What are Years... and the Galactic Supermassive Black Hole!

Everything is relative ... including the length of a year! Physics students explore time on a galactic scale in an animated video. The resource focuses on the tropical year upon which our calendar is based, galactic years, and the length of a year on different planets in our solar system. Included is a discussion of how the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way affects the length of a year on the bodies around it.

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Instructional Ideas

  • Have the class create a map of our solar system and label each planet with its year length; start a discussion about the factors that affect the length of a year, such as distance from the sun and orbital path
  • Assign group research projects to dig into the supermassive black hole to deepen their understanding
Classroom Considerations

  • Basic knowledge of our solar system and planetary orbits is helpful when viewing the resource
Pros

  • Animated sequences give pupils visual perspective of the subject matter
  • The content provides excellent descriptions to help learners understand the differences between rotation and orbiting with respect to heavenly bodies
Cons

  • None