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

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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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2answers
69 views

Finding sphere of influence in multibody system

I would like to draw a boundary illustrating the sphere of influence of each body in a 3 body system. What is the best way to find such a boundary? My understanding is at the edge an SoI is the ...
4
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6answers
1k views

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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1answer
39 views

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, ...
2
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0answers
24 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
1k views

How does Earth carry Moon with it, if it can not force Moon to touch it by gravitational force?

Earth's gravitational force is acting on its Moon in such a way that it forces the Moon to rotate round its orbit by centripetal force and carries it while rotating round the Sun by gravitational ...
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1answer
52 views

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 ...
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1answer
27 views

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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1answer
50 views

Robertson-Walker metric and stable orbits

The RW metric is defined using 4 spatial dimensions, but stable planetary orbits require 3 spatial dimensions. Does this indicate a problem with the assumption of the RW metric to describe the cosmos? ...
6
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1answer
311 views

Does a tidally locked planet have seasons?

Could a tidally locked planet have seasons? According to my understanding, a tidally locked planet rotates around itself exactly once per rotation around its sun. However, if the axis of rotation of ...
11
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3answers
235 views

What could cause an asymmetric orbit in a symmetric potential?

My question can be summarized as: Given a potential with a symmetry (e.g. $z\rightarrow-z$), should I expect orbits in that potential to exhibit the same symmetry? Below is the full motivation for ...
4
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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0answers
54 views

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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1answer
709 views

Calculating semi-major axis of binary stars from velocity, position and mass

I'm trying to calculate the 'instantaneous' semi-major axis of a binary system with two equal (known) mass stars for an $N$-body simulation. I know their velocities and positions at a given time, but ...
2
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4answers
906 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 ...
3
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3answers
110 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
70 views

Calculate orbit height from tangential velocity

Is it possible to calculate the altitude of a satellite orbiting a planet, just from the planet's mass and the satellite's velocity, assuming that the satellite is in a perfect circular orbit? If so, ...
0
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3answers
91 views

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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4answers
2k views

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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2answers
53 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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0answers
31 views

Could an object higher than the stationary orbit be returned to the outgoing point on this orbit?

In the question Centrifuge speed of an object higher than a stationary orbit, I asked: Does an object higher than the stationary orbit move slower or faster around the world than the top of a tower ...
0
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2answers
78 views

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?
2
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0answers
82 views

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 ...
2
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3answers
67 views

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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14answers
5k views

Why do we say that the earth moves around the sun?

In history we are taught that the Catholic Church was wrong, because the Sun does not move around the Earth, instead the Earth moves around the Sun. But then in physics we learn that movement is ...
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1answer
199 views

Satellites and gravitation

A satellite with mass $m$ orbits a planet of mass $M$ in a circular path with radius $r$ and velocity $v$. Due to some internal technical failure, the satellite breaks into two, similar parts with ...
2
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1answer
38 views

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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0answers
9 views

Is it possible to calculate Lagrangian isolines for local stars?

Is it possible to calculate Lagrangian isolines for local stars? SciFi descriptions of 'hyperspace' always talk about travel routes between the stars following some sort of route. As a thought ...
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1answer
30 views

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 ...
4
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3answers
83 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
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1answer
74 views

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 ...
3
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0answers
41 views

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 ...
62
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5answers
6k views

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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0answers
62 views

Effect of small variable transverse force on satellite orbital precession

Consider a small satellite which moves in a 2D elliptical orbit around a much larger body (e.g. the Sun) under the influence of Newtonian gravitational acceleration $$Ar = G.M/d^2 $$ Next imagine ...
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0answers
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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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4answers
4k views

Why don't planets have Circular orbits?

This might be a completely wrong question, but this is bothering me since many days ago. Given the mass (Sun) curves the space around it, gravitation is the result of such curved space (Correct me if ...
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1answer
51 views

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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1answer
342 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?
9
votes
1answer
108 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
113 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
60 views

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 ...
5
votes
5answers
485 views

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 ...
2
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0answers
275 views

Projectile motion equations @ very (!) high starting velocity

I've already searched Physics StackExchange for some similar question but I didn't find anything about this. Assumptions: Earth is a perfect sphere with it's core (X,Y,Z) -> (0,0,0) as a ...
1
vote
5answers
118 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
222 views

Gravitational slingshot maximum

I have recently read an article about gravitation slingshot assist used by Voyagers 1-2, and was thinking on why this hasn't been used for travel between solar and other systems. I mean sligshot can ...
6
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2answers
566 views

How did pre-Copernican astronomers accurately predict planetary position?

Copernican elements (circular orbital elements) are not very accurate. But Copernicus simplified our understanding a great deal by placing the Sun at the center of the system. Im astonished by the ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

Acceleration due to gravity?

I was looking into orbitals and found something I haven't been able to understand. http://www.math.ubc.ca/~cass/courses/m309-01a/hunter/satelliteOrbits.html There is a part on the page which states ...
7
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5answers
516 views

Why aren't all rocks in space orbiting bigger rocks?

Why do only big rocks (planets) have satellites, and not small ones? Why doesn't cosmic dust orbit rocks that are many times heavier than the dust grains? If dust is still too heavy then what about ...
2
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1answer
90 views

What is the constant $K_1$ in these orbital equations?

I want to compute the derivatives of argument of periapsis and longitude of the ascending node of the orbit of a GPS satellite from the following formula. $$\frac{d\Omega}{dt} = -K \cos{i} \\ ...
7
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2answers
860 views

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 ...