​Lab 5 – Orbital motion


Lab 5 – Orbital motion

Setup directions

1. Load https://phet.colorado.edu/sims/my-solar-system/my-solar-system_en.html. You may need to

grant your browser permission to run flash player. If you use Google Chrome, this can be accessed

by clicking on the lock symbol by the URL address.

2. This is meant to be an easy-going lab where you qualitatively explore each of the presets and get a

better understanding of orbital motion.

For each preset, write 2-3 sentences explaining your observations:

1. Sun and planet

2. Sun, planet, moon.

3. Sun, planet, comet.

4. Binary star, planet.

5. Four star ballet. The orbit may seem stable, but see what happens if you make any tiny changes in

the initial conditions (such as changing one of the position coordinates from 100 to 101).

6. Slingshot. This has been used in many spaceflights. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravity_assist

7. Double slingshot.

8. Hyperbolics.

9. Ellipses.

10. Double double.

Additional questions

1. What is the function of the system centered checkbox?

2. Which presets or observations did you find most interesting?

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