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

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65 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
71 views

Pluto's internal heat source

When the first images were announced from the New Horizons probe back in July, there was a lot of fanfare about how the surface is young and geologically active, thus requiring an internal heat ...
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1answer
45 views

How do we find the cone angles of the conic sections that are the Newtonian orbits?

In planetary motion, when the eccentricity of a conic section and its semi-latus rectum are known, how do we find out the cone's semi-vertical angle and angle of cutting of the cone by plane?
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51 views

Are the large moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune still cooling and does this give and indication of their age?

The core temperatures and the rate at which they emanate heat should correspond to their estimated age. Other forces may create some heat such as the tidal locking that is supposed to be the source of ...
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30 views

Inclination of planets

What is the inclination of each planet with the equator of the Sun? Doesn't this have a relationship with the eccentricity of the planet's orbit?
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84 views

Are there certain alignments in planetary orbits that create interesting effects in the moons or planets?

We have some interesting examples such as Mercury's perihelion The planet Mercury is especially susceptible to Jupiter's influence because of a small celestial coincidence: Mercury's perihelion, ...
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141 views

What coordinate system is used to describe planets positions in the universe?

How are planets positions described in the space and in respect to what? For example is Sun the origo and right now at this moment Earth has [coord_X, coord_Y, coord_Z]? or maybe [lng, lat]? ...
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181 views

Hemispheric dichotomy of Mars and unstable spin axis

Is the following explanation plausible? Can you spot any flaws? Mars doesn't have a large moon to stabilise its axis of rotation. At some point early in its formation its axis might have been ...
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0answers
87 views

Nine Planets in the Solar System?

I just discovered that there is a Caltech team1 that suggests that there is "Evidence of a Ninth Planet": The object, which the researchers have nicknamed Planet Nine, has a mass about $10$ times ...
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116 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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19 views

How did the radiative flux of each gas giant planet change with respect to time (since their formation)?

We know that each gas giant planet was warmest when it was young. This warmth came from internal heating from both radioactive decay and from gravitational potential energy. This warmth, in turn, ...
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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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70 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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0answers
52 views

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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621 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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16 views

Local temperature equation for a planet

After seeing in science fiction too many planets with two suns that look too much like a geocentric system, I'm trying for my own amusement to understand if it's really possible to have a planet with ...
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0answers
60 views

Why are the cores of planets melted?

We all know that the core of Earth is in liquid form, as are most other planets as recently read. Why is this the case? Obviously, high temperatures are the cause, but what causes the high ...
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0answers
23 views

Eccentricity of planetary orbits: What information is contained?

I'm having a little trouble understanding what makes a planetary orbit explicitly elliptical. Is it simply that the initial velocity was different from the circular orbit case for a given starting ...
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0answers
125 views

Sedna, VP113 and the likelihood of the PX/Tyche/Thelistos hypotheses

The recent discoveries in exoplanetary science (specially those findings of planets orbiting far far away from its parent star/stars) raise questions about how much we know about the (true, AIU ...
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68 views

Could there be a planet just as the Earth, but bigger?

Could there be a planet twice or thrice the size of Earth but while being the same? and by the same I mean, hosting the same life as Earth, having a day last 24 hours and a year 365 days. Basically, ...
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39 views

Orbit of a planet

Can a planet move around a star in an exact circle? Does Kepler's laws prevent this from happening. Answers with mathematical base will be accepted.
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39 views

How are planets distributed in elliptical galaxies?

I'm trying to figure out if planets are equally distributed in galaxies (I'm assuming they aren't) or if there is some logic behind their distribution.
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72 views

Has New Horizons' visit to Pluto taught us anything deeper than mere… facts?

There's a lot of interesting stuff coming from New Horizons about Pluto, but are we actually gaining any non-trivial scientific understanding from it, or is it all just "oh neat, Pluto has mountains ...
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9 views

Region of resonance and overlap

In planetary dynamics what does a region of resonance (mean motion) between two bodies mean and how to quantify the region? How does resonance overlap occur and what are its consequences? What is ...
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75 views

How to calculate the mass of a sun that is similar to our own

How would you calculate the mass of a sun that could host a habitable planet, with only given the values of the mass of our own sun. And the fact that it takes a specific amount of years for life to ...
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113 views

Variation on the “Hole through the Earth” problem

In the news recently was the announcement that the answer to the classic Newtonian mechanics question of the time it takes for a body to fall all the way through the Earth was corrected to account for ...
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75 views

How much water is needed for Saturn to float in?

Saturn floats because it's density is less than that of water. Just how much water would be needed? Assume a cuboid tank holding it. And when we actually put saturn in that water, how far in the ...
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40 views

Calculating Gravity: Small scale vs Large scale

In some calculations I've ran, I've noticed that when the gravitational forces between individual particles are calculated and when the gravitational force between bodies are calculated there tend to ...