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Become a nitrogen atom in the nitrogen cycle in our Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit/Game. See all our games, activity kits and classroom activities.

The Orbit of Mars

This animation shows how Earth and Mars move around the Sun in their orbits.

Click the "Play Fast" button in the lower left corner to make the planets move. For every second that passes, the planets will move as far as they go in one week.

(Note: If you cannot see the animation below, or it is not working properly, you may need to download the latest Flash player.)

The other buttons make the planets move faster or slower, move backwards, or stop. The "pretend" date is shown above the buttons.

The circle in the upper left corner shows how big Mars looks through a telescope from Earth. The text under the telescope view shows how far apart Earth and Mars are.

The red dot is Mars. Earth is blue, and the Sun is yellow. This animation shows where the planets really are. However, the sizes of the planets are much too big in this view than they really should be. If we showed the planets at their "real" sizes, they would be very tiny dots.

Last modified February 18, 2004 by Randy Russell.

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Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA