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Issue determing orbital elements after a velocity change

I'm new to orbital mechanics, so I'm creating a simulation in unity to learn more about them. Right now I can produce an orbit with a set of predetermined orbital elements. If you have the unity web ...
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2answers
54 views

How does one calculate the full perihelion shift of Mercury, including perturbations from other planets?

I'm talking about the full calculation, including perturbations from other planets. I've seen the general relativistic correction done a half dozen times before, but I can't say that I've seen the ...
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3answers
45 views

Mars and Jupiter colliding [duplicate]

I was going to post a comment on my own theory about Mars and Jupiter colliding, but I just read the rules and it breaks it...badly. I was looking for informal peer review. So my question is, has ...
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0answers
70 views

I am writing a gravity sandbox program but the energy is not constant [on hold]

If I set a planet in orbit around another (larger) planet, the mean radius between the planets keep increasing (seen in picture), shouldn't it be the same all the time? Also, the energy in the system ...
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2answers
102 views

Extended object passing near an event horizon

Suppose a physically realistic object of nontrivial size (such as a star) passes by a black hole. The center-of-mass trajectory for the object is hyperbolic and (therefore) completely outside the ...
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1answer
83 views

Solving the Kepler problem

I'm trying to solve the Kepler problem using the Lagrangian, $$L = \frac{1}{2} m (\dot{r}^2 + r^2 \dot{\phi}^2) - U(r) $$ which after quite a bit of fiddling with, by noting that the angular ...
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2answers
62 views

Orbital mechanics problem

Here is a problem from the 2009 $F=ma$ contest on orbital mechanics: Two stars, one of mass $M$, the other of mass $3M$, orbit their common center of mass. When the stars are collinear with the ...
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1answer
55 views

Can the epicycles of the geocentric model of the solar system be dismissed due to the laws of physics?

With enough epicycles, the motions of the planets can be accounted for in a geocentric model, but do the laws of gravity make such motions impossible? Did Newton's laws not only provide a simpler ...
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0answers
65 views

Reduced Three-body problem

I know that three-body problem in celestial mechanics can't be solved analytically in general. But suppose that the 3rd body is much smaller than the others, so it does not perturb their orbits. This ...
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1answer
46 views

What is the ultimate “goal” of two particles in a gravitational field? [closed]

What is the ultimate "goal" of two particles in a gravitational field? Will the particles eventually occupy the same point at the same time if nothing stops them? What stops them from achieving the ...
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1answer
34 views

Earth-Sun Lagrange points L4/L5 existence

Why do Lagrange points L4 and L5 exist at all? Consider the mass of Jupiter equals 320 Earth masses, and distance from Lagrange point to Jupiter is about 4-6 A.U. We get that the gravity of Jupiter ...
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1answer
103 views

Could this planetary superalignment happen?

Here's the 'superalignment' I'm referring to: We've all heard the stories about 'mystical planetary alignments' that will increase/decrease the effective surface gravity experienced on Earth (one ...
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2answers
133 views

Why is the Milky Way flat? [duplicate]

I read recently that the galactic "flatness" of the Milky Way is due to the rotation of the galaxy combined with a vast stretch of time. Yet, I also read where 1) the Milky Way rotates once every 225 ...
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1answer
133 views

My python trajectory calculator for a small mass in a gravitational field - why is energy conservation violated?

I wrote this thing to calculate the next position of a small mass, given its current position and velocity, and a vector field determines acceleration. It sort of works - except I can never get the ...
2
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1answer
46 views

Tidal locking of a planet to a satellite

As in the case of Pluto and its moon Charon, both the bodies are tidally locked to each other, will the Earth ever be tidally locked to the Moon? Is there any effect on the rotation of the Earth ...
2
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0answers
36 views

What is the difference between Saddle points and Lagrangian points between Earth and the Sun?

I am studying MOND bubble effects in the Solar System (Paper). In "mond habitats.." (last reference) first page, the author says MOND bubbles reside on the saddle points but I fail to understand the ...
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2answers
34 views

Calculating the velocity of an elliptical orbit

I need an explanation as to why my solution to this problem doesn't work (please do not give me an answer or tell me exactly how to do it as this is a homework question that I need to do myself, hints ...
2
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2answers
51 views

What is the zero of potential?

A satellite of mass $m$ is travelling at a speed $v_0$ in a circular orbit of radius $r_0$ around a fixed mass at $O$. Taking the zero of potential at $r=\infty$, show that the total energy of the ...
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2answers
191 views

What would Earth have been without the Moon?

Would Earth rotation have been more slowed down because of the tidal effect from the Sun, as seems to be the case with Mercury and Venus? Due to the giant impact hypothesis the angular momentum from ...
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1answer
35 views

Reg position of satellite

Is it possible to put an artificial satellite into an orbit in such a way that it will always remain direct over a city (I mean at any specific place)?
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2answers
76 views

How does the Moon stay in orbit?

How does the Moon stay in orbit? The Moon has not reached escape velocity from the Earth, then how does the Moon stays in orbit?
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7answers
4k views

“Falling upward” - how far you have to be from Earth to start falling to the Moon?

Talking about gravity with my 9 y/o she asked when do we start "falling upward" to the Moon. What is the distance at which the Moon's gravitational attraction is higher than that of the Earth and thus ...
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0answers
45 views

Algorithm for calculating lunar crescent visibility

Is there a simple algorithm for predicting lunar crescent visibility. Simple enough to do with a calculator at least. Those offered in Meeus' Astronomical Algorithms are a bit too involving to do by ...
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0answers
49 views

How to calculate orbital eccentricity from the ratio of satellites' velocities?

I have a problem with working out how to calculate the orbital eccentricity from the ratio of two satellites' linear velocities. We know that two satellites encircles the Earth in two elliptical ...
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2answers
150 views

How can Rosetta spacecraft orbit an object with such a low mass?

Comet 67P Churyumov–Gerasimenko's mass is 11 orders of magnitude lower than Earth's. That means that the comet's gravity force is also weaker than Earth's in the same proportion. Provided that also ...
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1answer
80 views

Collisions of celestial objects

When massive, spherical celestial objects collide, how long does it take for the objects to coalesce into a new, larger, spherical entity under the influence of gravity? Examples of the above:- ...
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2answers
130 views

What motion can emerge in a still universe? [duplicate]

I consider a very large non homogeneous cloud of dust in isolation. No external gravitational interactions. It is initially completely still and start collapsing under the its own gravity. Can the ...
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3answers
234 views

What is the origin of spin of celestial objects?

In an older question from June 2011, Why does each celestial object spin on its own axis?, apparently revived by the system, a user is asking about the origin of the rotation of celestial bodies. The ...
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1answer
61 views

Is there anything interesting about an n-body system whose potential energy is constant?

I am curious about a system of gravitating bodies with particular characteristics. Before describing the characteristics of the system, let me say what I want to know about it: Can this be a ...
3
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1answer
67 views

Is the best data about Mercury's perihelion shift really 60 years old?

The advance of the perihelion of Mercury is one of the four classical tests of general relativity. I wonder what's the most precise modern measurement of it. However, while scanning the literature, ...
2
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1answer
45 views

Prerequisites for Ptolemy's Almagest

I hope this is a valid question to ask on this website (since it's astronomy and not e.g. mechanics, I wasn't so sure). What prerequisites are needed for fully understanding Ptolemy's Almagest. Fully ...
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1answer
115 views

Finding the total energy of satellite in orbit with the Earth

I'm given a problem where a satellite with mass $m$ is orbiting the Earth with mass $M$ and radius $R$ ($m<<M$) in a elliptical orbit. The ellipse has semimajor axis $a$ and semiminor axis $b$. ...
3
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1answer
69 views

Why does matter gather as discs around massive objects? [duplicate]

Why do discs, like rings of Saturn and the spiral shape of our galaxy form around massive objects, instead of just a (spherical?) cloud of matter?
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1answer
112 views

Why is the Oort cloud spherical?

Having read up a bit about the Oort cloud hypothesis, I find I don't quite understand this. Why is the Oort cloud spherical while the rest of the solar system is disk-shaped?
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1answer
77 views

What would be the dynamics of a double-planet system, similar to Earth / Moon, but with both bodies nearly Earth-sized?

Researching a sci-fi story involving a "twin-planet" system. Is such an arrangement (however unlikely) physically possible? And if so, must they be tidally locked with each other, similar to the Moon, ...
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4answers
2k views

How far ahead can we predict solar and lunar eclipses?

The solar system is non-integrable and has chaos. The sun-earth-moon three-body system might be chaotic. So, how far into the future can we predict solar eclipses and/or lunar eclipses? How about ...
2
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1answer
61 views

Why doesn't no rotation imply tidal locking?

That I know of, in most parts of physics 0 movement means the body is resting, all the forces are in equilibrium. Why in orbital mechanic 0 rotation speed doesn't mean tidal lock as it would be the ...
3
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1answer
298 views

Standard gravitational parameter - different formulas

Why we have two formulas for Standard Gravitational Parameter: $$\mu=GM \ \,{\rm and}\, \mu = rv^2 \ .$$ I don't see any direct connection between the two formulas. How can we derive the second from ...
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0answers
14 views

Is it possible to calculate Lagrangian isolines for local stars?

Is it possible to calculate Lagrangian isolines for local stars? SciFi descriptions of 'hyperspace' always talk about travel routes between the stars following some sort of route. As a thought ...
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1answer
47 views

By what factor a planet travels (in circular orbit) faster than another

Question: It is known that radius of Neptune in a circular orbit around the sun is 30 times greater than that of Earth's. Does Neptune travel faster than earth and by what factor? Attempt: For a ...
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0answers
36 views

Restricted three body problem

I have the restricted three body problem, which corresponds, to the equation $ \ddot a-2\dot b -a= \displaystyle\frac{\partial U}{\partial a} $ $ \ddot b +2 \dot a-b = \displaystyle\frac{\partial ...
2
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1answer
81 views

Faster spinning moon

Let's say we somehow speed up the moon's rotation. (I'm thinking about a big asteroid smashing into it, but I'm open to better ideas.) Here are some questions: How fast could we get the moon to spin ...
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1answer
89 views

Earth moving over the Sun instead of around [closed]

Let's say you are observing the movement of the Sun and Earth from very far away. After year 1, the Earth creates an orbital plane around the Sun. Since the objects in the universe induce forces of ...
3
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2answers
96 views

What is the “associated scalar equation” of equations of motion?

In an essay I am reading on celestial mechanics the equations of motion for a 2 body problem is given as: $$\mathbf{r}''=\nabla(\frac{\mu}{r})=-\frac{\mu \mathbf{r}}{r^3}$$ Fine. Then it says the ...
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1answer
37 views

What does an $n$-body system with constant $T$ and $U$ look like?

Can someone give an example of a system where the kinetic $T$ and potential $U$ energy are constant (but not zero)? Here's what I have in mind: Say you have $n-1$ satellites of negligible mass ...
2
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1answer
91 views

Unexpected eccentricity in moon orbit simulation

I've used Mathematica's NDSolve function to calculate the orbit of the Moon around the Earth. I used the following initial positions (perigee): ...
1
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1answer
111 views

Getting first and second time derivative of mean motion of spacecraft - without TLE?

The Celestrak website provides information on reading the TLE ( Two-Line Element Set ) format. In Line 1, Column 34-43 & 45-52 give information about ...
2
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0answers
153 views

Story about a mathematician, a dinner party, and the three-body problem

I remember dimly hearing a story, coincidentally also at a dinner party, and I was trying recently to track the details down with no success. I was hoping someone here might have also heard this story ...
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1answer
97 views

My orbiting body is orbiting about the wrong focus of it's elliptical orbit… why?

I am coding in c++ and am computing the position of an orbiting body as a function of time. Everything is almost working. I have a nice elliptical orbit. Except, my orbiting body speeds up as it ...
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0answers
52 views

How can I describe an equation for multiple objects over time?

Lets say i have $n$ different objects that effects each other only by the classic gravity force. I have their initial locations, masses and velocity's: $$ x_1(0),\cdots,x_n(0) $$ $$ m_1,\cdots,m_n ...