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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

3
votes
1answer
142 views

Can a very small portion of an ellipse be a parabola?

We consider that when a body is projected from any height from the earth surface with a speed lesser than the orbital speed ( tangentially to the earth surface at that point.) it follows an elliptical ...
3
votes
3answers
284 views

What is the reasoning behind the Hill Sphere?

According to Wikipedia, Hill Sphere is : the volume of space around an object where the gravity of that object dominates over the gravity of a more massive but distant object around which the first ...
3
votes
2answers
152 views

Can the axis of rotation of a celestial body point in any arbitrary direction?

I am developing a small computer program that involves moderately simple simulation of elliptical Kepler orbits for fictional, generated star systems. I'm doing this without much prior knowledge of ...
3
votes
3answers
460 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
71 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
82 views

Does the opening angle of the cone matter?

When discussing orbital mechanics, you learn that all orbits roughly follow an ellipse which is obtained as the intersection of a cone with an inclined plane, creating conic sections. Below is a ...
3
votes
1answer
192 views

Binary star system - Revolution around Primary vs Companion

How likely is it in a binary or multi-star system for a non-star celestial body to revolve around the primary star rather than the companion star?
3
votes
2answers
94 views

Does spin of the earth vary at different locations?

Does the spin of the earth around its axis vary at different distance from the sun?,if so how does it correspond to the length of day and night,?
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Why doesn't this equation for orbital motion change with position in the orbit?

The question and answer are on pg.8-10 of this PDF: At first, I went through it, thinking nothing of it. But then, I wondered: "What if we picked a final state in which the space junk was NOT at ...
3
votes
2answers
118 views

Orbits within a $-\vec{r}$ field

Let's say that we have a cold dark matter theory, so we imagine weakly interacting particles. Now, let's say that one of those dark-matter particles has a rare interaction while traveling through the ...
3
votes
1answer
626 views

About binary stars and calculating velocity, period and radius of their orbit

I saw somewhere about being able to measure the velocity, period and radius of a binary star orbit by looking at red shift and blue shift. I understand it but can someone give me an example of ...
3
votes
2answers
63 views

Will two perpendicular orbits settle into a disc?

Scenario: one "fixed" object (like the sun...) of mass X two "planets" (P1 and P2) of mass Y P1's orbit is perpendicular to P2's orbit, and the sun is the center of both orbits P1 and P2 will never ...
3
votes
1answer
60 views

multibody problem and determinism

Given that there is no exact general solution to the $N$-body problem, can it be concluded that the Universe is non-deterministic, even for the Newtonian case (ignoring relativistic and quantum ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Where can I find the list of the planetary motion equations?

The planetary motion equations are written in the ellipse equation format, i.e. $x^2/a + y^2/b = 1$. Can anyone please tell me where I can find the list of all the planetary motion equations, ...
3
votes
2answers
111 views

Cannon on spacecraft: hitting yourself

Some Soviet space stations reportedly had anti-aircraft cannons installed. Could such a cannon hit the firing space station accidentally on a subsequent orbit? The muzzle velocity of the cannon is ...
3
votes
1answer
94 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
116 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

Uniqueness and existence of polygonal orbits through a spherical shell

Say we have a spherical wire mesh raised to a negative voltage. Then let's say we release a proton from near the surface, and away from the surface, at some angle and speed. Also, imagine that the ...
3
votes
2answers
651 views

When is the right ascension of the mean sun 0?

I understand that the right ascension of the mean sun changes (at least over a specified period) by a constant rate, but where is it zero? I had naively assumed that it would be zero at the most ...
3
votes
1answer
376 views

How long will it take for a bullet to reach a Geostationary orbit?

I'm curious to know this. Neglect air friction and imagine a bullet that were shot normal to the Earth's surface, from the Equator. I will have to consider the Coriolis effect and so I expect the path ...
3
votes
1answer
22 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
37 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Mars Circular Intercept Orbit

I've been trying to simulate a spacecraft entering a circular capture orbit about Mars using Mathematica, but am having a little trouble. The simulation starts when the spacecraft enters Mars' sphere ...
3
votes
3answers
114 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

How can you calculate the tidal gradient for an orbit?

In the movie Gravity, two characters are dangling from the international space station by a long tether. I've previously wondered exactly how you could calculate the tidal forces that act on an ...
3
votes
2answers
82 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
348 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
44 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
79 views

Isn't the Jacobi constant just the Lagrangian times 2?

At this wikipedia page the Jacobi constant is expressed as: $$C_J=2\left(\frac{v^2}{2}-U\right)$$ where $U$ is the potential energy and $v$ is velocity. If kinetic energy $T$ is defined (as it ...
3
votes
0answers
109 views

Is Earth/Luna tidal lock approaching faster?

Wikipedia pegs the mass of Earth at $5.972\cdot 10^{24}\,\text{kg}$ or $5.972\cdot 10^{21}\,\text{metric tons}$. Assuming Earth accumulates approximately $30,000\,\text{metric tons}$ annually. To ...
3
votes
3answers
185 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
174 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Could we make a trebuchet that could launch objects to a stable orbit?

Inspired by this xkcd, which calculated the energy requirements for accelerating individual humans to escape velocity (regardless of consideration for what that would do to your organs), I am ...
2
votes
2answers
168 views

Why do we orbit around the sun instead of one the other stars?

I am still very new to many physics theories, however while sat in class today, a thought came to mind that I have not been able to answer from simple googling. What is so specific about our sun ...
2
votes
4answers
558 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
669 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
218 views

Is it better to build a space elevator from GEO down to the surface of the Earth?

Having just finished Arthur C. Clarke's "The Fountains of Paradise", Clarke seems to make a distinction between starting construction of a space elevator from geosynchronous orbit and working on our ...
2
votes
3answers
374 views

The theory of moon creation when a Mars size planet hit Earth

As we know the predominant theory where does the moon come from is that a Mars size planet hit the earth and took a chunk out of it which eventually materialized into moon. My question is that if a ...
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
783 views

What the difference between “orbital” and “orbit”?

What's the difference between "ortibal" and "orbit"? Which one should be used in physics? In quantum mechanics, is "atomic orbital" or "atomic orbit" used? And what about in classical mechanics? A ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the center-of-mass of 2 bodies at the focus of their elliptical orbits?

Why is the center-of-mass of 2 bodies (which interact only via Newtonian gravity) located at a focus of each of the elliptical orbits? I know that when there are no external forces, the center of ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
723 views

Gravitational Potential Energy (GPE) to Kinetic Energy (KE) transfer in Satellite Orbits

I am stumped by a mundane A Level Physics question (teacher of physics here obviously a bit short of practice!). My colleagues and I are stumped and were wondering if any one could help us. It ...
2
votes
2answers
187 views

How do you travel in a circular orbit around a massive body?

I am trying to figure out how an object could achieve a perfectly circular orbit. Given a mass for the planet or other body the object is orbiting and a distance from the center of mass, how fast ...
2
votes
2answers
132 views

Does Planet revolution time is always greater the more it's getting away from the center?

The entire question is in the title . It's the case for the solar system but is it always the case ? Can a planet do a revolution faster than another that is closer to the center ? As far as I ...
2
votes
3answers
145 views

How do scientists place satellites into orbit?

How do scientists place satellites into orbit? How do they calculate the gravity acting on the spacecraft in order to generate exact opposite force by means of Kinetic energy to keep the satellite ...
2
votes
2answers
114 views

Path of Orbital Bodies

I am trying to figure out how to parametrize the path of a body under the influence of gravity from another body, but I am stuck. I have looked at the Wikipedia page on Kepler orbits, but it is ...
2
votes
1answer
952 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
75 views

Why is the Pegasus launched from a subsonic airplane?

Considering that the reason typically given for launching spacecraft from sea-level as opposed to mountains is that the limiting factor is velocity, not altitude, then why isn't the Pegasus rocket ...