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Determining Planet Properties

Determining Planet Properties - Determining Planet...

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Determining Planet Properties How can you find out what the other planets are like by just observing them carefully from the Earth? Most of the information comes in the form of electromagnetic radiation but we also have little chunks of rock, called meteorites, that give other clues. The image below compares the apparent sizes of the planets. The outer planets are shown at their closest approach to us and the two inner planets are shown at various distances from us (but all are with the same magnification). Before you can do any sort of comparison of the planets, you need to know how far away they are. Once you know their distances, you can determine basic properties of the planets such as mass, size, and density. Distances
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Several hundred years ago Copernicus was able to determine approximate distances between the planets through trigonometry. The distances were all found relative to the distance between the Earth and the Sun, the astronomical unit.
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