The tag has no wiki summary.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

16
votes
2answers
837 views

How do horseshoe orbits work?

An asteroid was recently discovered that is in a horseshoe orbit with respect to the earth. Is there an intuitive explanation for these orbits? It seems that the earth acts as a repulsive force where ...
15
votes
4answers
5k views

What did general relativity clarify about Mercury?

I frequently hear that Kepler, using his equations of orbital motion, could predict the orbits of all the planets to a high degree of accuracy -- except Mercury. I've heard that mercury's motion ...
13
votes
6answers
3k views

Why are the orbits of planets in the Solar System nearly circular?

Except for Mercury, the planets in the Solar System have very small eccentricities. Is this property special to the Solar System? Wikipedia states: Most exoplanets with orbital periods of 20 ...
10
votes
4answers
757 views

Collision of Phobos

Mars has two moons: Phobos and Deimos. Both are irregular and are believed to have been captured from the nearby asteroid belt. Phobos always shows the same face to Mars because of tidal forces ...
9
votes
4answers
625 views

Can a moon have another large body as a satellite, and are there any examples of such?

In my mind, I'm comparing it to the Sun-Earth-Moon system. After all, the Earth is primarily a satellite of the Sun, but the Moon is still gravitationally bound to the Earth. Could something like this ...
9
votes
6answers
19k views

Gravity on the International Space Station

We created a table in my physics class which contained the strength of gravity on different planet and objects in space. At altitude 0(earth), the gravitational strength is 100%. On the moon at ...
9
votes
3answers
272 views

Can an orbit be calculated using two points and transit time?

Working in only two dimensions and assuming that the central body is at the origin of the coordinate system, given two points in space and knowing the transit time between those points, as well as the ...
8
votes
3answers
259 views

Parallax, obliquity, precession, and Orion?

Today, the obliquity of the earth is about 23.4°. 6500 years ago, it was about 24.1° Imagine the blue square is the constellation of Orion, and the yellow star is the sun. Viewpoint B is you, on ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Kepler's third law doesn't give earth's orbital period! Why? [closed]

I tried to calculate earth's orbital period using Kepler's third law, but I found 365.2075 days for the orbital period instead of 365.256363004 which is the correct value. I checked everything, and I ...
7
votes
3answers
250 views

Falling through the rotating Earth

Suppose you were standing on the rotating Earth (not necessarily Equator or the poles) and suddenly your body lost the ability to avoid effortlessly passing through solid rock. Because the earth's ...
6
votes
2answers
159 views

Is there any dynamical reason for the winter solstice to happen close to the perihelion?

When the winter solstice arrives, the angular momentum of the Earth, its orbital angular momentum and its radius vector with the orbital focus in the Sun are in the same plane. This happens quite ...
6
votes
3answers
313 views

How accurately is the moment of perihelion of Earth known, and how is it measured?

Earth's perihelion passed about nine hours ago. How accurately do we know the moment of closest approach of the Earth to the center of the sun? How do we make this measurement?
5
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is the universe so organized?

If you think about the Big Bang and the flow of matter in all directions, you would think, how unorganized would this universe be? No matter how long it would take. The idea that matter or most of it ...
5
votes
2answers
442 views

How about an exact solution for the position of a planet as a function of time?

Recently I was surprised to discover that no exact solution for the position of a planet as a function of time exists. I am referring to the two-body problem in a gravitational field where Newtons law ...
5
votes
2answers
172 views

Celestial Time-Keeping and Navigation

Say, for sake of argument, someone was randomly transported in time and space. Would it be possible for them to determine their location on Earth and the current time using just observations of the ...
5
votes
1answer
211 views

Potential Energy tends to infinity on the N-Body Problem

I need help to solve this problem related with the N-Body problem, i dont understand quite well what I need to define or to express in order to solve it. We assume a particular solution to the N-Body ...
5
votes
2answers
242 views

How to learn celestial mechanics?

I'm a PhD student in math and am really excited about celestial mechanics. I was wondering if anyone could give me a roadmap for learning this subject. The amount of information about it on the ...
4
votes
5answers
624 views

Gravitation in a space that is topologically toroidal

In my scant spare time I'm building an Asteroids game. You know - a little ship equipped with a pea shooter and a bunch of asteroids floating around everywhere waiting to be to blown up. But, I wanted ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What would it be like if we had a planet very close to us?

My desktop background rotates through a bunch of space and nature scenes, and this one came up. What would be the effect on people walking around down here, if another earth was looming overhead ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Is tripleaxis planet possible?

Imagine. Our solar system. Our sun. Then earth and moon orbiting it. And you have "powers" to create any planet you want, any size, any density, any weight and any velocity. Would it be possible for ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

How to derive Kepler's equation?

The Internet lacks, so far as I know, a derivation of Kepler's equation $$ M = E - e\text{sin}(E) $$ where $M$ is the mean anomaly, $E$ the eccentric anomaly and $e$ the eccentricity. Since there ...
4
votes
0answers
98 views

Why is the orbital resonance of the Galilean moons stable?

It is well known that the orbits of Ganymede, Europa and Io are in a 4:2:1 resonance. Most online sources (including but not limited to Wikipedia) say that such an orbital resonance, along with the ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Historically, how do we know that Earth moves around Sun? And it does so in an elliptical orbit?

I know the basics of solar system like how Earth moves around Sun, and that we have so many planets, elliptical orbit of earth, and how far is sun from earth etc etc. I want to take a step back and ...
3
votes
1answer
142 views

Can a very small portion of an ellipse be a parabola?

We consider that when a body is projected from any height from the earth surface with a speed lesser than the orbital speed ( tangentially to the earth surface at that point.) it follows an elliptical ...
3
votes
2answers
257 views

Do black holes accelerate in spin as they obtain more mass?

It is known that - When a star collapses during the formation of the black hole, the black hole obtains the spin of the star which it collapsed from... What I'd like to know is, If this spin ...
3
votes
0answers
80 views

Isn't the Jacobi constant just the Lagrangian times 2?

At this wikipedia page the Jacobi constant is expressed as: $$C_J=2\left(\frac{v^2}{2}-U\right)$$ where $U$ is the potential energy and $v$ is velocity. If kinetic energy $T$ is defined (as it ...
3
votes
0answers
227 views

Simple model of the solar system. Parameters? Accuracy?

I was thinking of making a simple 2D model of the solar system, with planets moving along ellipses like $$x(t) = k_x \sin(t + k_t) (\sin(k_\phi) + \cos(k_\phi))$$ $$y(t) = k_y \cos(t + k_t) ...
3
votes
0answers
174 views

Calculation of a Gravity Resonance Keyhole

Can anyone describe the mathematics behind the calculation of a resonance keyhole (for a two-body model)? It seems like the size and position of the keyhole should be a function only of mass and ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Why the center of our galaxy doesn't absorb us?

Depending on the theories, the center of our galaxy is a super massive black hole, this is easy to accept as a truth, but what I couldn't simply devour is how the solar system is orbiting around it ...
2
votes
1answer
42 views

Synchronized rotation of the moon

Does the moon rotates? Yes. The rotation matches exactly the orbit of the Earth. Which means in 28 days the moon makes one rotation. Shouldn't this be also happening with the Earth rotation around the ...
2
votes
3answers
190 views

How to find a hyperbolic escape orbit with a starting point and a desired velocity after sphere exit

How would you find an escape orbit which includes a given starting point (not assuming a circular starting orbit) and escapes the sphere of influence of the current body with a given remaining ...
2
votes
1answer
93 views

What parameters determine the acceleration a spacecraft can acquire using the gravity of a celestial body?

Contemporary spacecraft frequently rely upon gravity to accelerate/decelerate. Given a spacecraft already in space - What factors determine the acceleration it can acquire from the gravity of another ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

Gravitational slingshot maximum

I have recently read an article about gravitation slingshot assist used by Voyagers 1-2, and was thinking on why this hasn't been used for travel between solar and other systems. I mean sligshot can ...
2
votes
2answers
180 views

Why do the planets orbit the Sun? [duplicate]

Why do the planets orbit the Sun? If it's because the gravity of Sun then why don't they just fall in and burn up?
2
votes
3answers
627 views

Converting between Galactic and Ecliptic coordinates

I was hoping someone would be able to tell me the formula to convert between ecliptic and galactic coordinates. I've been able to convert values using ...
2
votes
0answers
215 views

For two planets in a 2:1 mean motion resonance , where will their periastron and apastron points be?

I want to animate the changing orbits of planets when they enter a mean motion resonance. Using a 2:1 resonance, I want to show a low-mass inner planet and a low-mass outer planet being tugged by a ...
2
votes
1answer
393 views

Angular momentum components as independent integrals of motion

I was told that in order to solve the Kepler problem (6 degrees of freedom in total) you have to proceed, step by step, to reduce those degrees of freedom using the integrals of motion. You do so ...
1
vote
3answers
719 views

Speed of the Moon

Why the motion of the Moon looks very slow in the sky? Doesn't it need the high speed in order to escape the earth's gravity?
1
vote
1answer
291 views

What is the typical orbital life of an artificial satellite?

The orbit of satellites around Earth eventually decays, or so I read. This is typically caused either by atmospheric drag, or by tides. I would assume most satellites have a limited service life in ...
1
vote
2answers
59 views

Is it feasible for an unmanned vehicle to travel from outside the atmosphere of one planet to another without additional propulsion?

Within the Solar System (or any other system for that matter) - Is it feasible for an unmanned vehicle to travel from outside the atmosphere of one planet to another without additional propulsion? ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

The circumference of the Moon's orbit around the sun?

I know that it orbits the sun in what looks like a 12 sided polygon with rounded corners. But I can't seem to find the radius/circumference anywhere.
1
vote
1answer
117 views

Determine orbital position after change in velocity

I am working on a satellite simulator for a project/game and I am stuck on this one bit of physics. So far I have a satellite that revolves around earth on a 2D plane following Keplerian motion using ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

What are Lagrange points in gravitation fields? [closed]

What are Lagrange points in gravitation fields? Additionally, what are their properties? For example, if a satellite or asteroid rested at a Lagrange-point.
1
vote
1answer
45 views

Convert constant of gravitation to days and AUs

I'm working on a problem with celestial bodies and for my purpose days and AUs are more appropriate units than seconds and meters. So I tried to convert the constant of gravitation, $G$, like this: ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

Do convection currents under the crust affect Earths motion in the solar system?

Whilst browsing through this website I began to wonder whether all of that molten rock underneath the Earth's crust would have a notable effect on how the Earth moves in it's orbit of the Sun. ...
1
vote
2answers
221 views

Why do orbital speeds decrease further away from the focus?

Why do orbital speeds decrease further away from the focus? A simple question, but I want to make sure I am understanding this correctly: Is it ONLY a function of the gravity well? As in, the ...
1
vote
0answers
24 views

The equation of the location of L1

On http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagrangian_point#L1 it says that the location of L1 can be determined as $\frac{M_1}{(R-r)^2}=\frac{M_2}{r^2}+\left(\frac{M_1}{M_1+M_2}R-r\right)\frac{M_1+M_2}{R^3}$, ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Radial and tangential velocities of a star

(source) Early in this piece it states that the radial and tangential velocities are: $$V_r = V_c \cos(\alpha) -V_{c,0} \sin (l)$$ $$V_t = V_c \sin(\alpha) -V_{c,0} \cos (l)$$ but I am struggling ...
1
vote
2answers
57 views

Finding sphere of influence in multibody system

I would like to draw a boundary illustrating the sphere of influence of each body in a 3 body system. What is the best way to find such a boundary? My understanding is at the edge an SoI is the ...
1
vote
0answers
65 views

Interpretation of a quantity from the reduced three body problem [closed]

Consider two bodies $S$ and $J$ that gravitate about their center of mass $O$, under the influence of mutual attraction. A third massless body $P$ is moving in the same plane. What is the ...