This illustration shows the obliquity of the nine planets. Obliquity is the angle between a planet's equatorial plane and its orbital plane. By International Astronomical Union (IAU) convention, a planet's north pole lies above the ecliptic plane. By this convention, Venus, Uranus, and Pluto have a retrograde rotation, or a rotation that is in the opposite direction from the other planets. The following table lists the obliquity and rotation period of each of the planets.
This image is © copyright 1999 by Calvin J. Hamilton.