Terra really does orbit Sol in an ellipse. As do the other planets and stuff in this solar system.
Well, if you want to get picky ... no. Elliptical orbits solve the Newtonian two body problem, and hence represent a conceptual advance over eccentric circular orbits, but Kepler's third law may be disovered to be in error by checking against Norton's Sky Atlas with a calculator. This is not to mention perturbations. So even within Newtonian dynamics the ellipses are an idealization.
posted on 10/28/2012 9:45:42 PM PDT
Dude, I'm a cook. Describing Terra's orbit as an ellipse is within order of magnitude, and close enough to hit Mars if you keep your units straight. ;)
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