Why do Planets orbit the Sun?

Earth and the other planets orbit the Sun because of gravity. Gravity is a law. Gravity is a fact of science. The law of gravity means that if your pencil or pen falls off your desk, it will land on the floor. It won’t land on the ceiling. That is gravity. And the same law of Gravity applies to our planet Earth.

The Earth is doing two things at the same time. The Earth is spinning like a top and is also on a journey around the Sun. Here are the sums.

•    The Earth spins around once every 24 hours
•    The Earth travels around the Sun every 365 days

So what can you tell from those figures? That’s right. One day lasts for 24 hours and one year for 365 days. But the 24 hours are made up of day and night. And super smart scientists will tell us that sometimes a year lasts for 366 days. That year is called a Leap Year.


This is a part of science we can’t see but can experience. You can look around but never see gravity. It is an invisible force. If you stand on a low wall and step off, you will step on to the ground. Why? Because of gravity.

One day a man called Isaac Newton was sitting under a tree and an apple fell on his head. Some people say that was when humans discovered gravity. Of course gravity has always been with us but it took Newton to explain what it meant.

Gravity is what enables the Earth to travel around the Sun. But because the Earth is curved – it’s not a box shape, this prevents the gravity of the Sun pulling the Earth straight into the Sun.

Gravity Works Everywhere

Just as gravity works on Earth causing the apple to fall to the ground from the tree and the football to land on the football ground after it is kicked in the air, so gravity works for the solar system.

The moon travels around the Earth because of the gravity of the Earth. The Earth travels around the Sun because of the gravity of the Sun.

Funny Ideas

Before Isaac Newton explained how gravity worked, people thought the planets stayed in place because of some invisible string or a giant shield or something.

But once Newton wrote a book about the laws of gravity, we discovered that the Sun has a gravity force which keeps the Earth and all the planets of our solar system in place.


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