CALCULATING ECCENTRICITY Johannes Kepler developed three laws to explain the planetary motion. Of these laws, Kepler developed the Law of Ellipses which states that each planet orbits in an elliptical shape. The degree of this ellipse is determined by the orbits' eccentricity, or the elongation of the elliptical orbit. To calculate eccentricity, scientists use the following equation:

PERIHELION (p)

APHELION (a)

(point in orbit closest to Sun)

(point in orbit farthest from Sun)

Mercury

0.31 AU

0.47 AU

Venus

0.72 AU

0.73 AU

Earth

0.98 AU

1.02 AU

Mars

1.38 AU

1.67 AU

Jupiter

4.95 AU

5.45 AU

Saturn

9.02 AU

10.0 AU

Uranus

18.3 AU

20.1 AU

Neptune

30.0 AU

30.3 AU

Pluto

29.7 AU

49.9 AU

PLANET NAME

ECCENTRICITY (e)

CORRESPONDING QUESTIONS 1. Which of the planets is the most eccentric (closest to 1)?

2. Which two planets have the most similar eccentricity?

3. How could the eccentricity of a planet affect the amount of Sun received?

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Solar System Planetary Orbits - Worksheet.pdf

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