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Database Provider


Khan Academy


11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Videos, 7 minutes, 7 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


Apsidal Precession and Milankovitch Cycles

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  • This video explores Milankovich Cycles, the nature of apsidal precession, and how Earth's orbital movements are connected to long-term changes in climate.
  • Students will learn about our calendar year, the wobble in Earth's axis, and changes in the Earth's orbit.
Teaching Tips


  • Under the video you'll find its transcript, and there is additional content linked on the left side.
  • If students log into Khan Academy, they can submit any questions or comments they have about the video.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students need to understand the following terms: obliquity, axis, tilt, solstice, perihelion, and orbital eccentricity.
  • Students need to recognize that this video discusses natural climate changes over the course of tens of thousands of years.


  • The video pairs well with this NASA article about Milankovitch cycles.
  • Teachers could pause the video at certain moments in order to reinforce key concepts.
  • This video could supplement a lesson on the exact mechanics of Milankovitch cycles and why these cycles cannot explain Earth's current warming.
  • Teachers could create a formative assessment based on the main concepts of this video.
Scientist Notes
This resource video covers another aspect of Earth's orbital changes called apsidal precession, which is the change in the location of perihelion - the place in Earth's orbit where it is closest to the Sun. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science
    • ESS1: Earth's Place in the Universe
      • HS.ESS1.4 Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS.ESS2.2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
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