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Mars's Orbit - Windows to the Universe

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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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF