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The Kepler System model simulates Kepler's final theory of planetary motion. In this theory the planets orbit in ellipses with Sun at one focus (Kepler's First law). These elliptical orbits are not necessarily all in the same plane. A line from Sun to the planet sweeps out equal areas in equal times (Kepler's Second law). The square a planet's period is directly proportional to the cube of the semimajor axis of its elliptical orbit (Kepler's Third law). The simulation shows Earth's orbit around Sun, as well as the orbit of one other planet. The user can choose to show one of the five visible planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or Saturn), or a fictitious planet. The top window shows the orbits of the planets around Sun. The view can be changed by clicking and dragging in the window and a zoom slider is provided to zoom in or out. The bottom window shows the view of Sun and planet against the background stars as seen from Earth.
The Kepler System model was created using the Easy Java Simulations (EJS) modeling tool. It is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive. Double clicking the ejs_astronomy_KeplerSystem.jar file will run the program if Java is installed. EJS is a part of the Open Source Physics Project and is designed to make it easier to access, modify, and generate computer models.
Last Modified August 20, 2013
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