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

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19
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2answers
334 views

Why don't stars in globular clusters all orbit in the same plane?

Globular clusters like Omega Centauri certainly don't seem to be very coplanar at all. In other words, why doesn't the explanation at Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same ...
6
votes
3answers
319 views

“Reverse engineering” of a horoscope?

I'll start with a disclaimer -- this is not a question about astrology itself, I'm neither trying to refute nor to defend astrology. I'm interested in purely technical things, which are mostly ...
8
votes
8answers
3k views

How does the earth move?

My son who is 5 years old is asking me a question about how the earth moves around the sun. What answer should I give him?
8
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3answers
580 views

Are planetary orbits measured from the Sun's surface or centre?

I would imagine planetary orbits are measured from the Sun's centre and not its surface. Is that true? I can't find anywhere that actually states this.
3
votes
2answers
83 views

Computing period, semi-major axis of binary

I have mass, $g$, and luminosity of each of the stars in a binary system, extracted from a model. I calculated the individual radii from $g$ and the mass. I am trying to compute $a$, but I seem to be ...
0
votes
1answer
345 views

What are the known relationships between rotation of planets/moons and their distance to Sun?

What are the known relationships between rotation of planets/moons and their distance to Sun? Or any other known attributes? For example, the sidereal year for planets is directly related to their ...
14
votes
5answers
5k views

Why do we always see the same side of the Moon? [duplicate]

I am puzzled why we always see the same side of the Moon even though it is rotating around its own axis apart from revolving around the earth. Shouldn't this only be possible if the Moon is not ...
3
votes
4answers
979 views

Two masses in deep space - collide or orbit?

If two identical masses are somehow "released" into deep space (that is, they're subject to no other gravitation forces but their own, and are initially at rest to each other). What decides whether ...
36
votes
2answers
2k views

Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer?

I always see pictures of the solar system where our sun is in the middle and the planets surround the sun. All these planets move on orbits on the same layer. Why?
5
votes
1answer
830 views

How does the view of night sky change as the Sun orbits around the Milky Way?

I know that the Sun and hence the Solar System orbits around the galactic center of the Milky Way. Does this rotation cause any visible change in the night sky? I know that human life span is ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the irregularity in Uranus' orbit that is caused by Neptune?

I carefully read the Wikipedia article Discovery of Neptune, and I don't get what the irregularity of Uranus orbit was that lead to the discovery of Neptune. Years ago, I watched some educational film ...
1
vote
3answers
43 views

The orbit of 2010 TK7

Having just heard about the asteroid 2010 TK7 in Trojan asteroid seen in Earth's orbit by Wise telescope, I want to know more about its orbit. The BBC article says it moves above and below the ...
4
votes
1answer
52 views

Do stars of higher metallicity have more planets in highly-inclined Pluto-like orbits?

In an answer to a previous question of mine, one that asked about the planar orbits of inner planets, I was told the following (emphasis mine): On the subject of different solar systems, I would ...
3
votes
1answer
23 views

For the long-term evolution of atmosphere/orbit, when is perihelion more important than mean distance?

When we want to figure out the long-term evolution of a planet's atmosphere/orbit, when is perihelion more important than mean distance? E.g. some processes (like Jeans Escape and escape of ...
1
vote
2answers
185 views

Converting Angular Momentum?

I am aware of three apparently different forms of angular momentum: spin, orbital and macroscopic, like a spinning crystal or baseball. Can angular momentum be transferred or converted from one of ...
4
votes
3answers
435 views

Why don't astronauts in orbit get stuck to the “ceiling”?

When a shuttle is in orbit, it is essentially rotating around the "centre" of the Earth at a great speed. So why does there seem to be no centrifugal force sticking them to the 'ceiling' of the ...
6
votes
1answer
502 views

Hohmann transfer orbit questions

So, I have a couple questions about transfer orbits. As I understand it, an object's, say a satellite, orbit is basically tied to it velocity relative to the object, the planet, that it is orbiting. ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Are orbits interior to Jupiter's orbit less stable than orbits exterior to Jupiter's orbit?

Or in other words, are there differences in average Lyapunov timescale between orbits interior to Jupiter and orbits exterior to Jupiter? I'm trying to answer a question at ...
10
votes
6answers
7k views

What is the simplest way to prove that the Earth orbits the Sun?

Assume you're talking to someone ignorant of the basic facts of astronomy. How would you prove to them that the Earth orbits the Sun? Similarly, how would you prove to them that the Moon orbits ...
9
votes
4answers
644 views

Two planets in same orbit - not planets?

Let us pretend for a moment that there are two identical planets that are exactly opposite their star from each other and are the same distance from said star. (This would make them, at all times, ...
1
vote
0answers
131 views

heliocentricity and the theory of relativity [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do we say that the earth moves around the sun? I should preface by stating that I'm not a physicist and my knowledge of the theory of relativity is limited to what ...
17
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
163 views

How would two equally massed stars orbit?

In an empty universe, except for two equally massed stars, how would they orbit? Or, for another example, if the earth suddenly grew to be the mass of the sun, how would they orbit, or interact? Would ...
18
votes
14answers
5k views

Why do we say that the earth moves around the sun?

In history we are taught that the Catholic Church was wrong, because the Sun does not move around the Earth, instead the Earth moves around the Sun. But then in physics we learn that movement is ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

When will the Moon reach escape velocity?

From what I know, the Moon is accelerating away from the Earth. Do we know when it will reach escape velocity? How do we calculate this?
18
votes
9answers
12k views

Why are orbits elliptical?

Almost all of the orbits of planets and other celestial bodies are elliptical, not circular. Is this due to gravitational pull by other nearby massive bodies? If this was the case a two body system ...
6
votes
3answers
239 views

How does a spacecraft's orientation get determined

What method are employed to determine a spacecraft orientation with respect to a known orientation or plane? Are gyroscopes reliable enough to make this determination, for example in Voyager ...
7
votes
1answer
18 views

What tools do I need to track an orbit of a mystery object?

A while back I was observing Uranus with my 6" dob and a moving object tracked across my field of view. I was at about 90x at the time, and the object was pretty bright but slow moving. I dropped down ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

What are the temperatures of objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)?

What is the temperature of objects in Low Earth Orbit? Consider LEO to be 600km to 800km.
3
votes
0answers
183 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 ...
7
votes
5answers
527 views

Why aren't all rocks in space orbiting bigger rocks?

Why do only big rocks (planets) have satellites, and not small ones? Why doesn't cosmic dust orbit rocks that are many times heavier than the dust grains? If dust is still too heavy then what about ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

Are orbiting planets an example of perpetual motion?

I understand that perpetual motion is impossible, but I became confused when a friend of mine told me that the orbits of the planets is an example of perpetual motion. Will earth's orbit ever end, and ...
3
votes
2answers
268 views

Is it possible to orbit the sun next to Earth?

With Geostationary orbit your limited to the equator and ~36000km. Would it be possible to orbit the sun at the same speed as Earth, and then in basically the same place so that the distance to the ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Does mass affect speed of orbit at a certain distance?

Does the mass of both the parent object, and the child object affect the speed at which the child object orbits the parent object? I thought it didn't (something like $T^2 \approx R^3$) until I saw ...
6
votes
3answers
219 views

The feasibility of a satellite orbiting at a fixed time

I was speaking with some friends of mine, one of whom was an aerospace engineer. He posited the infeasibility of a hypothetical "Margaritaville Satellite" that orbited earth in such a way that ...
7
votes
3answers
388 views

Are there planetary systems where the planes of orbits vary greatly?

Inspired by this question, are there any known planetary systems with largely varying planes of orbit? For example a system where two planets have perpendicular planes?
10
votes
4answers
658 views

Why do all the planets of the solar system orbit in roughly the same 2D plane?

Most images you see of the solar system are 2D and all planets orbit in the same plane. In a 3D view, are really all planets orbiting in similar planes? Is there a reason for this? I'd expect that ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Measuring acceleration of earth due to its fall around the sun

Every orbiting of a satellite around a mass is nothing else but a constant fall - and therefore acceleration - towards this mass. In a way it is a "falling around" that mass. My question Is it ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Find true anomaly given period, eccentricity and time

Is it possible to find the true anomaly of an object in a Kepler orbit given the orbital period of the object, the orbital eccentricity and the time? Assuming a two body system and the mass of the ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Why are Saturn's rings so thin?

Take a look at this picture (from APOD http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110308.html): I presume that rocks within rings smash each other. Below the picture there is a note which says that Saturn's rings ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Are tidal power plants slowing down Earth's rotation?

Are tidal power plants slowing down Earth's rotation to the speed of the orbiting moon? (1 rotation per 28 cca days) Are they vice versa increasing the speed of moon orbiting by generating some ...
0
votes
3answers
491 views

Missing something basic about simple orbital mechanics

I seem to be missing something basic. I've been trying to get a simple orbital simulation working, and my two objects are Earth around the Sun. My problem is this. I placed the Earth at 93M miles ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

How is it possible for orbits to maintain stability?

According to $a = v^2/R$, the circular velocity and radial distance between two attracting objects (such as planets), must remain in perfect proportion in order for orbital motion to take place. How ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

Why an object travels a circular path?

It might sound stupid but seriously I couldn't find why? We have a mass with a constant speed, which is acted on by a unit force which is always at right angles to its direction of motion. Why do ...
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
2answers
3k views

How does electron excitation relate to atomic orbitals?

Taking off from the Rutherford-Bohr model, Figure 1. Rutherford-Bohr model. when an electron absorbs energy (from light, heat, or otherwise) it jumps to a higher energy level, or shell. Then when ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

Why GPS is at LEO?

Why GPS/GLONASS/Galileo satellites are on low earth orbit? Why geostationary orbit is so bad? Sattelites might be placed there 'statically' and more precise... The only problem I can see is ...
6
votes
3answers
322 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?
18
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
481 views

Orbital mechanics of Dragon's Egg

In the novel Dragon's Egg, the human crew use one asteroid to swing other asteroids in place to counter the gravity of the neutron star. I understood that it was similar to a gravity sling shot, but I ...