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0answers
31 views

Determing Velocity of Moons

I have a question that I believe is relatively easy to answer, I am working on an $N$-body simulation of a fictional star system and am having trouble finding the velocity of moons so that they will ...
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2answers
93 views

In the time of the dinosaurs the Earth rotated once in 17 hours rather than about 24 hours, where did the rotational energy and angular momentum go?

where did the rotational energy and angular momentum go? Some claim that the angular momentum went to the Moon. Astronauts put a corner reflecting mirror on the moon and reflected a Laser and timed ...
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0answers
20 views

References on the 3 body problem

Does anyone know good references for the general 3 body problem? I'm looking for both analytical and numerical approaches.
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1answer
42 views

Do 2-body elliptic orbits precess in special relativity?

Einstein famously explained the anomalous precession of Mercury by showing that in general relativity elliptic orbits precess even in the 2-body problem. But apparently in the early days of quantum ...
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2answers
114 views

If Earth and Jupiter are orbiting around Sun in same orbit, will they have same time period?

Let us suppose that Earth and Jupiter are orbiting around the Sun in same orbit, If we talk about at any particular point. (Which is not possible but for the sake of question) I was wondering that ...
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2answers
61 views

Earth-Sun distance on a given day of the year

The Earth-Sun distance on a given day of a year, can be calculated using the formula (source pdf): $$\frac{d}{\rm AU} = 1 - 0.01672\cos(0.9856({\rm day}-4))$$ where $\rm day$ is the count of days ...
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1answer
73 views

Finding the initial velocity vector of an orbiting body

I'm writing a program that simulates Newton's law of universal gravitation by simply calculating the force and applying it on the objects. The simulation works very well, but now I want to simulate ...
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1answer
43 views

Can you see a solar eclipse from the International Space Station?

Inspired by last week's solar eclipse, I'm wondering under what conditions one can see a total solar eclipse from the ISS. How often does it happen? I guess it doesn't last very long because of the ...
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0answers
38 views

Is there any free open source planetary orbit simulator software?

I need a free open source planetary orbit simulator software that should be able to calculate orbit stability for a couple simple planetary systems. Basically, I need to calculate orbit durations for ...
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2answers
68 views

How to solve the inverse square law equation of motion

From $$m\boldsymbol{\ddot{r}}=\boldsymbol{\hat{r}} f(r)$$ I can get $$r''-r \theta '^2=-\frac{k}{m r^2}$$ $$2 r' \theta '+r \theta ''=0$$ Now it seems that all the books tells me the method to solve ...
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0answers
25 views

Question about changing the orbits of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs)

So, lets say, hypothetically, for space travel or terraforming, we want to move a good sized mostly ice Kuiper Belt Object into a stable planetary orbit around the earth or mars. Looking at the ...
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0answers
21 views

Orbits of binary pulsars. How to calculate? [duplicate]

If I may ask: How can the orbits of binary pulsar stars, with similar mass, be calculated from Kepler's laws? Considering that both large central masses must be located at their mutual foci. Also, how ...
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1answer
38 views

Create a star system fit to conic equation

For simulation purposes, I'm trying to create a binary star system. If I have a conic equation such as $ax^2 + by^2 = c$, and the masses of two stars, how would I find the $x$- and $y$- velocity ...
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2answers
73 views

Why isn't the time between apogee and perigee constant?

I've assumed since the translational speed of the moon along its orbit undergoes the same boosts and reductions over its orbital course, the time between the apogee and the pedigee (and respectively, ...
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0answers
20 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
70 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
68 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
44 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
187 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
29 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
75 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
57 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
144 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
101 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
66 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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6answers
305 views

Extended object passing near an event horizon

Suppose a physically realistic object of nontrivial size (such as a star) free-falls past a black hole. The center-of-mass trajectory for the object is hyperbolic and (therefore) completely outside ...
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1answer
116 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
99 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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2answers
93 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
86 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
56 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
53 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
139 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
352 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
194 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 ...
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1answer
79 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 ...
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0answers
48 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
76 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
58 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
208 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
272 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
72 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
70 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
190 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
88 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
132 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
302 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 ...