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

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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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36 views

Superman physics

Spoiler alert for the animated film "Superman vs. The Elite": In the ending fight scene Superman flies off with one of the (more or less human) villains and when he comes back alone he answers to ...
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487 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 ...
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29 views

Orbital Speed and Centripetal Acceleration [on hold]

I need help in solving this A space station is in circular orbit around earth at an altitude of 5.0×10^5m. If the station makes one revolution every 95 min compute its; A. Orbital speed ...
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514 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 ...
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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} \\ ...
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2answers
842 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 ...
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1answer
181 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 ...
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4answers
73 views

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 ...
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51 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 ...
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36 views

How much would the orbit of the earth change if we launched all 'garbage' into outer space

I know it's not economically feasible, but is there a simple equation telling you the ellipse earth would follow if you theoretically launch all of the landfills, i.e. garbage, beyond our orbit, thus ...
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61 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 ...
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1answer
41 views

Unexpected eccentricity in moon orbit simulation

I've used Mathematica's NDSolve function to calculate the orbit of the Moon around the Earth. I used the following initial positions (perigee): ...
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1answer
45 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 ...
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1answer
47 views

Reduced mass and harmonic mean

In two-body problems, a reduced mass has the form: $\frac{m_1 m_2}{m_1+m_2}$, which by appearance, is half of the harmonic mean of $m_1$ and $m_2$: ...
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4answers
2k views

Can a balloon float into space? (+orbital velocity)

After watching the recent "space jump" a question arose. Why can a balloon not float into space? Can one be made/designed to do this? Next, everything in orbit is falling back to earth. It only ...
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1k views

Put a bullet into orbit around the moon

While I was watching this beautiful video, the absence of air friction pushed me to ask myself: While standing on the surface of the moon, what is the initial velocity by which you can fire a bullet ...
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1answer
30 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? ...
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1answer
26 views

How to determine satellite position in J2000 from latitude, longitude and distance from Earth?

Due to my task of writing orbit prediction routines I am trying to understand the reference frames better and how to use them ( particularly for Earth orbits ). I think I get the idea of what ECI ...
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3answers
73 views

The motion of the particle satisfies $\textbf{v} = \textbf{c}\times \textbf{r}$

Why does a particle with position $\textbf r(t)$ that satisfies $\textbf{v}(t) = \textbf{c}\times \textbf{r}(t)$ follow a circle that lies in a plane perpendicular to $\textbf{c}$ with centre on a ...
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2answers
86 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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5answers
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 ...
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1answer
172 views

How to derive Kepler's equation?

The Internet lacks, so far as I know, a derivation of Kepler's equation $$ M = E - e\text{sin}(E) $$ where $M$ is the mean anomaly, $E$ the eccentric anomaly and $e$ the eccentricity. Since there ...
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1answer
75 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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4answers
262 views

What's is the origin of Orbital Angular Momentum of electrons in atoms?

Consider the Hydrogen 1s electron. We know that, in the quantum picture, the electron isn't orbiting or rotating at all, rather we simply state that the electron is spread over the entire space with ...
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1answer
47 views

Spaghettification while still in orbit

THIS POST does a pretty good job of giving an idea as to what the differences in forces becomes as you approach a black hole. For a small enough black hole, you would reach the dangerous tidal force ...
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2answers
451 views

Angular speed of the planets

Do all the planets in our solar system have the same angular speed? Physics teacher says yes, my research is not crystal clear. I want to make sure I have the right information for future reference. ...
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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 ...
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61 views

How to show that the gravitational potential energy of a two particle system is -2 times the total kinetic energy, without using the virial theorem?

Consider a two-particle system with identical masses, orbiting in circles about their center of mass. I'm supposed to prove that: $$U_p = -2U_k$$ With $U_p$ potential energy of the system, and $U_k$ ...
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2answers
96 views

Is Moon really rotating about its axis?

Wikipedia says yes but on Newtonian arguments. From general relativistic point of view Moon is not rotating but moving along geodesic trajectory. And like parallel transport of a vector (pointing to ...
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2answers
234 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

Why does Pluto's orbit cross Neptune's orbit?

Why does Pluto's orbit cross Neptune's orbit? Is this a fault in Newton's law of gravitation?
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6answers
3k views

Why are the orbits of planets in the Solar System nearly circular?

Except for Mercury, the planets in the Solar System have very small eccentricities. Is this property special to the Solar System? Wikipedia states: Most exoplanets with orbital periods of 20 ...
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1answer
68 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 ...
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1answer
55 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, ...
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2answers
150 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 ...
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2answers
329 views

How will the super massive black hole affect our galaxy?

I've recently learned that the general consensus is that several (if not, most) galaxies have super massive black holes in their center, in particular the Milky Way. This, at least to me, makes ...
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2answers
72 views

Could two identical stars revolve around each other in a common orbit if we only account for Newtonian physics?

Both a parent star and its planet revolve around the center of mass of the system, the reason we see stellar wobble. But if we take this to be true, which it is, there can be a configuration in which ...
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1answer
44 views

What would happen to a rocket car in a torus-shaped spaceship that encompasses the earth?

Suppose we built a enormous torus shaped space station that encompasses and leaves about 330 kilometers between it and the earth. So it's radius is about 6,371 kilometers . Obviously, this structure ...
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1answer
452 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 ...
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71 views

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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1answer
41 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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35 views

What would the properties of a particle be that would allow light to orbit it? [duplicate]

What would the properties of a particle be that would allow light to orbit it? Light travels fast. Really fast. Almost to the point where we consider that it's instantaneous, and moves only in a ...
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5answers
1k views

Why are these periods the same: a low earth orbit and oscillations through the center of the earth?

Related: Why does earth have a minimum orbital period? I was learning about GPS satellite orbits and came across that Low Earth Orbits (LEO) have a period of about 88 minutes at an altitude of 160 ...
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33 views

Terrestrial Space Elevator Construction - Plausability

Framework If there was a cable constructed at the equator about the circumference of the Earth, and if this cable had sufficient strength to remain intact while erect, call this tensile strength T. ...
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1answer
96 views

Where are the time dilatational effects of orbital motion and gravitational acceleration equal?

Nearly four years ago, upon hearing of the observation of time dilation in two optical atomic clocks at an elevation one metre apart, due to acceleration towards earths centre of gravity by Chou, C. ...
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5answers
3k views

Is it possible to have a geostationary satellite over the poles?

My understanding of orbital mechanics is very limited, but as I understand geostationary satellite, they stay in place by having an orbital speed corresponding to the spot they're orbiting over. So ...
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3answers
55 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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5answers
3k views

Is there a small enough planet or asteroid you can orbit by jumping?

I just had this idea of orbiting a planet just by jumping and then flying upon it on its orbit kind of like superman. So, Would it be theoretically possible or is there a chance of that small body to ...
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2answers
112 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 = ...