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

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959 views

How can I visualize a gas giant?

From wikipedia Gas giants are commonly said to lack solid surfaces, but it is closer to the truth to say that they lack surfaces altogether since the gases that make them up simply become ...
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3answers
125 views

How did planets start to spin and do all of them spin in same direction? [duplicate]

How did planets start to spin in the first place? Some say that gases which condense and form planets start spinning and hence planets acquire a spin. And some say that they start to spin to conserve ...
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2answers
61 views

Do the outer gas planets radiate their mass?

We know that the sun experiences angular momentum loss, and radiates a portion of it's mass (though helicity is conserved). Can we say the same about massive Jupiter, or even Saturn, Uranus or ...
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2answers
232 views

Does gravity affect radiation incident on the planet?

Just curious ... Known facts: When outside the atmosphere levels of radiation are higher Typically such radiation is CBR, Solar Radiation Question: If the matter of the atmosphere and ...
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2answers
182 views

Would a magnetic rod through Mars shield it from solar wind?

Would a magnetic rod going all the way through Mars shield it from solar wind?
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2answers
235 views

The size of the planets

What calculations were done to discover the size of all the planets?
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2answers
339 views

Calculate Initial Velocity For Orbital (Gravity) Slingshot

I am trying to find the initial velocity to slingshot a planet around the sun and through a gap. The green ball is the planet, and the yellow ball is the sun. In this trial I need to get the ...
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2answers
162 views

Does Planet revolution time is always greater the more it's getting away from the center?

The entire question is in the title . It's the case for the solar system but is it always the case ? Can a planet do a revolution faster than another that is closer to the center ? As far as I ...
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1answer
151 views

How should I be thinking about tides?

I am working on a project for physics that involves tides. This is my current mind set when thinking about tides: The earth applies a gravitational force on some mass ...
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1answer
121 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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1answer
159 views

Tidal locking of a planet to a satellite

As in the case of Pluto and its moon Charon, both the bodies are tidally locked to each other, will the Earth ever be tidally locked to the Moon? Is there any effect on the rotation of the Earth ...
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3answers
2k views

Moment of inertia of a planet

Is there a good way to directly measure a moment of inertia of the Earth, or say, other planet?
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2answers
2k views

Will a spinning object come to rest?

Will a sphere spinning on its own axis come to rest given enough time, provided no other forces act upon it? I know that if you have two spinning spheres in the depths of space and orbiting each ...
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1answer
292 views

Motion of mercury [duplicate]

I studied that mercury motion around the sun slightly displace by a certain value in each year. But, this is not predicted by kepler until general theory of relativity. What does general theory does ...
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3answers
1k views

Would a Helium powered balloon vehicle work on Mars?

Would a Helium powered balloon vehicle work on Mars? Things that might need to be answered: How much liquidHelium would you need to pack in order to fill a balloon with enough helium gas to travel ...
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1answer
144 views

Are the inner planets on planar orbits because there was more dust in the inner solar system (early on in planetary accretion)?

Question inspired by a question thread here. So when there's lots of dust in a galaxy, the galaxy tends to collapse into a spiral galaxy (to maintain angular momentum and to minimize gravitational ...
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1answer
189 views

Planetary alignment of the gas giants?

There is this nice and new applet of the orbits of the planets around the sun: Solar System Orrery You can click and drag any planet and watch their relative orbits evolve in time. I was curious ...
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3answers
4k views

Artificial planetary magnetic field

I wonder how difficult it is to create an artificial planetary magnetic field with generators? What power they would need? The question is inspired by thinking about possible colonization of ...
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1answer
104 views

Synchronising the Earth's rotation via mass redistribution

How much material would have to be moved per year from mountain-tops to valleys in order to keep the Earth's rotation synchronised with UTC, thus removing the need for leap seconds to be periodically ...
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1answer
208 views

Why do Uranus and Venus rotate from East to west?

Why do only Uranus and Venus rotate from East to west, while others rotate in opposite direction? Is it because of the angle of their tiltness? Or due to the process of their formation?
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1answer
53 views

Calculating the size of exoplanets with moons

When astronomers detect an exoplanet using its transit and calculate its size to be, say twice the earths size, do they have any way of knowing that its actually not a slightly smaller planet with a ...
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1answer
103 views

Help understanding centre of mass

So basically the question I posed myself a few days ago was for a torus shaped planet, what would the gravitational field be like inside the torus? After viewing some answers on the internet, (Gravity ...
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2answers
87 views

What is the value of $g$ at centre? [duplicate]

What is the value of $g$ at the centre of the Earth? Is it zero or infinity? My attempt: I know it's zero but applying law made me on fused.
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2answers
251 views

Interstellar bodies

As a solar system evolves the planets interact, and in trying to achieve a harmonious state some bodies are ejected. Space is big, but I have heard that some meteorites have been found with anomalous ...
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2answers
282 views

Solar System Capture of Orphan Planets

NASA recently announced (http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/planet20110518.html) that orphan planets, planets no longer orbiting a star, may be more numerous than the stars in our galaxy. ...
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2answers
79 views

Is it possible for a planet to be “axially locked”?

What I mean is, can a planet orbiting its sun have a fixed rotational axis relative to the sun ie in the case of earth the tilt is like this /........(sun)......./. as it goes around the sun. ...
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2answers
113 views

Stability of planet-enclosing shell supported by atmosphere

I understand that a hollow spherical shell of uniform density gives net zero gravitational attraction to objects inside it. So in vacuum, a ball at the centre of a spherical shell would not be stable ...
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1answer
221 views

Why is the Earth shaped like a sphere and not any other shape: cube, prism? [duplicate]

Why is the earth shaped like a sphere and not any other shape: cube, prism?
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1answer
95 views

What properties are used to quantify the odds of a star harboring earth-like life?

Say you start with a list of stars. What properties do we believe to be critical in the present existence or future formation of earth-like life in those star systems? How can one reasonably pare down ...
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2answers
2k views

Where do planets get energy to revolve around sun? [duplicate]

We know that every planet in our solar system revolve's around the sun in a particular orbit. But were to they get the energy to revolve around the sun. And why do they not drop into the sun there is ...
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1answer
153 views

Magnetic field line length

If I had a magnetic bar in space that was 2cm wide and 2cm high and was one Earth diameter long and had the same magnetic strength as the Earth, would the distribution of field lines be the same ...
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2answers
1k 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
513 views

Metallic Hydrogen and Gaseous Planets

Jupiter has about twice the density of Saturn (1.33 versus 0.69 g/cm^3) because it apparently has a higher mass percentage of rocky core and of metallic hydrogen in its interior. Available density ...
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0answers
45 views

How can a gas giant be said to have an atmosphere?

They are made of gas, right? So, there won't be a solid-gas or liquid-gas boundary that defines where the atmosphere starts. So, if there isn't a boundary, we can't define part of it to be an ...
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0answers
69 views

How strong can tidal forces get?

I am imagining a planet the size of Earth being in close proximity to something of high mass such as a gas giant or a star, but ultimately I'd be more interested in how to figure this out myself. So ...
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140 views

Only gravitation and Newton's $2^{\mathrm{nd}}$ law needed to derive Kepler's laws?

It is known that Kepler's laws of planetary motion can be derived from Newton's laws of motion and his law of universal gravitation. However, are all of Newton's laws of motion necessary? According ...
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What speed should have an alone planet to have a habitable zone due to relic radiation?

What speed should have an alone planet to have a habitable zone due to relic radiation, without any star involvement? How much time the planet will be able to remain in the habitable zone before the ...
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0answers
68 views

Stable planetary rotation states

In reading an article about theories as to how the slow retrograde rotation of Venus may have come into being, the article Why Venus Spins the Wrong Way (Franzen, 2001) stated that it is bound to ...
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0answers
480 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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0answers
620 views

How do I find equations for the distance of the planets relative to one another?

I know I should be able to piece together some basic Newtonian equations for this, but I'm not sure where to start. I want to be able to choose one planet as the center and calculate its distance ...
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1answer
88 views

Single plane Ring system [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer? I've noticed this in many pictures, Planets are shown with a single ring around them (in some ...
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1answer
6k views

Why does the Moon or the Earth revolve anti-clockwise?

The question is very simple: Why does the Moon or the Earth or any another planet revolve anti-clockwise? And can any planet (or satellite) revolve clockwise? What is the physical law for this ...
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2answers
690 views

How easily can the Earth flip?

The recent media attention to sunspot activity (however warranted) reminds me of a question I had long ago. Given the angular momentum and the slight 'wobble' of the earth, and remembering the ...
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1answer
202 views

Is it possible for a solar system to have planets orbiting the star(s) in a spherical pattern?

By the question I mean that the planets spin in their ellipse but all ellipses describe the surface of a near-sphere shape around a star. Same question but for a solar system with 2 stars of ...
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2answers
299 views

What's the weight of the earth?

What's the weight of the earth? That is, what's the weight of the earth in the gravitational field of the sun? I imagine it's either $0$, because there's no net fall toward the sun, so the downward ...
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5answers
330 views

Age of universe estimates

I was recently involved in a discussion on a sister site regarding how tightly coupled Physics is with the age of the Universe (and Earth). I believe that the Earth and the Universe are both billions ...
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3answers
162 views

Is the Earth round?

Imagine you are a common man and want to prove that the Earth is Round, how would you prove it without any mathematical derivation or without the theory of the ships.
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2answers
141 views

Why Sun is not able to attract mercury closer?

As sun have a huge amount of attraction pull force , why its not able to pull tiny mercury? Is the whole solar system works in a push and pull network? Why bigger planets like earth, Saturn and ...
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2answers
118 views

If planet like Jupiter is massive enough to hold hydrogen with its gravity is it bound to become a star?

I have been reading about Jupiter as of late and reason I am asking is if Jupiter has strong enough gravity to pull hydrogen to itself then it should be only matter of time when it will acquire enough ...
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1answer
72 views

How have the duration of the martian day changed in the past?

There is a panspermia theory which claims that life might have begun on Mars and I currently read a post that the human circadian rhythm is closer to the martian day length (about 25h) than the day ...