|What path does the Moon's orbit travel around the
|Question Date: 2003-04-29|
The moon orbits the earth in a nearly circular
pattern every 27.3 days. The moon's orbit is
tilted approximately 5 degrees off of the path of
the plane of the ecliptic (or the path that the
sun appears to trace across the sky), and orbits
at a distance of almost 240,000 miles from the earth.
In fact, the moon orbits the Earth in an
ellipse.In fact, any two objects of any mass orbit
each other in an ellipse. It turns out that these
ellipses are almost circles - but not quite
(especially the orbit of Pluto which is so
elliptical that some times it is closer to the sun
than Neptune). There's a good reason why all
these orbits are so circular: it has to do with
how the solar system was formed in the first place.
The Moon travels an almost circular orbit around
the Earth at a mean distance of 384,400
kilometers. The Moon rotates around the Earth in
the same direction that the Earth rotates around
the Sun. In addition, the Earth rotates about its
axis in the same direction as well!
The moon moves around the Earth in an almost
perfectly circular path. The orbit of the moon is
inclined about 5 degrees retaliative to the
ecliptic, which is the plane defined by the orbit
of the earth about the Sun.
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