The universe: What is an orbit?

Did You Know: Space – What is an orbit?

An orbit is a path that one object in space takes around another. In the solar system, the Earth and all the other planets orbit around the sun.

Also, many planets, including the Earth, have moons that orbit around them.

What keeps the moon in orbit?

The moon stays in orbit around the Earth because of the force of gravity. The Earth’s gravity pulls the moon toward the Earth, stopping it from escaping into space. Without gravity, the universe would not exist -it is the force that made pieces of rock, dust, and ice clump together to form planets, moons, and stars. It also keeps all the planets in orbit around the sun.

What else orbits the Earth?


Lots of human-made satellites orbit around the Earth. This includes the International Space Station where astronauts live and work.

Eye in space

The Hubble Space Telescope orbits around the Earth. It can look far into space and takes amazing pictures of distant stars and galaxies.

Moon’s orbit

The moon travels around the Earth in a counterclockwise direction.

It takes the moon 27 days 7 hours and 43 minutes to make one orbit.