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12 views

Does a classical explanation for planetary perihelion precession exist?

I know that the advancing perihelion of Mercury is explained by GR. I was wondering if a classical explanation is also possible without any ad-hoc physical hypotheses.
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1answer
64 views

Relative acceleration of two planets orbiting a star

Let us suppose we know the radii and periods of two planets' circular orbits around a star -say Earth, Venus and the Sun-, which allows us to calculate the planets' centripetal acceleration, ...
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1answer
45 views

Does the Moon have rotation about its axis?

As I understand, the Moon is following Earth's curved space. If that's the case, shouldn't the Moon have no rotation if it's tidally locked, and only appear to have rotation? If the Earth suddenly ...
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1answer
39 views

Kepler's laws: show the planet always stays in the same plane?

I know angular momentum $L=q \times p$ is conserved, where $p=L_{\dot q}$ is linear momentum. How to apply this to a planet orbiting the star, described by the position vector $q$ relative to the ...
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4answers
167 views

The fainter the star, the further away it is?

If a star appears to be very faint, would it imply that it's really far away or that it's luminosity is minimum?
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1answer
25 views

Coexistence at Lagrange points

I was wondering how precise the location of an object in a Lagrange point needs to be to maintain stability, since it seems that several natural objects (asteroids) exists together in some of these ...
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1answer
56 views

Prove that orbits are conic sections

How does one prove that an orbit of a satellite around a planet of significantly greater mass than the satellite is a conic section (i.e. an ellipse, circle, hyperbola, or parabola)? Also, there is ...
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2answers
49 views

Intuitive understanding of Lagrange point L3

I learned about Lagrange points today and the physics behind L1, L2, L4 and L5 make intuitive sense to me. But I'm stumped by L3. Wikipedia says "L3 in the Sun–Earth system exists on the opposite ...
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6answers
1k views

Can orbital energy be a source of perpetual power?

A thought just came to me, and I want to comfirm it here: If we figured out a way to harvest the energy from the orbit of the Moon, would that be perpetual? The Moon has been orbiting the earth for ...
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5answers
99 views

How gently could a comet/asteroid/meteorite “hit” Earth?

Could an object from outer-space with the right velocity and orbit come into contact with the surface of our planet in a manner that wouldn't cause it to burn in our atmosphere?
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2answers
85 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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2answers
56 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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2answers
111 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
94 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
75 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
68 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
70 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
54 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
43 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
118 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
205 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
161 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
60 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
39 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
47 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 ...
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2answers
54 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
197 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
129 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
58 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
63 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
180 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
85 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
131 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
258 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
66 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
77 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, ...
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1answer
46 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
189 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
71 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
122 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
89 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 ...
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1answer
69 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 ...
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1answer
383 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
15 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
48 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
37 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 ...
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1answer
82 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 ...