Drawings by Italian students from Alba Adriatica
This activity was organised remotely via Zoom thanks to Donatella Marconi who contacted me from a school called Istituto Comprensivo Enrico Fermi (Scuola Secondaria di primo grado) in Alba Adriatica (provincia di Teramo, Italy). One week before the scheduled presentation (“The mysteries of planet formation: Planets and binary stars”), the students of the class 3E were asked to think about planets in binaries and draw their possible orbits.
These are all the instructions they received:
“Planets exist in systems with two stars. Imagine and draw the orbits they could have.”
With their permission, I share below some of the best drawings:
Abel Osagie, 3º, scuola di Alba Adriatica, 19/01/2022
Matteo Pasqualini, 3º, scuola di Alba Adriatica, 19/01/2022
Pietro Tino, 3º, scuola di Alba Adriatica, 19/01/2022
I was very impressed by their spectacular and accurate artwork. This was a great opportunity to talk about the physics behind the orbits. Upon inspection of the drawings, several questions arose:
- Is it common to have misaligned orbits around binary stars?
- Why are some orbits eccentric? Are these configurations stable?
- What is the difference between circumstellar and circumbinary planets?
- Can planets share the same orbit (aka Trojan planets)?
- Are these planetary systems similar to the Solar System?
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