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Orbit Definition

An orbit is the path an object follows as it moves around another one. For example, Earth's orbit is its circular path around the sun.

View Lesson on Earth’s Orbit & Rotation
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Earth’s Orbit & Rotation

Fun Facts

  • Other planets in our solar system take different amounts if time to orbit the sun.
  • People used to think that everything in the universe orbited around the Earth.
  • Different stars are visible throughout the year due to Earth's orbit.

Why Do We Need To Know About Orbit

Learning how the Earth moves around the sun helps us understand why we have seasons, why we use calendars, and how to tell time. This knowledge is important not just for scientists but for many jobs like computer programming and studying history. It helps in real life too, like when we make educational tools, plan international meetings, or design calendars that include leap years. Learning about the Earth’s orbit is useful in many areas, including engineering, business, and schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do we have a leap year in our calendar every four years?
Since it takes Earth 365.25 days to orbit the sun, but our normal calendar is 365 days, we add an extra day to our calendar every four years. (4 years x 0.25 day = 1 day added every 4 years.)
What is a geocentric view of the universe? What evidence showed us it is not correct?
A geocentric view of the universe is the idea that everything orbits around the Earth. Since the sun appears to move across the sky, it is easy to understand why humans believed this for a long time. A concept called stellar parallax provided evidence that we orbit the sun.
Why can we only see certain planets at certain times?
Earth and all the other planets in our solar system are both rotating and orbiting the sun. Sometimes planets are on the same side of the sun and sometimes on opposite sides. The view of planets from earth changes all the time.
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