this is a question I had when I was a kid. I'm a bit ashamed because I think I am missing out on something very obvious since I have the same question despite almost being an engineer now!
From Newtonian physics, I understand how although the gravitational force pulls the planet towards a star, and the planet 'falls' towards the star, due the angular momentum, it also moves laterally. In case of a planetary orbit, this is just enough to keep it moving around it in an elliptical orbit. (With speed and radius being such that angular momentum and energy is conserved)
But let's consider a single planet and star system where the planet moves around the star in a circular path for simplicity. If gravitational force provides centripetal force, what can account for the centrifugal force?
I have a feeling it is related to some inaccurate view I have, of centrifugal force. The xkcd comic and wikipedia article talk about two concepts: fictitious and reactive centrifugal force. But it would be safe to assume the star(EDIT: sorry, I meant to choose a frame of reference such that the centripetal force on the planet has to be cancelled by a centrifugal force on the planet in the direction: star to planet) as a stationary frame of reference for the purpose of this question, right? Which means that it is not a fictitious force, right? Or is it not considered a centrifugal force if you take the star as the reference frame?