Many years ago, astronomers maintained only geocentric world view and all of them did not recognize any kind of existence of a solar system. Most believed that the earth was stationary at the center of the universe and categorically different from the ethereal objects that moved through the sky. Greek philosopher Aristarchus of Samos had speculated on a heliocentric reordering of the cosmos whereas Nicolaus Copernicus developed a mathematically heliocentric system. Galileo Galilei, Johnness Kepler and Issac Newton were successors and they developed a modern understanding of physics. As they gave their laws or theories about the earth and the structure on earth which can be easily understood by us and which led to a new understanding of science.
Picture taken from Hubble Space Telescope
First Telescopic observations
Firstly, the solar system observation was conducted by telescope as to map those objects which cannot be seen with the naked eye.Galileo Galilei was the first scientist who put forward the information about individual bodies of the solar system.He discovered that the moon was cratered and the sun was marked with sunspots.
These discoveries led other scientists to discovered other discoveries as Christiaan Huygens discovered Saturn’s moon titan and the rings of Saturn etc.In 1705 realized that sightings of comet were recording the same object as in two years 75-76 was the evidence of revolving orbits around the sun.This term appeared as Solar System.As William Hershel was discovered Uranus whereas Giuseppe Piazzi Ceres which are known as asteroids. Discovery of Uranus led to another planet must be tugging at it from further out.Then, Urban Le Verrier’s calculations led to the discovery of tugging planet as Neptune.
A beautiful picture of Milkyway Galaxy taken from Earth
Although, it is debatable when the Solar system was completely discovered. Three observations in the 19th century proved it’s nature and place in the universe. First, Friedrich Bessel discovered stellar parallax in 1838. Then, Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff using newly spectroscope examined the spectral signature of the sun and it was composed of the same elements exists on earth which is the first physical link in the earth and heavens.Then, Angello Secchi these signs of sun with other stars which was virtually identical.This realization that the sun was a star to the hypothesis that other stars have their own system.But this was not proven for nearly 140 years. As in 1930 with the combination search of three scientists named Percival Lowell, Lowell observatory and Clyde discovered another planet named Pluto which is very small and outer planet. As in 1992, the first evidence of a planetary system other than our was discovered, orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12.Astronomers such as David and Jane Luu discovered the object proved first new population which is known as Kuiper belt as an icy analog to the asteroids belt of which such objects as Pluto and Charon were deemed a part.
Orbiters, Rovers and Landers
Moon was the first solar system body orbited by an artificial satellite named Luna 10, followed by Mars in 1971 named Mariner 9, Venus in 1975 named Venera 9,Jupiter in 1995 named Galileo,the asteroids 433 Eros in 2000 named NEAR SHOEMAKER,Saturn in 2004 named Cassini-Huygens and Mercury and Vesta in 2011 named Messenger and Dawn.
Nasa Lunar Rover
To date, only two worlds in the solar system, the Moon and the Mars have been visited by mobile rovers. Soviet Lunokhod 1 was the first celestial body visited by the first robotic rover which landed on Moon in 1970.Another rover was Sojourner which traveled 500 meters across the surface of Mars in 1997. NASA Lunar Rover which traveled with Apollos 15,16 and 17 in between 1971 to 1972 to visit another world.
We are getting deeper and deeper in the understanding of Solar System. It’s long way from now.
As technology advances, we can hope to visit more planets and go beyond our solar system, find new lives and planets. We are just a small part of this universe but our brains most complex mechanism on our shoulders can go anywhere and can take us anywhere.