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- Why are orbits elliptical? [duplicate] 9 answers
The reason for asking this question is to understand the elliptical orbits of planets and why aren't they circular, we know that if a particle moves with an initial velocity perpendicular to the gravitational force of another particle, it orbits it in a circle as the perpendicular acceleration is constantly changing the direction of the velocity.
I recently came across Kepler's laws of planetary motion, and didn't see him explain why are the orbits elliptical.
But I did some research on it and I learnt that a particle can move around/orbit another particle in any of the four conic sections, all I want now is to compare the conditions of a circular orbit(I know them) to the ones for an elliptical orbits(that's why you're here).
If theoretically planets should orbit in circles then my guess would be that modeling the planets and their stars as particles when they aren't even perfect spheres and the effects of external gravitational fields is the reason.