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

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What causes matter to initially rotate/spin/orbit?

What causes matter to initially rotate/spin/orbit? All I can find is the statement that in space particles of dust/gas/matter contract into a spinning disk due to gravity (to form stars, solar systems,...
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Using 2D position, velocity, and mass to determine the parametric position equations for an orbiting body

I have a gravity-related question. I am programming an orbit simulator. I have everything up and running, but I would like to render the smaller body's orbital path (the larger body is fixed). To do ...
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Do all celestial objects have stationary orbit?

Do all celestial bodies of sufficient mass such big asteroids, moon, planets etc. have orbit such that the period of revolution is same as the sidereal period of that object (such as geostationary ...
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Methods for handling close approaches in $N$-body simulations

In direct gravitational $N$-body simulations, what are the preferred methods for handling close approaches between bodies in order to preserve the accuracy of the evolution of the system?
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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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Are retrograde capture orbits “easier” than prograde capture orbits?

After reading up on irregular moons in the solar system - moons that are thought to be captured, most seem to be in retrograde orbit around their parent body. That led me to wonder if retrograde ...
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How is celestial navigation done on a low-level?

When we send a probe off to Jupiter or Saturn, or even Earth orbit, how are the rocket firings timed and coordinated? For instance, when I want to drive to another city I pull onto the highway and ...
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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 ...
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When and how were relative distances to the planets first measured?

I understand that the absolute distance to a planet can be measured using earth-baseline (e.g., diurnal) parallax, and that the first reasonably accurate such measurement was made for Mars by Cassini (...
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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 ...
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Forces on objects orbiting a black hole?

Firstly, please excuse my elementary knowledge and lack of eloquence when writing about astrophysics. I am a dentist, who occasionally thinks about the how the universe works. I'm both fascinated and ...
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Why aren't there more natural satellites orbiting the Earth than just the Moon?

Considering that there's a lot of debris in space and that impacts fling out rocks into space all the time, why do we only have one large natural satellite - the Moon? Shouldn't there be all kinds of ...
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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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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 ...
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How many celestial bodies could be in stable orbit at roughly the same distance from a star?

How many planet-like celestial bodies of roughly the same mass (say within 50%) could orbit a star at roughly (say within 10%) the same distance from the star and be in stable orbits. By stable I ...
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858 views

Finding interplanetary flight trajectory using calculus of variations?

Consider two orbits $x(t),\space y(t)$ representing the origin and destination for some spaceflight of interest. These could be, for example, cycloids describing LEO and another orbit circling, say, ...
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Earth-Moon orbiting each other after being engulfed by Red Giant

Recently some exoplanets were discovered which are thought to be the leftover cores of giant planets that had survived a star becoming a Red Giant and then shrinking back to a subdwarf. If giant ...
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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 ...
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Kepler Orbits: Small Perturbations->Elliptical Orbits

A group of my physics classmates and I have been stuck on this problem. We have tried a few approaches. The problem is to show that a body following a circular orbit, when given a small radial ...
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Is there a mathematical relationship here or am I looking for relations when there are none?

When I was taking classical mechanics, we dealt a lot with pendulums, and orbiting bodies problems. This lead me to think about the two situations depicted above. Left: Shows two balls of equal mass ...
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Convert latitude of lowest altitude to argument of perigee?

I am designing an orbit around Mercury. I know the values I want for the semi-major axis, eccentricity, inclination, and RAAN. I want the altitude of closest approach (periapse) to occur at $60.0^{\...
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Elliptical orbit changing as a star's mass increases

I'm studying Kepler's Laws, specifically the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. I know that if the Earth was more massive, the orbit would not be significantly affected. If the Sun was more massive, I ...
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Why do they think WT1190F is low density?

A piece of space debris WT1190F is in the news in part because it has been far from earth (farther than lunar distance) in the past but will re-enter earth's atmosphere in a few weeks. See this open ...
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Calculus used by Gauss to find Ceres' position?

With very little data, the great mathematician Gauss was able to predict the exact location of where to find the asteroid Ceres. If possible I would like a reconstruction of his work, from the data ...
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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 ...
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Is the escape velocity at Geosynchronous Earth Orbit 0km/hr?

Follow-up question to How long must escape velocity be maintained? Is the escape velocity at GSO 0?
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If the moon was rapid enough would it be able to orbit the earth from a close distance?

If the moon was close in orbit that it's surface was like 100 km away from the earth's surface. And it had a large enough angular velocity will it be able to hold orbit? If this was possible, is ...
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Deviation from Earth's orbit

How much orbital deviation is required for the Earth to get knocked out from current orbit so it either moves away from Sun or towards the Sun?
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Why are people weightless whilst in orbit around the Earth? ISS? Satellites? [duplicate]

Had physics for 2 years now on highschool, but there is a thing I am wondering about. You know the in the height above the earth surface around where the satellites are (Or the ISS), I've calculated ...
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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 ...
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Orbit in the vacuum

As the space is a vacuum and there is no friction in space, Can we assume that, if we place an object in gravity in exactly the right distance from a planet with gravity and in the right acceleration, ...
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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 ...
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Would a considerably big asteroid be disintegrated by the Earth's Roche limit?

If there was a big asteroid with a diameter of say 50km+ in a collision course with the Earth (not orbiting), would it disintegrate into smaller chunks due to the Earth's Roche limit, or the time it ...
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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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Is such an orbit possible that allows a satellite on Earth and another on Mars to always be in direct line-of-sight?

If not always, how much "most of the time" could it get? Or would a multi-satellites setup be more suited?
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Orbital speed for a circular orbit?

I wanted to look up the formula for orbital speed for a circular orbit on Wikipedia, and I found 2 formulas: All bounded orbits where the gravity of a central body dominates are elliptical in ...
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Runge-Lenz vector and Keplerian Orbits

Is the loss of closed Keplerian orbits in relativistic mechanics directly tied to the absence of the Runge-Lenz vector?
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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 ...
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How “large” is a Lagrange point?

When placing an object at a L-point, the natural assumption, as with all things gravity, is that you needn't place it in an exact spot to achieve a stable configuration. How much room do you have to ...
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Why are orbits around black holes stable?

Black hole theory involves space (or space-time), itself, being sucked into the black-hole, with the event horizon marking the point at which space/space-time is moving faster than the speed of light. ...
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Can an elliptical orbit take the same time as a circular obit?

In the picture below you can see two orbits of potential pbjects. The main aspect of the orbits is that they have a collision point at the maximum of the elliptical orbit. My question is, could the ...
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Calculating specific orbital energy, semi-major axis, and orbital period of an orbiting body

Is it possible to calculate the specific orbital energy $ϵ$, the semi-major axis $a$, and the orbital period $T$ (or $P$) without any of them being available to you? The values I do have available to ...
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How to calculate linar velocity of planet orbit?

I try to simulate a solar system with planets (with random mass) placed randomly around a sun with a mass $X \times \text{solar mass}$. The simulation is going well when I use real data (sun,earth,...
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Is it possible for the planets to align?

We've all heard the statement that on the 21st of December, the planets in the solar system will "align" from the point of view of the Earth. I assume this means that they would all be in the same ...
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Maths behind gravity assist

What kind of maths is behind gravity assists and in general the theory of orbits, and how deep does it go? I am just wondering if I know enough prerequisites!
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Reasons for decaying orbit for satellites and spacecrafts

As per newton's law, unless a force is applies, moving objects will continue to move in a straight line. A satellite which speeds at around 17.5k mph would be travelling in a straight line considering ...
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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 ...
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Does Kepler's law only apply to planets?

Does Kepler's law only apply to planets? If so why doesn't it apply to other objects undergoing circular motion? By Kepler's law I'm referring to $T^2 \propto r^3$
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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 ...
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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, ...