Guided Primary Source Analysis: The Solar System Displayed

Solar System Displayed

This map was published in 1789. Zoom into the map online or using this map document (.pdf) and review “A Table of the Diameters, Periods & of the several Planets in the Solar System”. Compare the information in that table to the data scientists have today. Make a new table with the same column headers and fill it in with today’s data; identify your data source and make sure it is a reliable one.

This map mentions a comet. What information does it provide about the comet? Do some research to find out the name we have for this comet today and to see how accurate the information is based on today’s scientific data. Describe your findings.

This map also mentions a new planet discovered by a person named Herschel on March 13, 1781. Look at the chart and see if you can deduce which planet Herschel discovered. Then conduct some research to find out the name of the planet discovered in 1781 and more about Herschel and the significance of the discovery.

What other observations, reflections or questions does this source inspire? Let us know!