Astronomy Picture of the Day

Solar System Rising Over Fire Island

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Solar System Rising Over Fire Island

If you wait long enough, the entire Solar System will rise before you.

To see such a sight, however, you will need to look in the direction of the

All of the planets
and their moons orbit the Sun in nearly the same plane, the
ecliptic plane.

From the Earth, this means that each day they will all rise in nearly the same direction - and later set in the opposite direction.

Ten years ago, a series of time exposures caught, left to right, the
Venus, the
Moon, and Jupiter, all rising in the
ecliptic plane behind
Fire Island,
New York,

Exposures were taken every six minutes and
digitally superposed on an image taken from the same location at sunrise.

Smaller members of our Solar System, including most
comets and many
asteroids, do not always move along the
ecliptic plane.

The picturesque Fire Island Lighthouse, visible in the foreground,
was built in 1826 and is still in use today.

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