# Tagged Questions

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

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### Reduced mass and energy representation?

If we have a gravitational system where $m<<M$ then we can write down the energy of $m$ as follows: $$E=\frac{1}{2}m(\frac{dr}{dt})^2+\frac{L^2}{2mr^2}-\frac{GMm}{r}$$ but if $m$ is not small ...
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### Build a ring around Earth, then remove the supports

What would happen if we decided to build a giant ring that managed to wrap around the whole world, end to end that was supported with pillars all along the ring and then the supports all suddenly ...
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### Is there anything interesting about an n-body system whose potential energy is constant?

I am curious about a system of gravitating bodies with particular characteristics. Before describing the characteristics of the system, let me say what I want to know about it: Can this be a ...
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### Change in velocity of a circular orbit?

For a body in a circular orbit will any (i.e. however small) decrease in velocity mean it falls to earth or will it go into an elliptical orbit? I originally thought that it was the first (i.e. falls ...
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### Is the best data about Mercury's perihelion shift really 60 years old?

The advance of the perihelion of Mercury is one of the four classical tests of general relativity. I wonder what's the most precise modern measurement of it. However, while scanning the literature, ...
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### Correlation between equations of elliptical orbits and pendulums

The equation for the period of a pendulum is: $$T=2π\sqrt{\frac{L}{g}}$$ Where 'g' is the acceleration due to the gravitational field and 'L' is the length. The equation for the period in of a body ...
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### 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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### 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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### Planetary Motion [closed]

L/m = 7.8e10 2E/m = 0. Probe is near earth. I checked eccentricity and it is 1--so we know it is a parabola. As such, how do I find when it is closest to earth? I only know how to do this with ...
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### What happens as the stable orbital velocity approaches the speed of light?

Based on my understanding of the relationship between planetary mass, orbital radius and the velocity for stable orbit, a satellite orbiting a mass equivalent to Earth with an altitude of ~5mm would ...
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### Kepler's First Law of Planetary Motion: Whats at the other focus? [duplicate]

Kepler's first law states that the orbit of every planet is an ellipse with the Sun at one of the two foci. Is there anything significant about the location, or any unusual properties about the other ...
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### Finding the total energy of satellite in orbit with the Earth

I'm given a problem where a satellite with mass $m$ is orbiting the Earth with mass $M$ and radius $R$ ($m<<M$) in a elliptical orbit. The ellipse has semimajor axis $a$ and semiminor axis $b$. ...
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### Two-Body problem confusion regarding equations of motion

I'm reading John Taylor's Classical Mechanics text, and I'm a little confused about something in chapter 8, which deals with the two-body problem with central forces. The issue is with the equations ...
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### Why does matter gather as discs around massive objects? [duplicate]

Why do discs, like rings of Saturn and the spiral shape of our galaxy form around massive objects, instead of just a (spherical?) cloud of matter?
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### What is $g$ when traveling quickly around a planet?

I am trying to model a rocket orbiting a planet. I want to simplify the problem so that the rocket is travelling along an infinitely long flat surface with a $g$ along the $y$-axis. This is what I ...
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### Why is the Oort cloud spherical?

Having read up a bit about the Oort cloud hypothesis, I find I don't quite understand this. Why is the Oort cloud spherical while the rest of the solar system is disk-shaped?
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### What would be the dynamics of a double-planet system, similar to Earth / Moon, but with both bodies nearly Earth-sized?

Researching a sci-fi story involving a "twin-planet" system. Is such an arrangement (however unlikely) physically possible? And if so, must they be tidally locked with each other, similar to the Moon, ...
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### Can a general n-body system emit gravitational waves?

I know that (for example) binary neutron stars can emit radiation in the form of gravitational waves. This question got me thinking about the case of three or more objects. I wrote in my answer that ...
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### Why does the moon stay with the Earth?

Naturally, I know it to be true that the moon goes around the Earth and that the Earth goes around the sun. However, attempting to picture this has confused me a bit. Why doesn't the moon just get ...
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### How would the solar system change if the Earth were removed

I was reading a closed question with the same title and wondered if it would be on-topic with the following change: Could a large-mass object from interstellar space pass through the inner solar-...
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### Stability of Laplace resonance

Someone is making a mod for the video game Kerbal Space Program (KSP), which implements propper N-body with point masses into the game (and possibly in the future also other dynamics), instead of the ...
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### How to show circular orbit as a precessing ellipse

A uniform distribution of dust in the solar system adds to the gravitational attraction of the sun on the planet an additional force linear in $r$ where m is the mass of the planet, k is a constant (...
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### How does an electron undergoing uniform circular motion exactly lose energy?

One of the main reasons for the failure of the Rutherford model of atomic structure, it is famously stated, is that the electron undergoing circular orbit loses energy since due to its centripetal ...
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### Is the Moon freely falling towards the Earth?

The Moon is revolving around the Earth and its centripetal acceleration is towards the Earth. Does it mean that the Moon is freely falling towards Earth? What is the cause of the Moon orbiting around ...
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### 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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### At what altitude above equator do gravitational and centrifugal forces cancel each other? [closed]

How high has to be a tower at equator to get on its peak the same - but of course inverted sing - value of gravitational and centrifugal forces?
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### Why does unequal mass distribution cause orbital decay?

It's well known that in low orbits around astronomical bodies with uneven mass distribution, orbits will shift around, and the orbiting object may crash into the surface. Why is this the case? ...
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### Do doomsday arguments influence doomsday hypotheses?

The doomsday argument supposes that in the absence of any other knowledge, if we know the age of something now, we may assume that we are seeing it in the middle of its lifetime and then calculate our ...
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### How far ahead can we predict solar and lunar eclipses?

The solar system is non-integrable and has chaos. The sun-earth-moon three-body system might be chaotic. So, how far into the future can we predict solar eclipses and/or lunar eclipses? How about ...
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### Why doesn't no rotation imply tidal locking?

That I know of, in most parts of physics 0 movement means the body is resting, all the forces are in equilibrium. Why in orbital mechanic 0 rotation speed doesn't mean tidal lock as it would be the ...
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### By what factor a planet travels (in circular orbit) faster than another

Question: It is known that radius of Neptune in a circular orbit around the sun is 30 times greater than that of Earth's. Does Neptune travel faster than earth and by what factor? Attempt: For a ...
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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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### Potential that is proportional to distance

Does anybody know of a treatment of the case where a potential field is proportional to the distance, i.e. in 3 dimensions: $$V(\vec{r}) ~\sim ~ |\vec{r}|~?$$ Essentially the question is: What are ...
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### When Did Structures Begin to Orbit in the Universe?

In Big Bang Cosmology, I am familiar with the radiation era, and the moment of last scattering, but I am just not familiar with the physics of orbits, or of the “falling outward,“ if you will, that ...
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### Numerical tests of Titius–Bode formula for artificial planetary orbits [duplicate]

Titius–Bode law is an empirical formula stating that positions of planets in Solar system is described by: $$a=0.4+0.3 \times 2^m [AU],$$ where $m$ are natural numbers. All planets, with exception ...
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### Does the Sun “drag the solar system through space”?

In this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jHsq36_NTU#t=55 at 0:55, it is claimed that "the sun is [...] dragging the planets in its wake". Is this true? My understanding is that the sun and ...
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### Earth-Moon system

While learning about motion of centre of mass, I came across this statement online, It is also more accurate to say that the Earth and Moon together revolve about their common center of mass. ...
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### 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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### How can a planet gravitationally capture objects?

I would expect that any asteroid or other object originating far away but passing near a planet would pick up speed and energy as it approaches, but unless it comes into contact with the atmosphere (...
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### Conservation of angular momentum in Earth-Moon system

We all know about the fact that tidal friction is slowly slowing down the Earth's rotation about its axis, and that subsequently the Moon is slowly drifting away, in order for the angular momentum of ...
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### Movement of the Moon

EDIT:Recently , I have been observing the moon and i realised the moon seems to be moving very quickly from one place to another, and back to its initial position in a short cycle(few minutes),the ...
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### Where does the extra kinetic energy come from in a gravitational slingshot?

I read in this answer in this site that the KE a free-falling ball acquires is not originated by the attracting body but that energy was actually stored in the ball when it had been lifted to the ...
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### Why are orbits elliptical? [duplicate]

Just wanted to know why planetary orbits get to be elliptical? I'm not debating how stable these orbits are (obviously almost completely stable), but why don't planets revolve in the special ellipse ...
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### 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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### Having trouble weighing the sun

So I gather the way you (and Vera Rubin) calculate a galaxy's mass is by measuring a star's orbital velocity $v$ and its distance $R$ from the galactic center, and then plugging them into this ...
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### Find a central force given the orbit

I've been trying to solve the following problem for a long time. Let's consider a particle of mass $m$ in $\mathbb{R}^3$ with polar coordinates $(r,\theta,\phi)$. The particle moves on the orbit ...