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Kepler's laws HTML5

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Summary

Kepler (1571 - 1630) announced his three famous laws of planetary motion in 1609:

  • Each planet or comet moves in an elliptical orbit, with the sun at one focus of the ellipse.
  • A line from the sun to a given planet sweeps out equal areas in equal time.
  • The periods of the planets are proportional to the 3/2 power of the major axis length of their orbits.

This animation illustrates the first two laws.

Click on  to stop the animation.

Learning goals

  • To illustrate Kepler's laws.

Pedagogical scenario inspired by the 2014 Rosetta Mission downloadable here

Keywords

Learn more

The German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630) formulated the laws that govern the movement of two bodies subject only to their own mutual attraction. He arrived at these laws empirically,…

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