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Since bodies like planets moving around sun perform uniform circular motion where gravitation provides the necessary centripetal force, so the orbits should be circular for the gravitational force to be central but as we know the paths are not perfectly circular but elliptical. Why this is so?


marked as duplicate by ACuriousMind May 9 '17 at 19:53

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  • $\begingroup$ Possible duplicates: physics.stackexchange.com/q/69997/2451 and links therein. $\endgroup$ – Qmechanic May 9 '17 at 19:26
  • $\begingroup$ The moons orbit is also elliptical with and eccentricity of 0.0549. $\endgroup$ – M. Enns May 9 '17 at 19:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ A circle is merely a special kind of ellipse. $\endgroup$ – Jon Custer May 9 '17 at 19:35

The paths do not always have to be elliptical. If there are any tidal forces at all, the orbit will tend to go circular.

  • $\begingroup$ Can you please explain your down vote. $\endgroup$ – Bill Alsept May 9 '17 at 19:54

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