The Inferior Planets

  • Gerald North


Before the invention of the telescope the only planets known were Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Their true natures remained unknown, because they appeared like stars to the unaided eye. These planets could only be detected by their brightnesses and by their movements relative to the stars. In fact the word planet comes from the Greek for “wanderer”.


Rotation Rate Angular Diameter Apparent Magnitude Royal Greenwich Observatory Apparent Diameter 
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© Springer-Verlag London 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald North

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