|Solar System Applet
IMPORTANT: This is a new window. To return to where you were please close this window.
This applet allows you to watch a simulated solar system in motion and lets you control certain factors.
How Do I Use It?
To run this simulation press the "start" button. You can pause the simulation at any time by pressing the "stop" button. Press start again to unpause it or press the "reset" button to make the input area reappear.
The input area, which is inside the blue box, allows you to control the masses, starting locations and initial velocities of all five planets as well as the mass of the sun. Use the pop-up menu at the top of the input area to select one of the planets then type in the settings you want for each of the listed factors. After entering this data always remember to press the "OK" button at the bottom of the input area. This will set what you have put in. You may also press the "default" button to return a planet to its original settings.
Things to Try
Keep all five planets in orbit as long as possible
Increase the masses of all the planets to 500. Now it should be easy to see that the planets are affected by each other as well as by the sun. Now change the mass of one planet to 5000, what happens?
When a planet crashes into the sun, its mass becomes a part of the sun's; what happens after that?
Add another zero to the sun's mass. What happens to the planets now when you run the simulation? Is there still a way to keep the planets in orbit?