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

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133 views

How did Kepler arrive at his laws?

How did Kepler arrive at his laws? If one already knows the distances to the planets (and the eccentricity of the orbits etc.) it is understandable how one might proceed to establish the second and ...
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313 views

Why is the orbital resonance of the Galilean moons stable?

It is well known that the orbits of Ganymede, Europa and Io are in a 4:2:1 resonance. Most online sources (including but not limited to Wikipedia) say that such an orbital resonance, along with the ...
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218 views

Derivation of Universal Variables

Does anyone know of link to the derivation of the Universal Variables? This is in regards to Kepler's equations. The Wikipedia link didn't have enough information for me, and the Colorado page ...
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94 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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36 views

Why does planetary spin affect the stability of orbits?

Reading about the Hill Sphere I notice that "the region of stability for retrograde orbits at a large distance from the primary, is larger than the region for prograde orbits at a large distance from ...
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67 views

Escape velocity for Schwarzschild metric

I can't fill in the gaps in my solution to this and assistance or a reference would be appreciated. The question begins with the straightforward derivation of the EoM for a massive particle orbiting ...
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60 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 ...
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142 views

Isn't the Jacobi constant just the Lagrangian times 2?

At this wikipedia page the Jacobi constant is expressed as: $$C_J=2\left(\frac{v^2}{2}-U\right)$$ where $U$ is the potential energy and $v$ is velocity. If kinetic energy $T$ is defined (as it ...
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110 views

Travel time in elliptical orbit around the sun

Hi I'm calculating a problem, and I think it ought to be correct - but the result I get isn't. The problem is described as follow: A spacecraft is traveling from Earth to Venus in an elliptical, ...
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118 views

Is Earth/Luna tidal lock approaching faster?

Wikipedia pegs the mass of Earth at $5.972\cdot 10^{24}\,\text{kg}$ or $5.972\cdot 10^{21}\,\text{metric tons}$. Assuming Earth accumulates approximately $30,000\,\text{metric tons}$ annually. To ...
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206 views

Calculation of a Gravity Resonance Keyhole

Can anyone describe the mathematics behind the calculation of a resonance keyhole (for a two-body model)? It seems like the size and position of the keyhole should be a function only of mass and ...
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124 views

What are the equations of motion that model near light speed orbits of a massive body about incredibly massive bodies?

In Kip Thorne's recently published book, The Science of Interstellar, he describes, by means of an illustration, the complex nature of a spacecraft orbiting a massive black hole with velocities ~ ...
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153 views

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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38 views

Would a large, small mass object in orbit experience induced rotation

Imagine a large (multiple earth radii), very small-mass ring orbiting The Sun. Half of the ring would be closer to The Sun than the outer half. Since orbital velocity decreases with distance, two free ...
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96 views

Computing 2d Orbital Parameters

When using formulas that describe a 2d orbit around a planetary body: is it actually OK for the semi-major axis $a$ to be negative? when $a$ is negative, it is impossible to compute mean anomaly ...
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56 views

Where are the L3, L4, and L5 points of a hyperbolic orbit?

Do the L3, L4, L5 points exist in hyperbolic orbits? If yes, then where do they lie?
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89 views

How to travel between tidally locked binary planets

Two planets of roughly the same volume and mass are orbiting each other. What would be the most efficient way to travel from one to the other? Seems unlikely, but could a rocket positioned at the ...
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406 views

For two planets in a 2:1 mean motion resonance , where will their periastron and apastron points be?

I want to animate the changing orbits of planets when they enter a mean motion resonance. Using a 2:1 resonance, I want to show a low-mass inner planet and a low-mass outer planet being tugged by a ...
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297 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 ...
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69 views

Is there any free open source planetary orbit simulator software?

I need a free open source planetary orbit simulator software that should be able to calculate orbit stability for a couple simple planetary systems. Basically, I need to calculate orbit durations for ...
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105 views

Reduced Three-body problem

I know that three-body problem in celestial mechanics can't be solved analytically in general. But suppose that the 3rd body is much smaller than the others, so it does not perturb their orbits. This ...
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85 views

How to calculate orbital eccentricity from the ratio of satellites' velocities?

I have a problem with working out how to calculate the orbital eccentricity from the ratio of two satellites' linear velocities. We know that two satellites encircles the Earth in two elliptical ...
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188 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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94 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 ...
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58 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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169 views

Application of trigonometry to the slingshot effect/gravity assist

I have been trying to understand the formula $$v_f^{2}=v_i^{2}+2V(V(1-\cos\beta)+v_i(\cos(\alpha-\beta)-\cos\alpha))$$ as it relates to Fig. 2 on page 5 of this exposition: ...
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164 views

Compute and plot satellite position on 2D Earth map

I would like to create a simple satellite tracking software, that will compute the position of a satellite at any time, and show its location on a 2D map of Earth. Let's assume it is possible to ...
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30 views

Ratio of position error of orbiter to the size of the orbit

This is an assignment question for online AP physics. As if it isn't already tough. This question is killing me. I even asked my physics teacher from last year and my calculus teacher. It stumped ...
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120 views

What causes an electron to return from a higher orbit to a lower orbit

Ultraviolet light can cause electrons from Hydrogen gas to jump from a lower energy orbit to a higher energy orbit. What causes the electrons to return from the higher energy orbit to the lower energy ...
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57 views

Would ferromagnetic space debris have been magnetized by their orbit in the Earth's magnetosphere?

Given a nail, and a magnet it is possible to magnetize the nail by patiently rubbing the nail until it is magnetized; albeit the field strength may be less than that of the source. With several ...
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16 views

How can contact binaries persist?

This answer discusses contact binaries, which I did not even know existed. I can understand how they could exist for a short time (maybe) as gravitational waves carry off energy that causes the stars' ...
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19 views

Calculating initial velocity to achieve orbital motion using verlet integration

I'm attempting to build a simple computer programme which models bodies orbiting other bodies. I've implemented a Verlet integrator (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verlet_integration) and I can ...
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23 views

Central Force Scattering in Goldstein

On page 108 in Goldstein 3rd edition in the paragraph after equation (3.94) he says that $\psi$` can be obtained from the orbit equation (3.36) using the limits as $r_0=\infty$ $r=r_m$ which the ...
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30 views

Hyper/parabolic kepler orbits and “mean anomaly”

In an elliptical kepler orbit there is an easy recipe to describe the motion/position of a satellite at time $t$. One just follows the following steps - an important detail for me is that the ...
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33 views

Bertrand's Theorem: Perturbative Methods Leading to $1/r^3$ Solution

My professor and I have been working on a proof of Bertrand's Theorem using perturbative methods. We have arrived at a solution yielding 1/r^3, which we had presumed to be an incorrect result. While ...
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27 views

Minimal set of invariants to specify a Kepler orbit

In the Kepler problem, we know that there are various invariants, including: Energy Angular momentum vector Runge-Lenz vector All together these consist of 7 parameters. On the other hand, the ...
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41 views

How do you calculate perihelion precession in the general spherically symmetric space time?

I am trying to find the approximate solution of the differential equation obtained for the the motion of massive particle around Riessner-Nordstrom-AdS solution, equation and its solution are given in ...
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63 views

Orbital elevators and the Coriolis effect

Consider an orbital elevator simply modelled as a large mass in geostationary orbit (altitude approx 36,000km) around the Earth, connected to a point on the equator via a strong, light, likely ...
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22 views

What is the particle distribution in Saturn's Ring System?

In watching the scientifically scream-inducing film/movie 'Interstellar', there was a shot of the spacecraft moving through the Rings of Saturn. In this shot, and in every graphical representation of ...
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30 views

Question about changing the orbits of Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs)

So, lets say, hypothetically, for space travel or terraforming, we want to move a good sized mostly ice Kuiper Belt Object into a stable planetary orbit around the earth or mars. Looking at the ...
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14 views

Can objects orbit around gravitational lensing of a black hole's gravity waves?

In a previous post I was told that gravitational lenses focus gravitational waves. Can objects orbit around gravitational lensing of a black hole's gravity waves?
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28 views

Obtaining angular velocity of a general orbit

Provided you are given a effective potential function i.e. $$ V_{eff}=\dfrac{J^2}{2ml^2sin^2(\theta)} + mgl(1-cos(\theta))$$ how do you obtain the angular velocity for different types of orbits; i.e. ...
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40 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 ...
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40 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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100 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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400 views

Alternative derivations of vis-viva equation?

The proof of the vis-viva equation of orbital mechanics found on wikipedia looks, in my opinion, somewhat convoluted and unenlightening. Considering the simplicity and importance of the vis-viva ...
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40 views

Relative effects of forces

Excuse me for my ignorance but I really couldn't find a solution. According to Einstein, every happening is possible to describe by both of interacted objects. Is there any other way to describe the ...
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147 views

Calculate trajectory of projectile with gravity from disk planets in 2D?

I'm making a 2D game where you control a spaceship and fly between disk-formed planets of differing size (mass/pull). The planets are small and you can fly near several at once. I need to calculate ...
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115 views

Simulating orbits using Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation

I've been having a go at programming an orbital simulator from scratch (without using any existing libraries) using the formula below to find the acceleration first for particle A and then for ...
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103 views

What is the equation for Lin-Shu density wave theory?

Lin-Shu density wave theory is a (very good) theory to explain the spiral arm structure of spiral galaxies. Where can I find the equations that underlie this theory? I've seen its computer ...