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How does gravity affect the planets path around the sun?
- Herbert Ceasar, III (age 10)
Golightly Educational Center, Detroit, Michigan, USA
what makes the planets move
around the sun. The planets are held near the sun by the sun's gravity.
Without it, they would just go flying off into space. The reason that
they stay in an orbit (instead of just falling into the sun) is that
they move on their own in a direction that would take them further away
from the sun. The sun's gravity pulls them back towards it.
Here is a picture that may make this make more sense:
(from The Physics Classroom
this picture, the arrow labeled 'v' is the direction that the planet
would move on its own. The arrow labeled 'a' is the direction that the
sun pulls on it. (The sun is not drawn but is in the middle of the
(republished on 07/19/06)
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