Celestial body that orbits following an elliptical path around a star or stellar remnant.

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Is it possible that only one hemisphere of a planet has an atmosphere?

Suppose there is a tidally locked planet orbiting a star. The planet's surface consists of a global ocean, that is, liquid water. At the inner hemisphere the temperature is so high that the water is ...
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2k views

Does Kepler's law only apply to planets?

Does Kepler's law only apply to planets? If so why doesn't it apply to other objects undergoing circular motion? By Kepler's law I'm referring to $T^2 \propto r^3$
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251 views

How could Horrocks have measured the AU?

I have always understood that the great historical significance of the transits of Venus, and the reason for the expeditions mounted to observe it, were that, by observing it simultaneously from two ...
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49 views

Hypothetical binary planet of different size and mass, would they tend to have the same size and mass?

Imagine a binary planet where one of the planet is of the size and mass of Jupiter (planet A) while the other would be like the Earth's moon (planet B). Imagine that this system is extremely stable (...
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1answer
155 views

Link between Earth and Mars

I am trying to the calculate the link budget for link between a ground station on Earth (with a particular latitude and longitude) and a rover at a particular location on the surface of Mars, either ...
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1answer
32 views

For the long-term evolution of atmosphere/orbit, when is perihelion more important than mean distance?

When we want to figure out the long-term evolution of a planet's atmosphere/orbit, when is perihelion more important than mean distance? E.g. some processes (like Jeans Escape and escape of ...
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92 views

What influence has the distance of the moon on the height of the tides?

As the Moon recedes from the Earth, are the tides getting taller or shorter? If the Moon is, someday, twice as far from the Earth, how many high tides will be there be each day?
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143 views

Direction of planetary tilt

I am building a 3d solar system simulation using WebGL and have come across the problem of establishing the direction of tilt of the various planets. No I know the tilt of the planets in degrees what ...
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213 views

How big can a cube-shaped planet be? [duplicate]

There can be small cube planets or asteroids, but as they get bigger, the gravitational force compresses them to a sphere. But what is the maximum size?
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110 views

Direct rocky planet formation without protostellar disk?

Inspired by this question, which sort of asked what I'm asking, but emphasized a different point (and the answers accordingly addressed that). Can a rocky planet form directly from the collapse of ...
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1answer
46 views

How would the composition of the Venusian atmosphere visually affect the sunrise and sunset there?

The Venusian atmosphere is according to CalTech's webpage What is the atmosphere of Venus like? is 90 times heavier, than Earth's, containing predominantly carbon dioxide, some nitrogen, sulfuric acid ...
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241 views

What day/night cycles, climate and seasons would experience Alpha Centauri Bb inhabitants?

Alpha Centauri Bb is an exoplanet orbiting Alpha Centauri B. It is asserted that given the close distance to the star the planet should be tidally locked. The orbiting period of the planet is about ...
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4k views

Why are the orbits of the planets in our solar system along the same basic plane? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer? After watching this video I realized that the orbits of the planets in our solar system basically ...
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184 views

Lumped circuit model of Earth and Sun as a thermal system

I want to design a thermal model of the Sun heating up the Earth. The circuit below is my own design (I don't know if there is a better way to model it. If there is, please tell me.). I want to ...
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1answer
303 views

Does the Moon's orbital inclination follow the wobble in the Earth's rotation?

As the Earth wobbles during rotation, does the higher gravity at the equator tend to pull the moon toward an equatorial orbit even as the earth does that thousands of years wobble cycle? It would ...
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41 views

Barycenter correction for inner planets in solar system?

I want to run simulations of the solar system, and I've read in some papers that to speed up the simulations it is useful to use the barycenter correction of the inner planets (from Mercury to Mars), ...
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1answer
81 views

How does Planet 9's perihelion and aphelion affect the Kuiper belt objects?

Assuming that the existence of Planet 9 is confirmed and it really exists, how does it affect the orbits of the Kuiper belt objects? My understanding is that the discovery came in part from the ...
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1answer
144 views

Protoplanetary disks, angular momentum and prograde orbits

So you've got a protoplanetary disk and you're going to gravitate yourself some planets together. The disk is made up of the usual planetary system stuff, dust and gas and whatnot, orbiting a common ...
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2answers
505 views

How does rogue planet PSO J318.5-22 stay 800ºC?

According to this article, the rogue planet (meaning a planet which does not orbit a star) PSO J318.5-22 has a surface temperature of 800ºC and weather that features molten iron rain. Without a star ...
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274 views

2012: Is there some astronomical event happening?

The news media has publicized that 2012 is the end of the Mayan calendar, and that all the planets will be aligned. Is there any truth to this?
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15k views

How long does it take for radio or light waves to travel from Earth to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto?

I know it roughly takes 20 minutes from Earth to Mars, and 8 minutes from the Sun to Earth, but don't know how long for the other planets on my list.
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What would be the minimum size of a planet which would allow a human being to walk around without falling out in the open space?

On the Earth you can walk - of course we all know it - in the southern hemisphere without falling out in the open space, and you feel no difference between being at the North Pole or on the Equator. ...
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76 views

How could they tell things weigh a sixth of their “Earth weight” on the moon?

I frequently keep hearing stuff about "gravity on the moon is only a sixth of that as Earth's" and "of course you'll weigh more on Jupiter". I do know the relative sizes of those bodies allow for ...
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198 views

Why isn't all of the dust in a nebula used in the formation of a star?

I was watching a show on discovery and according to it, in a nebula the dust and gases slowly come together and as the gravity increases and the pressure rises in the core the gases fuse together and ...
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236 views

Mercury's orbit

Mercury has a weird orbit, it's elliptical orbit rotates around an axis, but for no reason. My question is why? What is causing this?
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How to correct flares and sharply focus on my telescope when viewing planets.

A month or two ago I purchased a “Skywatcher Explorer 130P Newtonian Reflector” telescope - which so far is brilliant when looking at the Moon, esp. using a neutral density filter. However, when ...
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137 views

Does spacetime have symmetric curvature around an object? If yes, then why do planets revolve around the Sun in elliptical orbits?

Does spacetime have symmetric curvature around an object? If yes, then why do planets revolve around the Sun in elliptical (as opposed to circular) orbits?
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517 views

When Venus is the brightest when viewed from Earth?

Nowadays Venus is very bright. I can spot it during broad daylight without problem. It's because it's near Earth and appear as a crescent. This made me think: as it's reaching the inferior ...
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1answer
235 views

How do the day/night temperature variations of moons compare to those of their planets?

Does the planet's eclipse have a significant impact on the flux of light hitting the moon? Does tidal locking have any effect on the day-night difference of the planet?
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77 views

A hollow planet [duplicate]

Consider a planet with the same mass and diameter as Earth, except that it is 1) perfectly spherical. 2) a hollow shell 1 meter thick, so the planet is almost like a massive ping-pong ball. ...
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114 views

Physics of tidal locking: can the process be underdamped?

Is it possible for a satellite undergoing the process to overshoot the required rotation rate for tidal locking? For example, if its rotation rate is being slowed, can it become slower than it needs ...
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2answers
243 views

Saturn's polar versus equatorial gravity

Wikipedia's reference for Saturn's gravity gives $10.44 m/s^2$ at the equator, but this conflicts with Britannica, which gives $8.96 m/s^2$ at the equator and $12.14 m/s^2$ at the poles. All values ...
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189 views

What is the maximum mass of planet HD 40307 g

Recently discovered planet HD 40307g around HD40307 Star system is claiming that its inside a habitual zone of a solar system. Besides It has water where life could be evolved. I tried to calculate ...
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How gravitation affects tides

I know that tide is caused by the gravitational pull of moon but what I don't know is how it affects water. I have actually these doubts. Why does gravity of the moon creates tides only in water? ...
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Is nuclear fusion possible on planets in our Solar system?

Apart from thermo-nuclear reactions in the Sun, (and in hydrogen bombs and other methods developed by scientists) does nuclear fusion occur naturally in the planets? If not, why? Also, do the Sun ...
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1answer
989 views

What causes the collapse of a Magnetic Field?

It's theorized that Mars once had a magnetic field which collapsed at some point. There's also lots of speculation that a similar process will eventually happen to Earth. More recently has been the ...
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1answer
190 views

Has martian sunset same spectra than this earthly bluish-violet sunset?

Has martian sunset same spectra than this earthly bluish-violet sunset? What about sunset on Mercury?
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194 views

Could a planet sized bubble of breatheable atmostphere exist?

I'm reading a book (Sun of Suns by Karl Schroeder) that the main location is a planet called Virga, which contains air, water, and floating chunks of rock, and has no or a very small amount of gravity....
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299 views

Does the Earth have a semi-solid body at its core because of lower pressure at the center of the Earth?

I have read that the Earth has a semi-solid iron body at its core, even though that object is surrounded by liquid magma.... I'm wondering if this is because of a pressure (and resulting temperature) ...
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1answer
2k views

Where to find the current positions and velocities of the planets?

I've written a program which simulates the motions of planets and other bodies. I'd like to run it on our own solar system, but to do so I need to know the current positions (preferably in ...
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1answer
182 views

Keeping air in a well

Let's say I've got an Earth-like planet with no atmosphere: it's just a barren ball of rock. I want to live there, but I don't like domes, so instead I'm just going to dig a big hole and let gravity ...
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1answer
873 views

Altering Venus rotational speed to match Earth's via weather manipulation

Venus rotates approximately 6.5 km an hour Earth rotates approximately 1650 km/h how fast could we speed up Venus's rotation via only weather manipulation ( maybe a giant fractal lens between Venus ...
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1answer
35 views

Which force transfers angular momentum in tidal locking?

The moon is in tidal lock with the earth, but a long time ago it was not. As the moon became tidally locked with the earth, its angular momentum changed and the delta went into it's orbit and possibly ...
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1answer
65 views

How do molecules absorb heat?

How do molecules absorb and retain heat, and how is that heat able to still affect nearby molecules? On Venus there is a green-house effect where the large, dense Carbon-Dioxide atmosphere absorbs ...
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1answer
54 views

Protoplanet formation & Kessler Syndrome

In the early stages of the solarsystem rocks clumped together randomly until their gravity drew in more material which led to protoplanet formation. But how does the dust and do the rocks form bigger ...
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1answer
155 views

Is there a connection between the core of the earth and heaviest element produced by stars?

I was unable to answer this question from my daughter. Is it just a coincidence or is there a connection between the following two observations: (1) the core of the earth is made of an iron (-nickel ...
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2answers
2k views

How does one measure Earth's speed of revolution around the sun?

I know that there are several formulae that one can plug numbers into to arrive an estimate of Earth's speed around the sun (Kepler's third law for instance), but I'm wondering how these things are ...
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1answer
107 views

Cassini: What information could be gained from the 2017 impact with Saturn?

First of all: Will Cassini be operational in 2017 (pending no unforeseen equipment failures)? Power Communications ... What information could we gain? Properties of Saturn How to build more ...
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1answer
60 views

Have we observed sufficient extra-solar planetary systems to establish a planetary distribution pattern? [duplicate]

From Kepler And Extra-Solar Planetary Observations As of January 2015, Kepler and its follow-up observations had found 1,013 confirmed exoplanets in about 440 stellar systems, along with a further ...
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1answer
189 views

Mars Circular Intercept Orbit

I've been trying to simulate a spacecraft entering a circular capture orbit about Mars using Mathematica, but am having a little trouble. The simulation starts when the spacecraft enters Mars' sphere ...