The Sun and its Family

Imagine that you have travelled far into the depths of space. From your distant vantage point the Sun has become just another star amongst the multitude, and the Earth, the other planets, and the host of smaller bodies that orbit the Sun are not visible at all to the unaided eye. The Sun is by far the largest and most massive body in the Solar System, and is the only one hot enough to be obviously luminous. This chapter starts with a description of the Sun. We shall then visit the other bodies in the Solar System, but only briefly, the purpose here being to establish their main characteristics - each of these bodies will be explored in much more detail in subsequent chapters. Chapter 1 then continues with an exploration of the orbits of the various bodies. Each of them also rotates around an axis through its centre, and we shall look at this too. The chapter concludes with aspects of our view of the Solar System as we see it from the Earth.

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