In order to understand the orbits of planets, comets and other celestial bodies, it is necessary to examine the principles of how gravity, and the velocity of an object, interact to produce an orbit. It is a common misconception among students that planetary orbits are circular. This practical activity gives a space setting to speed-time graphs. It shows how the speed of objects in elliptical orbits change as they orbit the Sun. An extension activity, looking at the geometry of ellipses and their relation to physical parameters in the Solar System, is included.

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