mercury venus earth mars jupiter saturn saturn saturn uranus neptune pluto

The Nine Planets

A Multimedia Tour of the Solar System

by Bill Arnett  

The Nine Planets is an overview of the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons in our solar system. Each page has text and images, some have sounds and movies, most provide references to additional related information.

All of the planets can be seen with a small telescope; most can be seen with binoculars. And large telescopes continue to provide much useful information. But the possibility of getting up close with interplanetary spacecraft has revolutionized planetary science. Very little of this site would have been possible without the space program.

Nevertheless, there's a lot that you can see with very modest equipment or even with just your own eyes. Past generations of people found beauty and a sense of wonder contemplating the night sky. Today's scientific knowledge further enhances and deepens that experience. And you can share in it by simply going out in the evening and looking up.



The New Solar System
Summarizes what we've learned from interplanetary explorations in the last 25 years. My primary reference for The Nine Planets.

Encyclopedia of the Solar System
A more scholarly introduction the planetary science for those who want to dig a little deeper.

The Compact NASA Atlas of the Solar System
This 'road map' of the solar system contains lots of maps and data as well as photos.

Touring the Universe through Binoculars
A personal tour of the universe using nothing more than a pair of binoculars.

Life in the Universe
Explore the fundamental questions about life and the science that may answer them.

Bad Astronomy
The truth is out there; so is a lot of baloney. Here's the straight story on many popular urban legends, myths and misconceptions. Great fun, too!
Also see the author's website,

Our knowledge of our solar system is extensive. But it is far from complete. Some of the worlds have never even been photographed up close. The Nine Planets is an overview of what we know today. We are still exploring. Much more is still to come:

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
-- T. S. Eliot

... Intro/FAQ ... Overview ... Sun ... Data Host

Copyright © 1994-2004 by William A. Arnett; last updated: 2004 Apr 2