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

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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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4answers
447 views

Why all rocks are not orbiting bigger rocks in space?

Why only big rocks (planets) have satellites and not small ones? Why cosmic dust doesn't orbit rocks that are many times heavier than the dust grains? If dust is still too heavy then what about ...
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2answers
219 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
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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
53 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
52 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
137 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
174 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
62 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
43 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
449 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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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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2answers
45 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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1answer
168 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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0answers
67 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
39 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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0answers
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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2answers
57 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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5answers
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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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0answers
28 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
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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
53 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
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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
97 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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0answers
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How to calculate launch angle for tangentially launched satellites?

What is the value of theta for a satellite not falling back to the Earth if it is launched from the direction tangent to the surface of the Earth? I have found the escape velocity which is 11.18km/s, ...
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13answers
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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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6answers
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What is the simplest way to prove that the Earth orbits the Sun?

Assume you're talking to someone ignorant of the basic facts of astronomy. How would you prove to them that the Earth orbits the Sun? Similarly, how would you prove to them that the Moon orbits ...
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1answer
50 views

Why is there a gap in porkchop plots?

On a porkchop plot for a given departure date (X axis), why are there two local energy minimums along the arrival date (Y-axis) for a transfer between Earth and Mars? The Hohmann transfer orbit seems ...
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4answers
2k views

Historically, how do we know that Earth moves around Sun? And it does so in an elliptical orbit?

I know the basics of solar system like how Earth moves around Sun, and that we have so many planets, elliptical orbit of earth, and how far is sun from earth etc etc. I want to take a step back and ...
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2answers
62 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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2answers
65 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 ...
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3answers
77 views

Why doesn't an orbiting body keep accelerating?

As a physics newbie I'm trying to get a grip on basic orbital mechanics. I think I'm beginning to get grasp on how bodies interact with each other. When a body approaches another body it accelerates ...
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1answer
45 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
39 views

Why lunar day lasts exactly one month? [duplicate]

Therefore we don't see dark side of the moon. Is the core of the Moon closer to the Earth than the center of the moon? Or what is the reason?
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How does the earth move?

My son who is 5 years old is asking me a question about how the earth moves around the sun. What answer should I give him?
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2answers
174 views

How explain this perturbing equation about the 43 arcseconds?

The planetary orbits have been studied as ellipses but the solar system is in motion in relation to the distant stars. Their path is along the tip of an helix and the ecliptic plane is a convenient ...
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1answer
106 views

What are the determining factors for the velocity of orbiting bodies?

Please bear with me, as I'm not in the field of physics, this question may seem a bit simple. The scenario is the following; A specific stable orbit radius of a small body, say a satellite, to ...
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2answers
541 views

What causes the orbital eccentricity?

I found some websites trying to attribute this to the external other forces affecting the 2 body problem to follow an elliptical rather than a circular orbit, but I am not convinced though. I think ...
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2answers
188 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 ...
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3answers
77 views

Geostationary orbit and rotation speed of a planet

Assume for planets similar to Earth but with different rotation speeds (including zero), and we put a satellites at altitude of 35 786 km/hr (similar to the Geostationary orbit or earth), with speed ...
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3answers
115 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 ...
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5answers
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How close does light have to be, to orbit a perfect sphere the size and mass of Earth?

The moon orbits Earth at about $380,\!000 \,\mathrm{km}$ away from it, at around $3,600 \,\mathrm{km}$ an hour. I was thinking, with light traveling at $300,\!000 \,\mathrm{km/s}$, how close to ...
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1answer
47 views

Launching a unpropelled rocket

I have read about the application of railguns and other ground powered launch, where there is no need to carry any propellant in the rocket. I am wondering, to what velocity should the vehicle ...
4
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4answers
1k views

Does mass affect speed of orbit at a certain distance?

Does the mass of both the parent object, and the child object affect the speed at which the child object orbits the parent object? I thought it didn't (something like $T^2 \approx R^3$) until I saw ...
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1answer
34 views

Leaving a stellar black hole's orbit [closed]

Say Earth is orbiting a black hole 1900 km in diameter, 1.5E33 kg in mass, and has a gravitational pull of 110,858,725,761.77 m/s^2. It's around 40 AU away Earth's orbital speed is 129,305.15664 m/s. ...
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1answer
39 views

Quick question on derivation of mass of star

How do I show that for a binary star system, if one star has mass $M_s$, speed $V_s$, period $P$, the mass of the other star is given by: $$M_P^3 \approx \frac{V_s^3}{2\pi G} PM_s^2$$ I showed it ...
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4answers
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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
145 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 ...