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Hands On Astronomy: Orbits are Ellipses

Hands On Astronomy: Orbits are Ellipses from Standard Deviants Accelerate

There is a big big universe out there and lots to discover in the world of Astronomy! Thanks to Johannes Kepler we know that planets orbit around the sun in an elliptical pattern. In the early 1600s he proposed three laws of planetary motion.

Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion can be described as follows:

  • The Law of Ellipses – The path of the planets about the sun is elliptical in shape, with the center of the sun being located at one focus.
  • The Law of Equal Areas – An imaginary line drawn from the center of the sun to the center of the planet will sweep out equal areas in equal intervals of time.
  • The Law of Harmonies – The ratio of the squares of the periods of any two planets is equal to the ratio of the cubes of their average distances from the sun.

Hands-On Astronomy: Orbits are Ellipses

Learn how to draw an elliptical orbit around the sun with the following video.

What you will need:

  • paper
  • 2 thumb tacks
  • string
  • pencil

To learn more about Astronomy, check out Astronomy Part 1. There you will meet some prominent ancient astronomers and discuss their theories of how the solar system works…or how they thought it worked! Then take a look at Kepler’s Laws, gravity, properties of light, the earth, the moon, and much more!

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