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

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4
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4answers
2k views

Increasing mass' effect on the balance between centripetal force and centrifugal force

Okay, this is nothing more than a thought experiment which popped into my head while driving home from work today. Take the case of a single body orbiting another, larger body, as in a planet and a ...
0
votes
1answer
131 views

How to find the orbit of a moving point object given 3 past passing positions?

How do I find the orbit of a moving point object given 3 past passing positions and the tangents at these passing positions, and given that the orbit is known to be an ellipse?
4
votes
1answer
644 views

Radial fall in a Newtonian gravitational field [duplicate]

Suppose an object of mass $m$ starts at rest at a radial distance $ r_0$ from a perfectly spherical mass $M$ (where $m << M$), $r_0 > R =$ radius of $M$. Can we analytically determine when ...
2
votes
1answer
874 views

Do all planets rotate around the sun with the same acceleration?

I have this question in mind. suppose if by any chance, all planet around sun stopped rotating. then as per formula F= M * A. all planet should fall with same acceleration towards sun and ultimately ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do the planets' orbital distances fall on an exponential curve?

Background: I was recently reading a book on the planets to my son and I noticed a pattern in the distributions of the planets. The planets' distances roughly follow an exponential distribution. ...
3
votes
1answer
115 views

Does a reference or classification standard for altitude classifications of geocentric orbits exist?

I'm looking for a primary reference of the altitude classifications of geocentric orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO, HEO), but I was not able to find something so far. I noticed that there is very different ...
24
votes
5answers
3k views

What symmetry causes the Runge-Lenz vector to be conserved?

Noether's theorem relates symmetries to conserved quantities. For a central potential $V \propto \frac{1}{r}$, the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector is conserved. What is the symmetry associated with the ...
3
votes
1answer
395 views

How do I calculate the time it would take for a space craft launching from earth to reach another planet?

I am making a matlab program the my final project for my programming class in college. I have chosen this problem, but I am bashing my head against the wall trying to figure out the equations and how ...
0
votes
0answers
133 views

How long until “final totality”? [closed]

It is given that the angular size of the Sun as viewed from Earth is $0.533^\circ$, the distance of the Moon from Earth at perigee is $3.633\times 10^5$ km, and the mean radius of the Moon is $1737.1$ ...
2
votes
0answers
283 views

Projectile motion equations @ very (!) high starting velocity

I've already searched Physics StackExchange for some similar question but I didn't find anything about this. Assumptions: Earth is a perfect sphere with it's core (X,Y,Z) -> (0,0,0) as a ...
-1
votes
1answer
668 views

How do I express the Kepler general orbit $r(\phi)$ in rectangular coordinates?

How do I express the Kepler general orbit $r(\phi)$ in rectangular coordinates? I use the identities $x=r\cos\phi$, $y=r\sin\phi$, and $r^2 = x^2 + y^2$, but I block at some point.
3
votes
1answer
436 views

Know altitude and speed of an object in orbit, with true anomaly

I'm quite stuck with this problem. I know that I have an object in orbit. I know the eccentricity of that orbit, as well as the semi-major axis of the orbit. Giving a true anomaly, how do I find ...
2
votes
2answers
702 views

Orbital radius of Geo-stationary satellite

Could you please tell, Why all the geo-stationary satellites are to be dropped at same height from earth? Why can't it be closer or away from its regular orbit(ie, 35,000 km)? If all satellites are ...
4
votes
1answer
497 views

How does an object falling into a plain Schwarschild black hole appear from near the black hole?

I know that when viewed from infinity (or from a very large distance from the black hole event horizon), an object that falls into the black hole will appear to slow down and will become more and more ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Initial vs Constant Orbital Velocity

I am working on some basic physics simulation for a game and need to simulate gravity. I have a system working that is behaving more or less correctly so far, but I want to see if I can send a ...
3
votes
3answers
193 views

Tidal acceleration for a retrograde rotation?

Consider two nonelastic spherical bodies with uniformly distributed density, a small such body in a circular orbit around the bigger one. And consider the smaller body's rotation is matched (as if ...
13
votes
6answers
23k views

Is Melancholia's orbit impossible?

In the 2011 movie Melancholia, a planet, also called Melancholia, enters the solar system and hits the Earth. I want to leave aside the (also unreasonable) aspect that planet "hides behind the Sun" ...
19
votes
2answers
340 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
329 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
4k 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
votes
3answers
609 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
84 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
357 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
1k 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 ...
37
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
854 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
44 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
439 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
511 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
139 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
684 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
13k 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
243 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
185 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
532 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
4k 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
269 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 ...