To get a clearer idea of our solar system and where it stands in the vastness of the universe, it helps to study an artists’ impression, as if viewed from outer space.
The yellow disk is the sun at the centre of our solar system, and around it are shown the position of the planets and their orbits as they travel round the sun. It is unlikely that the diagram shown here is drawn to scale, but it does give us some idea as to the sizes of the planets in relation to each other.
It can be seen that Jupiter and Saturn are absolutely vast in comparison to the size of our planet Earth, and Mercury and Pluto are the smallest of all.
In order to appreciate this to its’ full extent, it helps to take a trip into the imagination.
Imagine we are in a space ship, no larger than a small aircraft, travelling far out in space. We are moving faster than time, and swifter than light, and the distance before us stretches into infinity. Galaxies drift past; swirls of clustered stars hanging suspended in space like specks of dust caught in a sunbeam in a deserted room.
One of these multitudes of galaxies is our own. It is called the Milky Way and near the edge of it shines a star that seems brighter than the others. This star is our sun – the heart of our solar system – and as we move towards it we see that it has satellites of its’ own spinning around it, and held close by gravity.
These satellites are the planets and, as they travel round the sun, we can imagine they leave a misty orb trailing behind them. The giant circle of stars, known as the zodiac, encloses them, rather like the rim of a vast wheel.
Imagine now that we are tempted to land on that bright star, our sun, and as we travel closer, we feel the force of gravity pulling us towards it.
The sun however, radiates out such a tremendous heat that we are unable to go too near, so we look around for another landing site.
Most of the planets seem too hostile for our requirements, yet there is one that is lush, warm and brimming with life; shining like a blue green jewel in an indigo sky.
A planet of oceans and forests and a climate that welcomes us.
That planet is our planet Earth
When we land we look up at the sky and find that, when seen from the earth, the planets and the sun appear to be revolving around us, for now, from our viewpoint, we have become the central point. Far away in the infinite distance, we see the vast circle of the zodiac. If we could stand there long enough, it too would appear to be swinging round us like the giant wheel of a funfair.
Picture if you can, ancient man trying to draw this scene on the ground.
It would look just like a flat, two dimensional map of the position of the planets revolving round the earth as the central point.
These planets were enclosed with the circle of the zodiac, and that primitive drawing is what has become known as the Horoscope.
The Horoscope therefore, becomes a picture of our solar system, as if viewed from the Earth, and caught up in an instant of time.