How do the Sun, Earth, and Moon move?

A boy spins on the Earth

We’re always on the move! Even when you’re standing still, you’re moving! You are moving because the Earth and everything in our solar system is constantly moving.

Our solar system includes the Sun, nine planets and their Moons, comets and asteroids. These objects are sometimes called celestial bodies, and they are constantly moving, too.

At the center of it all is the Sun. It takes the Sun 25 days to spin, or rotate, completely around.

The Earth, which is the third planet from the Sun, takes 24 hours to rotate. This is what causes day and night. As the Earth rotates, it also moves, or revolves, around the Sun.

The Earth’s path around the Sun is called its orbit. It takes the Earth one year, or 365 1/4 days, to completely orbit the Sun.

As the Earth orbits the Sun, the Moon orbits the Earth. The Moon’s orbit lasts 27 1/2 days, but because the Earth keeps moving, it takes the Moon two extra days, 29 1/2, to come back to the same place in our sky.

The greatest picture ever taken of the Moon and the Earth/NASA
The greatest picture ever taken of the Moon and the Earth: Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon, entered lunar orbit on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 1968. That evening, the astronauts-Commander Frank Borman, Command Module Pilot Jim Lovell, and Lunar Module Pilot William Anders-held a live broadcast from lunar orbit, in which they showed pictures of the Earth and moon as seen from their spacecraft. Said Lovell, “The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth.” They ended the broadcast with the crew taking turns reading from the book of Genesis. Image Credit: NASA

What is an eclipse?


Great American Total Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017. ©Mark D Phillips (See More)