In a highly elliptical orbit, where is the Sun located?

Question:

In a highly elliptical orbit, where is the Sun located?

Kepler's Laws


In the early 17th century, based on observations made by Tycho Brahe, Johannes Kepler postulated the first three laws of planetary motion. Today these laws are known as Kepler's laws:


First law

All the planets move around the Sun describing elliptical orbits. The Sun is in one of the foci of the ellipse.

Second Law

The radio vector that describes the position of a planet along its orbit with respect to the Sun covers equal areas in equal times.

Third Law

For any planet, the square of its orbital period is directly proportional to the cube of the length of the semi-major axis of its elliptical orbit.


Answer and Explanation:


The answer to this question was postulated and demonstrated by Johannes Kepler in 1609 in his first law. The closed orbits described by any celestial body around another much more massive celestial body are ellipses. No matter the eccentricity of the orbit, the body with the largest mass is located in one of the foci of the ellipse. This fact was actually discovered by Nicolás Copernico around 60 years earlier, although he did not know how to correctly interpret the results of his observations.


Learn more about this topic:

Loading...
Kepler's Three Laws of Planetary Motion

from Basics of Astronomy

Chapter 22 / Lesson 12
47K

Related to this Question

Explore our homework questions and answers library