The shape of Earth's orbit is an ellipse, which resembles a stretched circle. Earth's orbit lies on the plane of the ecliptic, an imaginary plane in which the sun and the planets move. Earth revolves around the sun in a period of 365 days.Know More
Earth orbits the sun partly because of its own motion and partly because of the sun's gravity. The formation of the solar system was so forceful it shot Earth out on a path that it would still be traveling on if not for the gravity of the sun. The sun's gravity acts like a giant string and keeps Earth on its elliptical orbit.
Earth does not always orbit the sun at the same distance. Perihelion is the spot where Earth is closest to the sun; aphelion is the place where Earth is farthest from the sun. At aphelion, Earth is approximately 156 million kilometers away; at perihelion, Earth is about 146 million kilometers away from the sun.Learn more about Planets
According to NASA, Jupiter has 50 officially recognized moons and 17 provisional moons, all of which are held in orbit around the gas giant by its immense gravity. The four largest of these moons are known as Galilean satellites, and the innermost three of them have fallen into a peculiar orbital resonance with each other.Full Answer >
Perturbations in the orbit of the planets Neptune and Uranus point to the existence of Planet X in the region of the proto-planet Pluto. Planet X is beyond Uranus and Neptune and likely resides within part of the sky that hosts the constellations Scorpius or Taurus.Full Answer >
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union defined a planet as a body that is in orbit around the sun, has enough mass to establish a round shape, and has cleared other debris from the neighborhood of its orbit. This ruling famously resulted in the demotion of Pluto to dwarf planet status, since Pluto did not have the gravitational influence to clear other bodies from its orbital path.Full Answer >
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union changed Pluto's classification from a planet to a dwarf planet because the planet has not cleared its orbit of other objects. When a planet clears its orbit, all other objects on the orbital path are either drawn into the planet's gravitational pull or flung away from it and out of the orbit.Full Answer >