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Although the idea that the planets orbited the Sun had been suggested many times, it was not until the 17th century that this view was supported by evidence from the first telescopic astronomical observations, performed by Galileo Galilei.

At about the same time, by careful analysis of pre-telescopic observation data collected by Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler found the planets' orbits were not circular but elliptical.

The concept has expanded to include worlds not only in the Solar System, but in hundreds of other extrasolar systems.

The ambiguities inherent in defining planets have led to much scientific controversy.

In order of increasing distance from the Sun, they are the four terrestrials, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, then the four giant planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.

Six of the planets are orbited by one or more natural satellites.

Although eight of the planetary bodies discovered before 1950 remain "planets" under the modern definition, some celestial bodies, such as Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta (each an object in the solar asteroid belt), and Pluto (the first trans-Neptunian object discovered), that were once considered planets by the scientific community, are no longer viewed as such.

The geocentric system remained dominant until the Scientific Revolution.These were regarded by many early cultures as divine, or as emissaries of deities.As scientific knowledge advanced, human perception of the planets changed, incorporating a number of disparate objects.By the 1st century BC, during the Hellenistic period, the Greeks had begun to develop their own mathematical schemes for predicting the positions of the planets.These schemes, which were based on geometry rather than the arithmetic of the Babylonians, would eventually eclipse the Babylonians' theories in complexity and comprehensiveness, and account for most of the astronomical movements observed from Earth with the naked eye.

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