## Interactive Planetary Orbits |

Please go to the following page and bookmark it.

http://www.edtechbybowman.net/PhysAstroSims/orbits/

**Directions**

- Begin by displaying the orbit for the default object, the Near Earth Asteroid, Geographos, discovered in 1951. Its orbit has a semi-major axis of 1.245 AU and a 0.3356 eccentricity. Simply press the "Plot Orbit" button (without changing any values) to view this orbit.
- After looking at the orbit of Geographos, try plotting the orbit of another object such as Mars (semi-major axis = 1.523 AU, eccentricity = 0.093) or just have some fun trying your own values.
- For a more directed examination of Kepler's Laws and planetary orbits, follow the activities outlined in the "Planetary Orbit Exercise" and "Kepler's Laws Calculator" (accessible from the orbit main page).

**Hints**

*Check the scaling before carrying out quantitative measurements.*On some printers what is seen on the computer screen is not exactly what one sees in a printed sheet. Measure the horizontal diameter of the printed dotted circle and compare it to the vertical diameter. Make appropriate adjustments to the scaling factors, if necessary.*Use the appropriate buttons. Do not press the "Enter" key.*The "Enter" key will not signal to the web page to begin the calculations.*Have patience.*A new browser window will open to display a plot of the specified orbit. Due to the large number of calculations performed by the underlying javascript code, a given orbit may take several seconds to be displayed.*Return to the**orbit main page**to learn more about planetary orbits.*Use the "Planetary Orbit Exercise" and the other links found on this page to learn more.

**Orbital Data Form**

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*Created and maintained by: **Richard L. Bowman**
(1997-2010; last updated: 1-Mar10) *