Tagged Questions

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Could two identical stars revolve around each other in a common orbit if we only account for Newtonian physics?

Both a parent star and its planet revolve around the center of mass of the system, the reason we see stellar wobble. But if we take this to be true, which it is, there can be a configuration in which ...
86 views

Where can I find the list of the planetary motion equations?

The planetary motion equations are written in the ellipse equation format, i.e. $x^2/a + y^2/b = 1$. Can anyone please tell me where I can find the list of all the planetary motion equations, ...
67 views

Is sun revolving around certain mass in space with reference to some other galaxy?

Every planet and satellite revolves around their mother planet and about their own axis as we know. So they are compacted as a system. Then why not sun?
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How did Kepler arrive at his laws?

How did Kepler arrive at his laws? If one already knows the distances to the planets (and the eccentricity of the orbits etc.) it is understandable how one might proceed to establish the second and ...
775 views

If the moon was twice as big but twice as far away, would there be any difference?

I'm just going to go ahead and steal this question question directly of Reddit since I have more trust in the answers I get on this site. So, if the moon was twice as big but also twice as far way, ...
151 views

Stable and Unstable Orbital Resonance

I was wondering if anyone can show me why some orbital resonances are unstable. For example in the asteroid belt there is a depleted distribution at 3:1 resonance with jupiter. What is the cause of ...
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Calculus used by Gauss to find Ceres' position?

With very little data, the great mathematician Gauss was able to predict the exact location of where to find the asteroid Ceres. If possible I would like a reconstruction of his work, from the data ...
153 views

Can the axis of rotation of a celestial body point in any arbitrary direction?

I am developing a small computer program that involves moderately simple simulation of elliptical Kepler orbits for fictional, generated star systems. I'm doing this without much prior knowledge of ...
226 views

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way?

How can one get the eccentricity of the orbit of the Sun around center of the Milky Way? Can it be measured?
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What would happen if the moon was in perpetual opposition of the sun [closed]

What would happen if an artificial force made the moon to stay at a perpetual opposition from the sun? Assume that the artificial force necessary is possible, and capable of making the moon stay at ...
277 views

Planet in which satellite(moon) and star(sun) appear together once a year

With a hypothetical system, where the moon would be always on the opposite side of the planet than the sun, in a way that the moon would only be visible at night on the planet. I don't know if this ...
108 views

How is celestial navigation done on a low-level?

When we send a probe off to Jupiter or Saturn, or even Earth orbit, how are the rocket firings timed and coordinated? For instance, when I want to drive to another city I pull onto the highway and ...
442 views

Are galactic stars spiraling inwards?

Are the stars in our galaxy spiraling inwards towards the center, or are they in a permanent orbit? And if we are heading towards the center then what is the rate of this process? I started ...
652 views

When is the right ascension of the mean sun 0?

I understand that the right ascension of the mean sun changes (at least over a specified period) by a constant rate, but where is it zero? I had naively assumed that it would be zero at the most ...
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The validity of the Longitude of Perihelion

As I understand it from Astronomical Algorithms, by Jean Meeus, the Longitude of Perihelion is a very common numeric value associated with planets, even used as one of the planetary orbital elements. ...
446 views

What accounts for the discrepancies in my calculations of year lengths?

A common exercise in many introductory astronomy texts is to use the lengths of various kinds days to calculate the approximate length of the corresponding year. For example, ratio $k$ of the length ...
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Does the length of the sidereal day vary systematically?

I'm confused about some properties of the sidereal day, in particular whether its duration varies systematically over the course of the year.1 It seems to me that that must be the case, but the ...
338 views

Is there a simple, accurate formula for calculating transit times from rise and set times?

I have access to "rise" and "set" times for astronomical objects, and want to determine the corresponding times of culmination. Is there a reliable and accurate way to do this? It isn't clear to me ...
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What are “cycles of anomaly” and “cycles of longitude”?

In several early (pre-1600) astronomical texts I read about "cycles of anomaly" and "cycles of longitude", but it us unclear to me what these terms mean. They were clearly familiar to authors at the ...
132 views

What is the angular distance between Ptolemaic perigees of Mercury?

In his excellent treatment of the history of the science of astronomical distances and sizes, Albert van Helden says (p.29) that The complicated [Ptolemaic] model of Mercury has the curious ...
620 views

How did Copernicus establish the relative distance to the superior planets?

I understand that the relative distances to the planets had been calculated using various methods since ancient times, and, in particular, that the assumptions of the Copernican model of the Solar ...
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Did Aristarchus take the radius of the Earth into account in calculating the distance to the Moon?

My text says that Aristarchus (310 BC â€“ ~230 BC) measured the "angle subtended by the Earth-Moon distance at the Sun" ($\theta$ in the figure below) to establish the relative Earth-Moon and Earth-Sun ...
441 views

When and how were relative distances to the planets first measured?

I understand that the absolute distance to a planet can be measured using earth-baseline (e.g., diurnal) parallax, and that the first reasonably accurate such measurement was made for Mars by Cassini ...
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Was Jupiter's mass “guessed at” by Kepler or Galileo?

Following Kepler's publication of his 3rd law of planetary motion1, $$p^2 / r^3 = 1$$ in 1619, it would have been possible to use telescopic observations to arrive at an estimate of the orbital ...
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What happened to Apollo's Saturn-third-stage rockets?

I read recently the original Apollo 11 press release and it mentions that the Saturn V's third stage (used for Trans-Lunar Injection) was deployed into a solar orbit of some kind: (Source: Press ...
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Will Pluto be in the ecliptic plane when New Horizons passes by? Was this deliberate?

From the illustrations at the New Horizons website it seems that Pluto may be in or near the ecliptic plane when New Horizons passes by. Is this intentional? Of course Pluto was to move to that ...
111 views

Cannon on spacecraft: hitting yourself

Some Soviet space stations reportedly had anti-aircraft cannons installed. Could such a cannon hit the firing space station accidentally on a subsequent orbit? The muzzle velocity of the cannon is ...
69 views

Sunrise time across the globe?

This question is more astronomy related, I started thinking when I heard from one of my friends living in Jiamusi, that Sun rise at 02:00 and sets at 14:00, I know that this place is more near to ...
118 views

What's the amount of deviation of cellestial orbits from perfect ellipses

It's well known that the planets don't orbit the sun in perfect circles and the characteristics of the elliptical orbits which serve as better approximations to their motion have been calculated ...
231 views

How to find orbital radius of star in a binary system using redshift and orbital period data? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: About binary stars and calculating velocity, period and radius of their orbit I am given the non-redshifted wavelength of the EM radiation from one of the stars, the ...
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On constancy of cometary orbits

how are the comets able to keep to a nearly fixed orbital period, though they lose a certain amount of mass during their perihelion?
521 views

What's the reason for the seasons?

In the diagram, it shows that the fundamental reason for different seasons is when the northern hemisphere is titled towards the sun there's summer in northern hemisphere and winter in southern ...
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Rocket needed to send 100 gram of mass to outer space? [closed]

What kind of rocket would be needed to send 100 gr of mass to outer space? The mass can be moulded in any shape, but it would need not raise above 40 °C of temperature during the ...
627 views

About binary stars and calculating velocity, period and radius of their orbit

I saw somewhere about being able to measure the velocity, period and radius of a binary star orbit by looking at red shift and blue shift. I understand it but can someone give me an example of ...
127 views

How to find the orbit of a moving point object given 3 past passing positions?

How do I find the orbit of a moving point object given 3 past passing positions and the tangents at these passing positions, and given that the orbit is known to be an ellipse?
127 views

How long until “final totality”? [closed]

It is given that the angular size of the Sun as viewed from Earth is $0.533^\circ$, the distance of the Moon from Earth at perigee is $3.633\times 10^5$ km, and the mean radius of the Moon is $1737.1$ ...
255 views

Why don't stars in globular clusters all orbit in the same plane?

Globular clusters like Omega Centauri certainly don't seem to be very coplanar at all. In other words, why doesn't the explanation at Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same ...
285 views

“Reverse engineering” of a horoscope?

I'll start with a disclaimer -- this is not a question about astrology itself, I'm neither trying to refute nor to defend astrology. I'm interested in purely technical things, which are mostly ...
454 views

Are planetary orbits measured from the Sun's surface or centre?

I would imagine planetary orbits are measured from the Sun's centre and not its surface. Is that true? I can't find anywhere that actually states this.
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Computing period, semi-major axis of binary

I have mass, $g$, and luminosity of each of the stars in a binary system, extracted from a model. I calculated the individual radii from $g$ and the mass. I am trying to compute $a$, but I seem to be ...
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How does the view of night sky change as the Sun orbits around the Milky Way?

I know that the Sun and hence the Solar System orbits around the galactic center of the Milky Way. Does this rotation cause any visible change in the night sky? I know that human life span is ...
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What is the irregularity in Uranus' orbit that is caused by Neptune?

I carefully read the Wikipedia article Discovery of Neptune, and I don't get what the irregularity of Uranus orbit was that lead to the discovery of Neptune. Years ago, I watched some educational film ...
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Do stars of higher metallicity have more planets in highly-inclined Pluto-like orbits?

In an answer to a previous question of mine, one that asked about the planar orbits of inner planets, I was told the following (emphasis mine): On the subject of different solar systems, I would ...
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What tools do I need to track an orbit of a mystery object?

A while back I was observing Uranus with my 6" dob and a moving object tracked across my field of view. I was at about 90x at the time, and the object was pretty bright but slow moving. I dropped down ...
335 views

Are there planetary systems where the planes of orbits vary greatly?

Inspired by this question, are there any known planetary systems with largely varying planes of orbit? For example a system where two planets have perpendicular planes?
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Find true anomaly given period, eccentricity and time

Is it possible to find the true anomaly of an object in a Kepler orbit given the orbital period of the object, the orbital eccentricity and the time? Assuming a two body system and the mass of the ...