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Cartography of the planets

Cartography of the planets

The near exploration of the planets and satellites of the solar system has provided such detailed images that allow the elaboration of maps similar to those with which the Earth's surface is represented. Thus was born the mapping of the planets of the Solar System, which uses the same methods of land mapping.

Planets are represented using different types of "geographical projections." The stereographic projection, used to represent the polar areas of a planet, is obtained by arranging an ideal plane tangent to the planet's Pole and projecting on it the geographical details of the solar area, using the opposite pole as the projection center.

The cylindrical projection of Mercator, used to represent the regions near Ecuador of a planet, is obtained by imagining inserting the planet itself into a paper cylinder, so that its equator coincides with the circumference of the cylinder; use the center of the planet as a projection center; and, finally, unwind the cylinder that will be transformed into a flat paper rectangle, with the reproduction of the entire equatorial area of ​​the planet.

The conical Lambert projection, used to represent the intermediate zones between the poles and the equator, is obtained by inserting the planet into a cone, so that it is tangent to the parallel of the area to be represented, using as a projection center The center of the planet.

Obviously, for all these types of projection, reproduction will be faithful in the areas of tangency and imperfect as one moves away from it.


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