Have we explored under our solar system? Over?

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Short version: yes, but the amount of stuff outside the plane of the solar system that’s inside the solar system is quite limited. (some asteroids and comets) Longer version: ground-based surveys that focus on solar-system objects usually stay near the ecliptic because there’s less stuff to find away from it. Meanwhile, focused ones looking for more distant stuff (exoplanets, extragalactic surveys like the Hubble Deep Field, etc) explicitly aim away from the ecliptic to minimize interference from planets, asteroids, zodiacal light, etc. All-sky surveys are, well, all-sky and look everywhere. For spacecraft, the 2 Voyagers (and to a lesser degree Pioneer 11) ended up somewhat outside the plane of the solar system from their final flybys. Ulysses was put into a highly inclined orbit from a Jupiter flyby, though that was more about studying the Sun’s polar regions. Dawn at one time was considered for doing a flyby of 2 Pallas (which is in a somewhat inclined orbit), though equipment failures meant that this was never done.


I don’t understand why I’m getting downvoted, it’s only a question 🙁 I appreciate everyone’s answers, I was genuinely curious


Voyager 1 and 2 left the solar system at angles above and below the planetary plane. A probe called Ulysses launched by NASA and the ESA went outside the plane to view the sun’s north and south poles. But the purpose of these wasn’t to explore as in look for new planets or anything. We would be able to see such things from Earth. We can see anything outside of the planetary plane using telescopes just as we can see planets. It’s pretty much nothing until you get to the stars. The only objects we see ouside of the plane are comets coming in from very distant orbits.


The solar system plane is at about 60 degrees angle relative to the galactic plane, so “below” and “above” it you will find most of the Milky Way.


Other people have given you examples. Now, I’m going to cover scale. The solar system’s plane out to the Kuiper Cliff (around 37 AU) is, for sake of brevity, 70 AU edge to edge. There’s some rubbish further out, but mostly tiny chunks of ice floating around at random inclinations. They’re not interesting. This isn’t remotely far enough to get to any nearby stars. The nearest, Proxima, is 270,000 AU distant. It’s therefore best to imagine the solar system as a bunch of tiny objects very, very close to the central star, if you’re thinking of other stars. All systems are like this, so long as you’re not considering globular clusters or open clusters. So, remember when we discussed those tiny chunks of ice at random inclinations and how they’re not interesting? Well, it turns out that sending probes out of the plane of the solar system, which is very expensive to do, into a bunch of nothing with boring lumps of ice floating around is not at the top of anyone’s agenda. If it was, it wouldn’t be funded. There’s nothing interesting in the solar system out of its plane.