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

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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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922 views

How is the equation of motion on an ellipse derived?

I would like to show that a particle orbiting another will follow the trajectory \begin{equation} r = \frac{a(1-e^2)}{1 + e \cos(\theta)}. \end{equation} I would like to do this with minimal ...
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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 ...
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235 views

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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235 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 ...
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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, ...
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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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208 views

Is the fuel burn for a satellite launch affected by the position of the moon relative to the launch site?

The gross mass of a satellite rocket is tiny compared to that of Earth, and Luna. Between them, however, the two bodies set up tides in bodies of water which itself is again considerable mass. At ...
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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 ...
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828 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 ...
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149 views

What made Kepler think that orbits are not circular which came to be elliptical?

Kepler formulated his laws in a sort of time where human began to believe in heliocentric universe and telescope was not yet invented/ discovered. So what made Kepler think that orbits aren't ...
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462 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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681 views

What's the reason for the seasons?

In the diagram, it shows that the fundamental reason for different seasons is when the northern hemisphere is titled towards the sun there's summer in northern hemisphere and winter in southern ...
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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 ...
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205 views

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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202 views

(Re-)use of a space elevator (basic mechanics and potential energy source)

It's said that if a space elevator were made then it would be much more efficient to put objects in orbit. I've always wondered about the durability of a space elevator though. I don't mean the ...
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576 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 ...
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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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Does gravitational time dilation affect apparent mass?

Suppose I'm on a highly elliptical orbit around some massive body. As I get closer, I start to experience time dilation due to the object's gravitational field - time starts passing slower for me than ...
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208 views

Time dilation factor for the circular orbit at 3/2 Schwarzschild radius

What would the time dilation factor be if a massive (as in rest mass>0) point particle orbiting a Schwarzschild black hole in the photon sphere? If I understand correctly, this is the only possible ...
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939 views

What is the precise definition of Gravitational Sphere of Influence (SOI)?

I am trying to understand the gravitational sphere of influence (SOI), but all I get by searching is the formula that you can find on Wikipedia, that is $$ r_{SOI} = a \left( \frac{m}{M} ...
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163 views

Gravitational resonances for satellites

I read on the website of European Space Agency that the altitude of Galileo satellites, which is 29600 Km from the center of the Earth, is chosen to avoid gravitational resonances so that station ...
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352 views

Oberth Effect in deep space

Does the Oberth effect only apply when in orbit of a planet or would a rocket generate more and more thrust (if kept on) even in deep space? Wikipedia explains that the faster the rocket goes, the ...
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Why is the Milky Way flat? [duplicate]

I read recently that the galactic "flatness" of the Milky Way is due to the rotation of the galaxy combined with a vast stretch of time. Yet, I also read where 1) the Milky Way rotates once every 225 ...
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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 rendezvous attempt failed on Gemini 4? [closed]

It is said in Wikipedia, that On the first orbit, McDivitt attempted to rendezvous with the spent Titan second stage. This was unsuccessful for a number of reasons: NASA engineers had not ...
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Gravitation not instantaneous = non elliptic orbits?

When I studied physics some time ago my teacher explained that if we consider the gravitational atraction not instantaneous, such as the General Relativity says, the planets would be attracted towards ...
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Why aren't satellites increasing speed because of gravitational acceleration?

Satellites orbiting the earth are experiencing almost as strong gravitation as we do, but they don't hit the earth because of their velocity outwards and the earth's curvature. But if they're ...
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678 views

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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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 ...
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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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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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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 ...
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Do the planets really orbit the Sun?

This is a duplicate of this question on Space Exploration.SE. So why would I ask it again here? Read below. The question reads We often say that the planets orbit the Sun, which is usually a ...
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Is there a conserved quantity that enforces planar orbits in central force motion?

From what I remember, one of the first steps in finding the equations of motion for an orbiting body is to argue that the body's motion has to be restricted to a plane, because the central force has ...
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Orbit reversal in a gravitational well

A friend recently asked me this, and without wishing to spend a huge time thinking about it, I wondered if anyone knew the answer (or at least had an informed guess), or was familiar enough with these ...
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Angular momentum power plant on Earth

If tidal power plants are slowing down Earth's rotation then is it theoretically possible to build a power plant that would drain energy from Earth's angular momentum (thus slowing down it's ...
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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 ...
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Why do people claim electrons are accelerating

A lot of text books mention that one of the reasons that classical mechanics failed to explain atomic and subatomic processes is that electrons which accelerate should release energy in the form of ...
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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 ...
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Would a rocket burn more fuel to get from Earth's surface to LEO, or to get from LEO to GEO?

Would a rocket burn more fuel to get from Earth's surface to Low Earth Orbit, or to get from LEO to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit?
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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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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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Mercury's orbit

Mercury has a weird orbit, it's elliptical orbit rotates around an axis, but for no reason. My question is why? What is causing this?
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How does the gravity of a massive non-spherical object act on things around it?

Firstly, not sure if this question ought to be in the space SE site. Please let me know if it should. (Posted in both for now) Secondly, I don't know a whole lot about physics (I'm just inquisitive). ...
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Where does energy for high and low tides come from?

High and low tides are caused by Moon gravity attracting water. Now there's friction, waves cause erosion, their energy is used in power plants yet the tides work for millions of years and are ...
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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 ...