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Gravity And Centripetal Force In Our Solar System

Gravity And Centripetal Force In Our Solar System

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About This Lesson

The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system. Eight planets travel in orbits around our nearest star, including our home, the Earth. Many planets, like our own, have moons circling them. There are dwarf planets like Pluto, Ceres, and Eris hidden among the Asteroid Belt and at the very edges of the solar system near the Kuiper Belt, which is home to the most ancient asteroids. Even further beyond that, there is the mysterious Oort Cloud, a collection of icy objects that gives birth to dazzling comets with long tails, vaporized by the heat of the Sun. And last but certainly not least, there are loads of random “space rocks” and meteoroids floating through the solar system, sometimes falling towards Earth as “shooting stars” or crashing into moons or planets and leaving craters.

All of these objects in our solar system are in motion, creating a massive, complex dance around the Sun, which is in motion itself. But what started that movement and what keeps it going?  Why do planets all travel in elliptical orbits around the sun? Why do the planets orbit the Sun at all? And while we’re at it, why are all the planets in our solar system round? There must be a reason!

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