The path a body takes while moving through space under the influence of the gravitational forces of other bodies

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How to write C++ code using SGP4 to propagate satellite position

First I would like to tell why ( after being unsure ) I decided to post my question on Physics SE. After searching for an answer to that, I found this question helpful - particularly this line from an ...
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1answer
54 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
90 views

What is $g$ when traveling quickly around a planet?

I am trying to model a rocket orbiting a planet. I want to simplify the problem so that the rocket is travelling along an infinitely long flat surface with a $g$ along the $y$-axis. This is what ...
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1answer
68 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
45 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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Can a general n-body system emit gravitational waves?

I know that (for example) binary neutron stars can emit radiation in the form of gravitational waves. This question got me thinking about the case of three or more objects. I wrote in my answer that ...
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6answers
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Why does the moon stay with the Earth?

Naturally, I know it to be true that the moon goes around the Earth and that the Earth goes around the sun. However, attempting to picture this has confused me a bit. Why doesn't the moon just get ...
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1answer
55 views

How would the solar system change if the Earth were removed

I was reading a closed question with the same title and wondered if it would be on-topic with the following change: Could a large-mass object from interstellar space pass through the inner ...
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1answer
28 views

Stability of Laplace resonance

Someone is making a mod for the video game Kerbal Space Program (KSP), which implements propper N-body with point masses into the game (and possibly in the future also other dynamics), instead of the ...
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61 views

How to show circular orbit as a precessing ellipse

A uniform distribution of dust in the solar system adds to the gravitational attraction of the sun on the planet an additional force linear in $r$ where m is the mass of the planet, k is a constant ...
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3answers
95 views

How does an electron undergoing uniform circular motion exactly lose energy?

One of the main reasons for the failure of the Rutherford model of atomic structure, it is famously stated, is that the electron undergoing circular orbit loses energy since due to its centripetal ...
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3answers
110 views

Is the Moon freely falling towards the Earth?

The Moon is revolving around the Earth and its centripetal acceleration is towards the Earth. Does it mean that the Moon is freely falling towards Earth? What is the cause of the Moon orbiting around ...
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31 views

Could an object higher than the stationary orbit be returned to the outgoing point on this orbit?

In the question Centrifuge speed of an object higher than a stationary orbit, I asked: Does an object higher than the stationary orbit move slower or faster around the world than the top of a tower ...
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53 views

Centrifuge speed of an object higher than a stationary orbit

In the question At what altitude above equator do gravitational and centrifugal forces cancel each other?, I asked how high a tower on the equator has to be such that at its top, gravitational and ...
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2answers
80 views

At what altitude above equator do gravitational and centrifugal forces cancel each other? [closed]

How high has to be a tower at equator to get on its peak the same - but of course inverted sing - value of gravitational and centrifugal forces?
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3answers
68 views

Why does unequal mass distribution cause orbital decay?

It's well known that in low orbits around astronomical bodies with uneven mass distribution, orbits will shift around, and the orbiting object may crash into the surface. Why is this the case? ...
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84 views

Do doomsday arguments influence doomsday hypotheses?

The doomsday argument supposes that in the absence of any other knowledge, if we know the age of something now, we may assume that we are seeing it in the middle of its lifetime and then calculate our ...
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4answers
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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
38 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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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
30 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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1answer
74 views

Potential that is proportional to distance

Does anybody know of a treatment of the case where a potential field is proportional to the distance, i.e. in 3 dimensions: $$V(\vec{r}) ~\sim ~ |\vec{r}|~?$$ Essentially the question is: What are ...
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41 views

When Did Structures Begin to Orbit in the Universe?

In Big Bang Cosmology, I am familiar with the radiation era, and the moment of last scattering, but I am just not familiar with the physics of orbits, or of the “falling outward,“ if you will, that ...
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Numerical tests of Titius–Bode formula for artificial planetary orbits [duplicate]

Titius–Bode law is an empirical formula stating that positions of planets in Solar system is described by: $$a=0.4+0.3 \times 2^m [AU],$$ where $m$ are natural numbers. All planets, with exception ...
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1answer
52 views

Earth-Moon system

While learning about motion of centre of mass, I came across this statement online, It is also more accurate to say that the Earth and Moon together revolve about their common center of mass. ...
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1answer
342 views

How fast must a torus spin to have a felt gravity? [closed]

Given a rotating torus (like a gyroscope or a rotary) with a radius of 1km, how fast must it rotate to have someone inside the torus feel normal gravity of 1G?
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109 views

How can a planet gravitationally capture objects?

I would expect that any asteroid or other object originating far away but passing near a planet would pick up speed and energy as it approaches, but unless it comes into contact with the atmosphere ...
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1answer
123 views

Conservation of angular momentum in Earth-Moon system

We all know about the fact that tidal friction is slowly slowing down the Earth's rotation about its axis, and that subsequently the Moon is slowly drifting away, in order for the angular momentum of ...
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1answer
60 views

Movement of the Moon

EDIT:Recently , I have been observing the moon and i realised the moon seems to be moving very quickly from one place to another, and back to its initial position in a short cycle(few minutes),the ...
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5answers
6k views

Where does the extra kinetic energy come from in a gravitational slingshot?

I read in this answer in this site that the KE a free-falling ball acquires is not originated by the attracting body but that energy was actually stored in the ball when it had been lifted to the ...
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5answers
490 views

Why are orbits elliptical? [duplicate]

Just wanted to know why planetary orbits get to be elliptical? I'm not debating how stable these orbits are (obviously almost completely stable), but why don't planets revolve in the special ellipse ...
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5answers
120 views

Satellite Collision Problem

I'm stuck on a problem of two satellites going towards each other. The mass of the first satellite is 400kg and the mass of the second satellite is 100kg. The altitude of the satellites is 1000km. I ...
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2answers
861 views

Having trouble weighing the sun

So I gather the way you (and Vera Rubin) calculate a galaxy's mass is by measuring a star's orbital velocity $v$ and its distance $R$ from the galactic center, and then plugging them into this ...
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4answers
90 views

Find a central force given the orbit

I've been trying to solve the following problem for a long time. Let's consider a particle of mass $m$ in $\mathbb{R}^3$ with polar coordinates $(r,\theta,\phi)$. The particle moves on the orbit ...
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36 views

How much would the orbit of the earth change if we launched all 'garbage' into outer space

I know it's not economically feasible, but is there a simple equation telling you the ellipse earth would follow if you theoretically launch all of the landfills, i.e. garbage, beyond our orbit, thus ...
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1answer
56 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): ...
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1answer
71 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 ...
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1answer
61 views

Reduced mass and harmonic mean

In two-body problems, a reduced mass has the form: $\frac{m_1 m_2}{m_1+m_2}$, which by appearance, is half of the harmonic mean of $m_1$ and $m_2$: ...
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50 views

Robertson-Walker metric and stable orbits

The RW metric is defined using 4 spatial dimensions, but stable planetary orbits require 3 spatial dimensions. Does this indicate a problem with the assumption of the RW metric to describe the cosmos? ...
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2answers
1k views

Put a bullet into orbit around the moon

While I was watching this beautiful video, the absence of air friction pushed me to ask myself: While standing on the surface of the moon, what is the initial velocity by which you can fire a bullet ...
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1answer
121 views

How to determine satellite position in J2000 from latitude, longitude and distance from Earth?

Due to my task of writing orbit prediction routines I am trying to understand the reference frames better and how to use them ( particularly for Earth orbits ). I think I get the idea of what ECI ...
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3answers
76 views

The motion of the particle satisfies $\textbf{v} = \textbf{c}\times \textbf{r}$

Why does a particle with position $\textbf r(t)$ that satisfies $\textbf{v}(t) = \textbf{c}\times \textbf{r}(t)$ follow a circle that lies in a plane perpendicular to $\textbf{c}$ with centre on a ...
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2answers
102 views

Changes in planetary orbit?

Forgive a novice and her naive curiosity, but I was wondering about planetary orbit and the aging of planets. As a planet ages, does its transit around its sun/star decrease or increase in speed? ...
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1answer
86 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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1answer
53 views

Spaghettification while still in orbit

THIS POST does a pretty good job of giving an idea as to what the differences in forces becomes as you approach a black hole. For a small enough black hole, you would reach the dangerous tidal force ...
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2answers
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Is Moon really rotating about its axis?

Wikipedia says yes but on Newtonian arguments. From general relativistic point of view Moon is not rotating but moving along geodesic trajectory. And like parallel transport of a vector (pointing to ...
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2answers
99 views

How to show that the gravitational potential energy of a two particle system is -2 times the total kinetic energy, without using the virial theorem?

Consider a two-particle system with identical masses, orbiting in circles about their center of mass. I'm supposed to prove that: $$U_p = -2U_k$$ With $U_p$ potential energy of the system, and $U_k$ ...
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3answers
2k views

Why does Pluto's orbit cross Neptune's orbit?

Why does Pluto's orbit cross Neptune's orbit? Is this a fault in Newton's law of gravitation?
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3answers
236 views

What could cause an asymmetric orbit in a symmetric potential?

My question can be summarized as: Given a potential with a symmetry (e.g. $z\rightarrow-z$), should I expect orbits in that potential to exhibit the same symmetry? Below is the full motivation for ...
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2answers
230 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 ...