Questions tagged [celestial-mechanics]

The tag has no usage guidance.

33
votes
3answers
6k views

Is there a maximum distance from a planet that a moon can orbit?

Given a planet that orbits a star, and a moon that orbits that planet, is it possible to define a maximum orbital radius of that moon, beyond which the moon would no longer orbit the planet, but the ...
1
vote
5answers
104 views

What is the reason for Moon and satellite in free fall condition?

I am a high school student. I read in my book that moon and satellite are in free fall condition with Earth. I asked my teachers about this, but I'm not able to understand. Can anyone explain to me ...
7
votes
3answers
333 views

Do SR account for one sixth or one third of the anomalous perihelion shift?

In answers to two other questions on this site: Mercury's Orbital Precession in Special Relativity and Do 2-body elliptic orbits precess in special relativity? it is stated that special ...
1
vote
0answers
39 views

Why are so few inclined circumbinary planets known?

For a research project I'm studying the orbits of circumbinary planets, most of these planets orbits are coplanar. However I was wondering if orbits with a high inclination could be stable. I made a ...
2
votes
2answers
159 views

The Earth revolves around the Sun or the Sun revolves around the Earth

Well, in today's world we know that the earth resolves around the sun. But that is seen from frame of reference of sun or an observer stationary wrt sun. From frame of reference of the earth, sun ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What are the forces behind the orbit of the Earth around the Sun?

Does the gravity of the sun alone affect the orbit of the earth around the sun? Look at the image below,(Image is not to scale), Is it that when earth is going from position 1 to position 2, it ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Revolution of Earth around the Sun

We study the orbit of many planets around the sun modelling it as a uniform circular motion. Is this due to the fact that empirically we measured that the magnitude of the earth's velocity (for ...
16
votes
7answers
5k views

Why does the Earth follow an elliptical trajectory rather than a parabolic one?

I was taught that when the acceleration experienced by a body is constant, that body follows a parabolic curve. This seems logical because constant acceleration means velocity that is linear and ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

How did most of the math and physics formulae that govern our lifestyle and help us in space exploration come into being? [closed]

I realise that this isn't a very academic question, but after watching movies like First Man and Interstellar, it got me wondering: How did all these formulas that we use on a regular basis come into ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

Kepler's 3rd law: ratios don't fit data

I have been looking at satellite orbits around the earth, or any object around any planet in fact, and am trying to find the orbital radius, or semi major length of a given satellite. Kepler's third ...
-1
votes
1answer
34 views

About Kepler's laws [closed]

Yesterday I was reviewing some calculations using Kepler's laws and when working the third law that relates orbital periods and distances, it is very normal that, given the parameters of some object ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

How to find Lagrange point $L_2$ of the Earth-Moon system?

I was tasked in my programming lesson to find a value of L1 correct to 5 significant figures, but in my discussion section I began to wonder why there was no second solution to the equation I was ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Two bodies orbiting around common barycenter

Assume $2$ bodies of mass $M_1$ and $M_2$ orbiting in a plane around their common barycenter $G$. It means the axis $(M_1M_2)$ is rotating in the plane around a vertical axis through $G$. [Please ...
-1
votes
2answers
51 views

Why do planets revolve around Sun in elliptical orbits? [duplicate]

Let’s consider two planets of mass $m$ and $M$. They both will attract one another with a constant force $F$ according to the law of attraction $F=G m M/r^2$. The force and masses are constant. $G$ is ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

Two-body problem - point of closest approach

I am reading through an exercise : One of the hints to solve this problem is that at the point of closest approach the comet's velocity must be tangential only, why is this the case ?
-1
votes
3answers
78 views

Radius of the Sun

Is it possible to calculate the radius of the sun with minimal amount of physics? I couldn’t find resources on the internet that gives me an answer using a theoretical formula. You are given values ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Is there any model explaining why would a particle revolve around another one in an elliptical orbit? [duplicate]

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
44 views

How was the equation for a gravitational assist derived?

Im currently writing a paper about a hypothetical probe meant to escape our solar system and I want to analyse how gravitational assists would be beneficial for its mission. I found a website with an ...
0
votes
2answers
62 views

What's the nicest proof that two isolates masses orbit their center of mass? [duplicate]

Although it seems intuitive, I haven't found proof of this fact in my textbooks from a purely mathematical standpoint. I was wondering if anybody knows of a particularly elegant proof of this fact, ...
-1
votes
1answer
76 views

Why doesn't the Earth slowly collapse into the Sun? [duplicate]

I understand that the sun exerts a force on the earth and that if that was the only force exerted on the earth then the earth would have already crashed into the sun a long time ago. The reason the ...
2
votes
2answers
60 views

How come planets with different masses can orbit at the same velocity at the same altitudes?

Angular momentum is equal to r × p and angular momentum is also what gives planets with lower orbits a higher speed (because angular momentum is conserved). So as r decreases either m or v (p=mv) has ...
2
votes
2answers
38 views

How can I determine a planet's mass based only off of information about its orbit and its parent star?

I'm coding a video game with procedurally generated planetary systems and I want some and I want to make sure I'm at least somewhat scientifically correct. I've reached the part in my code where I ...
2
votes
4answers
145 views

Kepler's third law is unintuitive

Kepler's third law states that the ratio between the period of a planet in orbit round a star squared over the average distance to that star cubed, is constant. And in the case of an elliptical orbit, ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

Two black holes colliding (classical mechanics)

I had this question come up in my exam where two identical black holes are in orbit around each other. There is a loss of energy via gravitational waves : $$\frac{d E}{d t} = kr^4\omega^6$$ where $k$ ...
2
votes
0answers
54 views

Horseshoe orbit cycle times

I asked on Worldbuilding originally, but was directed here instead I've been working on a habitable moon system for a story, and I'm now trying to populate the other moons around the parent planet. ...
1
vote
3answers
226 views

Why does angular momentum being constant prove Kepler's first law?

So I was watching this video and this video on Kepler's first law in order to understand the proof of Kepler's first law. He started off by saying that for an ellipse, the distance from a focus point ...
1
vote
0answers
63 views

Mass distributions within two bodies such that the orbit is no longer Keplerian?

The trajectories of two point masses or spherically symmetric masses with respect to their center of mass are conic sections or Kepler orbits. Consider that the bodies have finite size with respect ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

On Planets orbiting binary stars

Several years ago a discovery was made of planet orbiting a star of a binary system (two stars orbiting each other). Since binary star systems are plentiful in our galaxy, I presume we will be ...
2
votes
1answer
87 views

'Harmony of the Spheres' or 'Harmony of the World' - is it debunked? [closed]

I sincerely apologise for this vague question but I'm writing an essay for my music class on musical harmony and it's historical origins. I came across the Pythagorean notion of Harmony of the Spheres ...
0
votes
2answers
18 views

What is meant by “instantaneously aligned” with regards to rotating reference frames/coordinate axes?

I'm trying to understand a set of lecture notes I found online from MIT which describe the derivation of the equations of motion for an object in a rotating reference frame, this is for an essay on ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

What is the second $r$ in this equation for the Two Body Problem?

$$r=\frac{r^2\frac{\mathrm d\theta^2}{\mathrm dt}}{\frac{Gm_2^3}{\left(m_1+m_2\right)^2}\left(1+e\cos\theta\right)}$$ I have this equation for the radial distance of a planet from the barycenter. But ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

Mass versus rotation Curves

Is there an equation that describes the relationship between the mass of the Galaxy and rotation curve? I found V versus R graphs and equations that describe their relationship (kind of). But I ...
1
vote
0answers
32 views

Restricted 3-body problem - Rotating coordinate system

I'm trying to follow the formulation of the restricted 3-body problem in Taff's "Celestial Mechanics" book as I'm writing an essay on Lagrange points and am confused by the transformation into the ...
0
votes
5answers
105 views

What is holding things like the Earth and the Sun in one dimension?

I was thinking last night: for most of my life I’ve been taught that the planets in our solar system orbit the Sun, which insinuates that the Sun is in a fixed point in 3-dimensional space, and that ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Barycenter of a binary star system

It is said that the barycenter of 11 Draconis (Thuban) and 10 Draconis which compose a binary star system is a central point. Is this central point a material or immaterial object? Does the size of ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Why do the orbit equations have to be symmetric about two axes even the orbit is not bounded?

In the book of Classical Mechanics by Goldstein, at page 88, it is given that However, the orbit might not be bounded, so there might not be two turning point; just one. In such a case, how can we ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

The shape characteristics of gravitational wells given different masses and spread of objects

I am curious as to research that calculates the shape of gravitational wells, and their limits, and affect on time, for different masses and spread of mass. The actual question is st the end. For ...
2
votes
1answer
43 views

Solar System Position and Velocity data

I'm trying to create an nbody simulator and to test it I'd like some real world data. A good test would be the solar system. I've come across the JPL Horizons software but if cant seem to figure out ...
2
votes
0answers
45 views

A question about almost stationary orbits

For an orbit around the earth with period equal to a sidereal day with eccentricity $e=0$ and inclination $i=0$, the path on earth would be a single point on the equator. I have done some simulations ...
2
votes
1answer
110 views

Why is ʻOumuamua traveling so slowly?

Imagine a space rock that starts at rest at the Lagrange point between the sun and our nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri. That would put it at about 2 light years away from the sun. Now, it ...
0
votes
2answers
163 views

Is the geodesic equation independent of an initial condition?

The following argument is used to determine the unknown factors (e.g., $A(r)$ and $B(r)$) in the Schwarzschild metric. $$ \lim_{r \to ∞}A(r) = \lim_{r \to ∞}B(r) = 1 \space\space\space\space\space\...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

Can we ever calculate the exact period and semi-major axis for an orbit with strong perihelion precession?

To calculate the period of an orbit with strong perihelion precession we could just pick an arbitrary point in the sky, and time how long it takes for it to pass it again. But wouldn't we get ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Can a planet have multiple significant sized moons?

The Earth has one moon at about 1/80 of Earth's mass. Is it possible to have two moons large enough each to subtend a >30 minute disk as viewed from the surface? I have tried with various ...
-5
votes
2answers
93 views

How do astronomers explain trajectories of planets?

I'm wondering how astronomers can explain the trajectories of planets because: planets spin, so have angular kinetic energy. Thanks to the mass-energy relationship this means space-time curvature. ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Confirmation / interpretation of unphysical(?) Kepler orbits

The following two pictures show the Kepler orbit of two masses $m_1, m_2$, where $m_1/m_2=7/3$, as I calculated them using $$ r(\varphi)=\frac{a(1-\varepsilon^2)}{1+\varepsilon\cos\varphi},\quad\...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

Centripetal Acceleration to find Orbital Velocity

When presented with a problem asking for the orbital velocity of an object $1,000 km$ above the Earth's surface, the formula I know you can use is $$v=\sqrt{\frac{G*m}{r}}$$ However, I was thinking ...
6
votes
5answers
716 views

What is $R$ in the formula for escape velocity?

From the escape velocity formula $$v_e = \sqrt \frac {2GM}R.$$ Some sources say it is the distance between two objects with mass $M$ and $m$. Some examples I have read, only used radius of the $M$. ...
1
vote
3answers
343 views

Why is angular momentum of the Earth/Moon system conserved?

Why is the angular momentum of the Earth/Moon system conserved, apparently unaffected by external forces such as force of the Sun?
5
votes
3answers
123 views

Why should the trick solution to the problem of how long it takes to fall into the sun work?

There is a famous problem which asks: Suppose an object is held at 1 au from the Sun and released from rest. How long does it take to fall into the Sun (neglecting the size of the sun)? The trick ...
0
votes
4answers
136 views

How to find angle something turns as it orbits in orbital mechanics? [closed]

Short version: Take a look at this animation really quick. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Orbital_motion.gif The direction in which the arrows for $\alpha$ and $\nu$ is adjusted as the ...