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

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2k views

Why does the moon or the earth revolve anti-clockwise?

The question is very simple: Why does the moon or the earth or any another planet revolve anti-clockwise? And can any planet (or satellite) revolve clockwise? What is the physical law for this ...
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3answers
138 views

Rocket needed to send 100 gram of mass to outer space? [closed]

What kind of rocket would be needed to send 100 gr of mass to outer space? The mass can be moulded in any shape, but it would need not raise above 40 °C of temperature during the ...
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1answer
95 views

Is it possible for a solar system to have planets orbiting the star(s) in a spherical pattern?

By the question I mean that the planets spin in their ellipse but all ellipses describe the surface of a near-sphere shape around a star. Same question but for a solar system with 2 stars of ...
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5answers
133 views

Satellite Collision Problem

I'm stuck on a problem of two satellites going towards each other. The mass of the first satellite is 400kg and the mass of the second satellite is 100kg. The altitude of the satellites is 1000km. I ...
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2answers
128 views

Why does earth have a minimum orbital period?

Using the equation for Kepler's constant for Earth $K$: $$K = \frac{GM}{4\pi^2}$$ $$K = 1.01 \times 10^{13} \;\rm m^3/s^2$$ Finding time ($r = 6.4 \times 10^{6} \;\rm m$ (radius of Earth)): $$K = ...
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90 views

On constancy of cometary orbits

how are the comets able to keep to a nearly fixed orbital period, though they lose a certain amount of mass during their perihelion?
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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 ...
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3answers
64 views

In Orbital Mechanics what is the quantity described below called?

I seem to recall that $r^2 \dot{\theta}$ is a conserved quantity in orbital mechanics, which I just proved using the Euler-Lagrange equations. Namely via: $ \mathcal{L} = \frac{m}{2} (\dot{r}^2+r^2 ...
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2answers
192 views

What's the weight of the earth?

What's the weight of the earth? That is, what's the weight of the earth in the gravitational field of the sun? I imagine it's either $0$, because there's no net fall toward the sun, so the downward ...
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1answer
351 views

How fast must a torus spin to have a felt gravity? [closed]

Given a rotating torus (like a gyroscope or a rotary) with a radius of 1km, how fast must it rotate to have someone inside the torus feel normal gravity of 1G?
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3answers
165 views

A satellite in orbit fires it's engines for a short interval. Is the new orbit closer or further away?

A satellite is in a circular orbit when its engines turn on to exert a small force in the direction of the velocity for a short time interval. Is the new orbit further or closer to the Earth? The ...
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3answers
322 views

Accelerating towards the center of your orbit

If you are in a perfectly circular orbit and accelerate perpendicular to your velocity (directly towards the center of the orbit), what would happen to your orbit? Would it just shift in the direction ...
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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 ...
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2answers
570 views

Semi-major axis and ellipticity of a binary system?

In the image below (source at bottom), it seems to be suggesting that \begin{equation} a = a_{1} + a_{2}, \hspace{8cm}(1) \end{equation} where $a_{1}$ and $a_{2}$ are the semi-major axis of the ...
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3k views

What is geostationary orbit radius?

I'm asking this apparently "general reference" question for the simple reason: I was unable to find whether the quoted everywhere "35,786 kilometers (22,236 mi) above the Earth's equator" means ...
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139 views

Will Pluto be in the ecliptic plane when New Horizons passes by? Was this deliberate?

From the illustrations at the New Horizons website it seems that Pluto may be in or near the ecliptic plane when New Horizons passes by. Is this intentional? Of course Pluto was to move to that ...
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2answers
55 views

Centrifuge speed of an object higher than a stationary orbit

In the question At what altitude above equator do gravitational and centrifugal forces cancel each other?, I asked how high a tower on the equator has to be such that at its top, gravitational and ...
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1answer
49 views

How does acceleration affect the orbit?

I want to know what roughly happens if we hit an orbiting body a little. And how is it possible that most of the objects have seemingly circular orbits around. How do they stabilize? I ask because it ...
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1answer
37 views

Why are the true variance of these orbits out by ~pi?

I have an object that is orbit around a point mass in a 2D environment with a known speed, radius and zenith. I calculate the following orbital parameters as such and can confirm that these values are ...
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1answer
355 views

True or false: the Moon was touching the Earth 1.2 billion years ago

A creationist website makes this argument for the 6,000 year old earth. I'm embarrassed to say I don't know how to do the math to evaluate the claim myself. However, the time scales involved seems ...
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2answers
142 views

What are the correct initial conditions for the moon (in a simulation)?

So I've modeled the interactions between the sun and all the planets (and the interactions between the planets) using Verlet integration. I've used data from Wikipedia for masses, distance from the ...
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3answers
172 views

Gravity on the International Space Station - General Relativity perspective

My question is an extension to this one: Gravity on the International Space Station. If all the outside views of the ISS was sealed, then the crew inside would not be able to tell whether they were ...
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2answers
38 views

Why do “mascons” perturb orbits?

If the moon is a rigid body, why do the mass concentrations on the moon make orbits unstable? Doesn't a satellite just orbit the center of mass of it's parent body? Satellites (e.g. GRACE) seem to ...
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140 views

The circumference of the Moon's orbit around the sun?

I know that it orbits the sun in what looks like a 12 sided polygon with rounded corners. But I can't seem to find the radius/circumference anywhere.
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249 views

If there's no atmosphere in space shielding from particles, why is not dangerous for spaceships/humans?

Some time ago I was thinking about this. We know that space is almost matter-free, and also is plenty of particles and objects orbiting around all planets and sattellites. If objects orbit around ...
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1answer
210 views

Solving equation of motion of two massive particle exerting the gravitational force each other

I'm trying to analyze the motion of the particles which exert the gravitational force each other. Let $M_1$, $M_2$ be the masses of the particles, and the equation of motion of particle $M_1$ $$ ...
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180 views

How do you actually define an orbit?

How do you actually define an orbit? I believe, Newtonian Mechanics describes an orbit as one object in free fall around another where projectile paths become elliptical. I think, Einstein describes ...
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3answers
1k views

Work Done by Rockets in Orbital Motion

A weather satellite ($m_s = 4350$ kg) is in a stable circular orbit around the Earth ($m_E = 5.97 \cdot 10^{24}$ kg). It completes an orbit once every 2 and a half hours. (I'm sure about these 2 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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47 views

Moving From Schwarzchild Geodesic Equations to Equations of Motion

So I am a student and decided (for some bizarre reason) to attempt to tackle general relativity for my final astrophysics and computational physics project this term. I have been doing a lot of ...
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1answer
90 views

My orbiting body is orbiting about the wrong focus of it's elliptical orbit… why?

I am coding in c++ and am computing the position of an orbiting body as a function of time. Everything is almost working. I have a nice elliptical orbit. Except, my orbiting body speeds up as it ...
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67 views

Difference in calculated and simulated ellipsies

My task here is to determine orbit parameters, using current values: $\mu=GM$ - standard gravitational parameter $r$ - distance to the object with Mass $M$ $v$ - speed of the object in the point $r$ ...
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1answer
57 views

Orbital speed in an elliptic orbit [duplicate]

I want to have a general solution for calculating orbits. Wikipedia says how to put object on circle orbit. We must give it speed $v_1 = \sqrt{g(h_o +R)} $ Where $h_o$ - is the orbit height, and $R$ ...
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1answer
55 views

Help for orbits of planets

Suppose that an asteroid) that moves at a velocity $v$ passes near to a planet: now I know that the gravity force of the planet will curve the trajectory of the asteroid so I tried to make a draw of ...
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2answers
140 views

Ground velocity of satellite

I was wondering whether there is a simple formula in order to calculate the ground velocity (the velocity with which the satellite is moving along the planet's surface) on basis of the orbital ...
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1answer
141 views

Determine orbital position after change in velocity

I am working on a satellite simulator for a project/game and I am stuck on this one bit of physics. So far I have a satellite that revolves around earth on a 2D plane following Keplerian motion using ...
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1answer
76 views

Because position is relative, is it possible to see a star orbiting a planet? [duplicate]

Position is relative, as it depends on the reference frame. We usually visualize the sun at the center of the solar system. BUT, we can also visualize the Earth at the center of the solar system, ...
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1answer
180 views

Determine if an object is in orbit

I am planning on doing a space simulation program with full physics and as part of a hack to avoid too many issues with number precision I was going to switch orbiting objects to a calculated orbit ...
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1answer
101 views

Is the trajectory of the Moon around the Earth stable? [duplicate]

I understand how mathematically is possible to have one object with elliptical or circular orbit around another object in space. so can I think of it as a limit cycle? If yes, then is it stable or ...
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1answer
94 views

Perihelion Advance in curve space

I've been doing some work that involves particle's motion subjected to central forces. I was trying to compute the perihelion advance of the particle's path. For that I've been following this ...
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1answer
145 views

How to find distance of closest approach for a Schwarzschild geodesic?

What is the distance of closest approach in this Wikipedia article? I can't seem to find its definition, and this other question doesn't have an answer I can understand.
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2answers
191 views

Saturn ring stabilization

The rings of Saturn are the most extensive planetary ring system of any planet in the Solar System. I'm wondering, what power is primarily responsible for that stability? © Public Image by NASA ...
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1answer
106 views

Simulating an orbit, primary is not at focus

I've been toying around with some -very- simple orbital simulators, mostly using preexisting physics libraries (I took a layman's stab at doing it with vectors too). The thing that is confusing me is ...
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2answers
566 views

Result of increasing the radius of earth?

How can increasing the radius of earth may cause an impact on the solar system ? Like, would earth may start making a bigger orbit (due to increase in size and wait) or vice versa ? or else ? PS: The ...
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1answer
146 views

What are “cycles of anomaly” and “cycles of longitude”?

In several early (pre-1600) astronomical texts I read about "cycles of anomaly" and "cycles of longitude", but it us unclear to me what these terms mean. They were clearly familiar to authors at the ...
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1answer
149 views

Cyclic co-ordinates implying the constant velocity motion of center of mass of a system of particles

I'm reading the section on Central Force in my textbook (Goldstein's Classical Mechanics has a similar argument in the chapter titled "The Central Force Problem", first section), where we have the ...
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1answer
133 views

What's the amount of deviation of cellestial orbits from perfect ellipses

It's well known that the planets don't orbit the sun in perfect circles and the characteristics of the elliptical orbits which serve as better approximations to their motion have been calculated ...
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2answers
43 views

How does the Moon stay in orbit?

How does the Moon stay in orbit? The Moon has not reached escape velocity from the Earth, then how does the Moon stays in orbit?
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85 views

Getting first and second time derivative of mean motion of spacecraft - without TLE?

The Celestrak website provides information on reading the TLE ( Two-Line Element Set ) format. In Line 1, Column 34-43 & 45-52 give information about ...