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A Model of Gravity in Our Solar System *

Difficulty
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

Why do the planets orbit the sun without flying off into space? Do they move in perfect circles or do their orbits take a different shape? And how could you possibly do a science project about any of this—you can't do an experiment with the planets! However, you can build a model of our solar system that demonstrates the concept of gravity, using balls of different sizes to represent the sun and planets. Watch this video for an excellent introduction to the model:

Think about how you could turn this into a science project. How do the masses of the balls affect their behavior? What about their initial velocity and trajectory relative to the "sun"? If you cannot get your hands on a giant sheet of stretchy fabric, try building a smaller model using a stretchy t-shirt.

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Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies

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General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Finio, Ben. "A Model of Gravity in Our Solar System." Science Buddies, 25 Oct. 2018, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Astro_p042/astronomy/model-gravity-solar-system. Accessed 14 Nov. 2018.

APA Style

Finio, B. (2018, October 25). A Model of Gravity in Our Solar System. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Astro_p042/astronomy/model-gravity-solar-system


Last edit date: 2018-10-25

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