The barycenter is the center of mass of the two bodies. If the bodies had a connecting rod between them, the center of mass would be where the bodies could be balanced.
The animation represents two celestial bodies of different masses. The barycenter between these bodies is marked with a Red Plus sign (+) . The center of each of the bodies traces out a path around the barycenter.
Pluto and its moon, Charon revolve around their barycenter in like manner as the animation as well as your model.
This animated diagram was created by Zghatt and posted on wikipedia.
How can the barycenter of celestial bodies with different masses be modeled?
1. Place different size pieces of clay on each end of a 36″ dowel rod. (Any thin rod will work-length is not critical, but around 36 ” is easier to balance.)
2. Suspend the Rod-Clay System using a string (or narrow ribbon). Move the string until the system balances (this means it hangs horizontally–parallel to the floor).
Note: If possible, tie the free end of the string to a support. The Rod-Clay System should be able to swing freely as well as to rotate around the string.
3. Once the system is balanced on the string, push one end so that it spins around the supporting string.
What to Expect:
If the clay balls are of slightly different masses, the barycenter is closer to the larger mass. The system will rotate around the supporting string.
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