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Solar System Simulator
This site renders images of celestial bodies within our solar system. The simulator software looks up the positions of the Sun, planets and satellites from ephemeris files developed at the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), as well as star positions and colors from a variety of stellar databases, and uses special-purpose renderers to draw a color scene. Texture maps for each of the planets and physical models for planetary rings have been derived (in most cases) from scientific data collected by various JPL spacecraft. Users can then request a rendered image of any celestial body from any other celestial body on the date of your choice (1600 to 2300). Users specify date and time, field of view, and whether orbits and constellation lines are to be depicted. Archived images (both rendered and actual) are available, as are simulated views from Cassini and Galilleo, and locations of current comets. The following named bodies can be rendered: Sun, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Moon, Mars, Phobos, Deimos, Jupiter, Io, Europa, Ganeymede, Callisto, Saturn, Mimas, Enceladus, Tethys, Dione, Rhea, Titan, Lapetus, Uranus, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania, Oberon, Miranda, Neptune, Triton, Pluto, Charon, Solar system, Cassini trajectory, Galileo trajectory, Comet Wild-2 trajectory, and the Voyager trajector.
Intended for grade levels:
  • General public
Type of resource:
  • Visual:
    • Visualization - scientific
  • Space science
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) images may be used in the preparation of course or instructional materials by teachers or students which are clearly not for profit. Express permission for such use is not required. The following credit line is required: "Courtesy Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Copyright (c) California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA. All rights reserved. Based on government-sponsored research under contract NAS7-1407." Thus images can be saved to disk.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-000-043
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: David A. Seal
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) / National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)

Contact: David A. Seal
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) / National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)

Publisher: Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) / National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)