Exploring the Universe: Orbiting Objects

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“Exploring the Universe: Orbiting Objects” is a hands-on activity that invites visitors to experiment with different sized and weighted balls on a stretchy fabric gravity well. The activity models gravitational attraction in space. Participants investigate how changing conditions can cause phenomena like stellar wobble and planet formation.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per student

Age Range:
Ages 4 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Gravity well (see link for assembly instructions)
  • 2-pound ball bearing (center weight)
  • Assorted balls (different sizes and weights)
  • Hunting for Planets information sheet
  • Birth of the Solar System information sheet
  • Observing Earth information sheet
  • Activity guide


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Stars and Galaxies
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
    • Solar System
      • The Sun
      • The Moon
      • The Planets
      • Asteroids and Comets
      • Origin of Solar System
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • NISE Network


Funding Source:

  • NASA, NNX16AC67A