|If you looked out from the center of the Solar System, what would you see?
such a view was taken recently from the
MESSENGER spacecraft currently orbiting the Sun from the distance of
The Sun's planets all appear as points of light, with the closest and largest planets appearing the brightest.
all appear to orbit in the same direction and are (nearly) confined to the same
great circle around the sky -- the
Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn are all visible in the above horizontally
compressed image, while the positions of Uranus and Neptune are labeled even though they are too faint to make out.
Pluto, which has had its
planetary status recently called into question, is much too faint to see.
Earth's Moon is visible, however, as are the
Galilean moons of Jupiter.
The above image is the reverse of
one taken from the outside of the Solar System in 1990 by
MESSENGER, which has
flown by Mercury three times now, is on schedule to
around the Solar System's innermost planet next month.