Explore the planets from above the Solar System. Follow their path around the Sun and zoom in closer to learn more about each one.
This example combines many of the different techniques in Starry Night for changing your viewing location.
1. Click on your current location in the toolbar and choose Other... to open the Viewing Location dialog box Change text options to . Click the List tab.
2. From the dropboxes along the top of the dialog box, select View From "The Surface Of" "Sun".
3. Click the Latitude/Longitude tab and change your latitude to 90° N. Press the Set Location button. This will change your location to the north pole of the Sun.
4. Use the Increase Elevation button to increase your elevation until you are 60 AU above the north pole of the Sun. As you move higher, you will see several of the "stars" in the sky move away. These "stars" are actually planets, as you will see in a minute.
5. Right-click on the Sun (Ctrl-click on the Mac) and choose Centre from the contex- tual menu.
6. Open the Options pane and expand the Solar System layer. Check the box for "Planets/Moons". Click on the words "Plan- ets/Moons" to open the
Planets/Moons Options dialog box. In this dialog box, check the "Labels" box. You should now be able to see labels for all the planets.
7. Open the Find pane and check the orbit column for all planets. You do not need to turn on the orbits of moons, aster- oids, or comets. You should now be able to see a view of the entire solar system onscreen.
8. Change your time step in the toolbar to a discrete value of 20 days, then press the Forward button to start time moving for- You can see the planets moving
around the Sun.
9. The innermost planets will be too close to the Sun to really see. Use the Decrease Elevation button to reduce your elevation to about 10 AU (so that the orbit of Saturn approximately fills the screen). You can see that the inner planets move much more rapidly. Change the time step to a discrete value of 3 days to slow down the motion of the planets.
10. Press the Stop button in the time controls to stop the motion of the planets. Click and drag the mouse (while holding down the Shift-key) to shift your view of the solar system. You should be able to adjust your view so that all of the planet orbits (with the exception of Pluto) fall into a straight line. You are now viewing along the plane of the ecliptic.