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Solar System: Coordinates

To learn about the Solar System, it helps to understand coordinates that can be used to describe it.

A simple x-y graph

A simple x-y graph

You may have seen coordinates on an x-y graph - x goes horizontally and y goes vertically. The graph at the right is a very simple graph of x and y.

But to make a graph of the Solar System, we need to use a different type of coordinates. We are looking from Earth, and Earth is a sphere. So we must use coordinates that can work on the surface of a sphere. The coordinates for the sky are based on coordinates for the Earth.

Click Next to learn about how Earth coordinates work.

Previous page: Solar System home Next page: Earth coordinates

Image from the NASA Earth Observatory experiment. (links open in new window)