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Planets, asteroids, and comets don’t travel around the sun in perfect circles. Their orbits are stretched out into a shape called an ellipse. The sun, rather sitting right in the center of the shape formed by the satellite’s path, sits a bit off center at a point called the focus. The orbit’s eccentricity is a way of measuring how much the orbit deviates from a perfect circle, and is measured using a number between zero and one. An eccentricity of zero means the orbit is a circle. The closer the eccentricity is to one, the more stretched out the orbit is.
In this project, you will explore different orbit shapes and make models of the planets’ orbits.
Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.