Within the Orbit of Jupiter
There is a lot going on in this picture. In addition to the orbits of the minor planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, there are the swarms of asteroids (too small to be detected at this scale) between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Also, there are the many natural moons of Jupiter, Mars, and Earth.
In particular, though, I'm talking about the artificial satellites that are flying around the inner solar system. Galileo is orbiting the planet Jupiter and studying its moons. Mars Pathfinder is on the surface of Mars and Mars Global Surveyor is mapping the red planet in greater detail than ever before. The NEAR spacecraft has returned close up photos of asteroids and has landed on the asteroid Eros -- returning pictures of rocks smaller than a toaster! (The trouble with NASA is that I have to keep updating these pages to remain current.) The Cassini/Huygens satellite and probe is on its way to explore Saturn and its moons, having recently swung past Jupiter. Ulysses has been sent around Jupiter into a polar orbit of the Sun. SOHO (Europe's Solar and Helospheric Observatory) is orbiting the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrangian Point. It's like a halo for Earth (see the MoreInfo page). The Hubble Space Telescope in Earth orbit is returning incredible pictures of Mars, star forming regions of the Milky Way, details of distant galaxies, and the most distant galaxies and quasars ever seen. It is a truly amazing period in the exploration of our place in the Universe.
Copyright © 2016 by Bruce Bryson