each be 60 times smaller than they are shown). Also, the planets are shown much larger than they should be, with respect to the distances between the various objects.

You can the planet to be centered on and observe the orbit shapes formed. 

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