Barycentric balls - orbits and the centre of mass | Teach with space P07

Languages: English, Czech

Subjects: Physics, mathematics, astronomy

Whenever two or more objects are gravitationally bound, they will orbit around a common centre of mass, or barycentre, rather than one object remaining stationary and the other object(s) orbiting around it. The idea of the centre of mass is a key physics and mechanics topic and this simple demonstration provides a powerful visualisation of the principle of the barycentre. Focussing on a two body system, the demonstration illustrates the differences between a system of two equal mass objects orbiting each other, and a system in which one body is much more massive than the other.

Format: Classroom activity and student worksheet
Age range: 14 – 18 years old (secondary, middle and upper)

Download Classroom activity and student worksheet.
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Barycentric balls - classroom demonstration video, VP07a
Barycentric balls in space - classroom demonstration video, VP07b
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