Kepler's Law's Reading Questions

Click here for the reading that goes with these questions.

Either print this page or answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper. You may need to recreate a picture or two.

1 In What does the term "satellite" refer to?
2 What does the term "body" refer to when discussing orbits?
3 What does Kepler's 1st Law say?
4 What does Kepler's 2nd Law say?
5 What does Kepler's 3rd Law say?
Physicists love Kepler's laws so much, they gave them names other than "One, Two, and Three." What are the other names?
Below is the overhead view of three different orbits. Put an "X" at the likely location or locations of the body being orbited.
  Orbits form overhead
Write the word "Fastest" where the orbiting planet is traveling the fastest. Write word "Slowest" at the location where the planet is traveling the slowest.
9 You have been hired as a technical consultant on a low budget film for the SyFy channel. Here is the first video clip you get to look at. According to Kepler's 3 Laws of planetary motion, what's wrong with the animation shown below of a planet orbiting a star in space?

This video can be found on YouTube at

Upon careful observation of asteroids passing near the Earth, astrophysicists have determined that many of these small asteroids have their own orbiting moons. Asteroid "AlbemarleHS2013" was spotted with two moons. "Moon 1" was orbiting at a radius of 2500 m from the asteroid's center. Moon 1 was orbiting with a period of motion of 27 minutes. "Moon 2" was orbiting at a with a period 42 minutes. How far is "Moon 2" from the asteroid's center?.
  Asteroid with moons
Below is a picture of the orbit of "Moon 2" as from overhead. You can see that, unlike "Moon 1," Moon 2's orbit is elliptical and not circular. Draw a line on the picture showing where the measurement in question 9 occurs.
  elliptical orbit


by Tony Wayne ...(If you are a teacher, please feel free to use these resources in your teaching.)