# Questions tagged [orbital-motion]

The path a body takes while moving through space under the influence of the gravitational forces of other bodies

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### Calculating semi-major axis of binary stars from velocity, position and mass [closed]

I'm trying to calculate the 'instantaneous' semi-major axis of a binary system with two equal (known) mass stars for an $N$-body simulation. I know their velocities and positions at a given time, but ...
3answers
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### Work Done by Rockets in Orbital Motion

A weather satellite ($m_s = 4350$ kg) is in a stable circular orbit around the Earth ($m_E = 5.97 \cdot 10^{24}$ kg). It completes an orbit once every 2 and a half hours. (I'm sure about these 2 ...
2answers
960 views

### How will the super massive black hole affect our galaxy?

I've recently learned that the general consensus is that several (if not, most) galaxies have super massive black holes in their center, in particular the Milky Way. This, at least to me, makes ...
1answer
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### About binary stars and calculating velocity, period and radius of their orbit

I saw somewhere about being able to measure the velocity, period and radius of a binary star orbit by looking at red shift and blue shift. I understand it but can someone give me an example of ...
4answers
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### Increasing mass' effect on the balance between centripetal force and centrifugal force

Okay, this is nothing more than a thought experiment which popped into my head while driving home from work today. Take the case of a single body orbiting another, larger body, as in a planet and a ...
1answer
147 views

### How to find the orbit of a moving point object given 3 past passing positions?

How do I find the orbit of a moving point object given 3 past passing positions and the tangents at these passing positions, and given that the orbit is known to be an ellipse?
1answer
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### Radial fall in a Newtonian gravitational field [duplicate]

Suppose an object of mass $m$ starts at rest at a radial distance $r_0$ from a perfectly spherical mass $M$ (where $m << M$), $r_0 > R =$ radius of $M$. Can we analytically determine when ...
2answers
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### Do all planets rotate around the sun with the same acceleration?

I have this question in mind. suppose if by any chance, all planet around sun stopped rotating. then as per formula F= M * A. all planet should fall with same acceleration towards sun and ultimately ...
3answers
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### Why do the planets' orbital distances fall on an exponential curve?

Background: I was recently reading a book on the planets to my son and I noticed a pattern in the distributions of the planets. The planets' distances roughly follow an exponential distribution. ...
1answer
294 views

### Does a reference or classification standard for altitude classifications of geocentric orbits exist?

I'm looking for a primary reference of the altitude classifications of geocentric orbits (LEO, MEO, GEO, HEO), but I was not able to find something so far. I noticed that there is very different ...
6answers
11k views

### What symmetry causes the Runge-Lenz vector to be conserved?

Noether's theorem relates symmetries to conserved quantities. For a central potential $V \propto \frac{1}{r}$, the Laplace-Runge-Lenz vector is conserved. What is the symmetry associated with the ...
1answer
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### How do I calculate the time it would take for a space craft launching from earth to reach another planet?

I am making a matlab program the my final project for my programming class in college. I have chosen this problem, but I am bashing my head against the wall trying to figure out the equations and how ...
2answers
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### Could a viable solar system work with a cluster of dwarf stars in center? And would it last longer than a single stellar mass star?

So, I was watching various sci channel shows, and they touch on how extremely massive stars live only 100k years, vs the sun which lives ~10 billion years, and dwarf stars live some unspecified time ...
0answers
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### Projectile motion equations @ very (!) high starting velocity [duplicate]

I've already searched Physics StackExchange for some similar question but I didn't find anything about this. Assumptions: Earth is a perfect sphere with it's core (X,Y,Z) -> (0,0,0) as a reference-...
1answer
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### How do I express the Kepler general orbit $r(\phi)$ in rectangular coordinates?

How do I express the Kepler general orbit $r(\phi)$ in rectangular coordinates? I use the identities $x=r\cos\phi$, $y=r\sin\phi$, and $r^2 = x^2 + y^2$, but I block at some point.
3answers
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### Why do some satellites fall to Earth?

In another question How does Newtonian mechanics explain why orbiting objects do not fall to the object they are orbiting?, one can read an affirmative answer. They how do you explain satellites ...
1answer
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### Know altitude and speed of an object in orbit, with true anomaly

I'm quite stuck with this problem. I know that I have an object in orbit. I know the eccentricity of that orbit, as well as the semi-major axis of the orbit. Giving a true anomaly, how do I find ...
2answers
1k views

### Orbital radius of Geo-stationary satellite

Could you please tell, Why all the geo-stationary satellites are to be dropped at same height from earth? Why can't it be closer or away from its regular orbit(ie, 35,000 km)? If all satellites are ...
1answer
1k views

### How does an object falling into a plain Schwarschild black hole appear from near the black hole?

I know that when viewed from infinity (or from a very large distance from the black hole event horizon), an object that falls into the black hole will appear to slow down and will become more and more ...
3answers
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### Initial vs Constant Orbital Velocity

I am working on some basic physics simulation for a game and need to simulate gravity. I have a system working that is behaving more or less correctly so far, but I want to see if I can send a ...
3answers
255 views

### Tidal acceleration for a retrograde rotation?

Consider two nonelastic spherical bodies with uniformly distributed density, a small such body in a circular orbit around the bigger one. And consider the smaller body's rotation is matched (as if "...
1answer
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### Will Neptune change Pluto's orbit some day?

My seven-year-old son loves astronomy-- so much so that we read space books before bed time. One of our books talks about Pluto's orbit crossing over Neptune's orbit and will be (or is) closer to the ...
6answers
33k views

### Is Melancholia's orbit impossible?

In the 2011 movie Melancholia, a planet, also called Melancholia, enters the solar system and hits the Earth. I want to leave aside the (also unreasonable) aspect that planet "hides behind the Sun" ...
2answers
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### Why don't stars in globular clusters all orbit in the same plane?

Globular clusters like Omega Centauri certainly don't seem to be very coplanar at all. In other words, why doesn't the explanation at Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/...
2answers
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### “Reverse engineering” of a horoscope?

I'll start with a disclaimer -- this is not a question about astrology itself, I'm neither trying to refute nor to defend astrology. I'm interested in purely technical things, which are mostly ...
8answers
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### How does the earth move?

My son who is 5 years old is asking me a question about how the earth moves around the sun. What answer should I give him?
3answers
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### Are planetary orbits measured from the Sun's surface or centre?

I would imagine planetary orbits are measured from the Sun's centre and not its surface. Is that true? I can't find anywhere that actually states this.
2answers
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### Computing period, semi-major axis of binary

I have mass, $g$, and luminosity of each of the stars in a binary system, extracted from a model. I calculated the individual radii from $g$ and the mass. I am trying to compute $a$, but I seem to be ...
1answer
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### What are the known relationships between rotation of planets/moons and their distance to Sun?

What are the known relationships between rotation of planets/moons and their distance to Sun? Or any other known attributes? For example, the sidereal year for planets is directly related to their ...
4answers
22k views

### Why are some galaxies flat?

What is the explanation for the flatness of some galaxies? (If it's due to their rotation then why they are rotating, why some other galaxies are not flat etc., I would like to hear a nice and ...
5answers
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### Why do we always see the same side of the Moon? [duplicate]

I am puzzled why we always see the same side of the Moon even though it is rotating around its own axis apart from revolving around the earth. Shouldn't this only be possible if the Moon is not ...
4answers
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### Two masses in deep space - collide or orbit?

If two identical masses are somehow "released" into deep space (that is, they're subject to no other gravitation forces but their own, and are initially at rest to each other). What decides whether ...
2answers
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### Why are our planets in the solar system all on the same disc/plane/layer? [duplicate]

I always see pictures of the solar system where our sun is in the middle and the planets surround the sun. All these planets move on orbits on the same layer. Why?
1answer
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### How does the view of night sky change as the Sun orbits around the Milky Way?

I know that the Sun and hence the Solar System orbits around the galactic center of the Milky Way. Does this rotation cause any visible change in the night sky? I know that human life span is ...
3answers
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### What is the irregularity in Uranus' orbit that is caused by Neptune?

I carefully read the Wikipedia article Discovery of Neptune, and I don't get what the irregularity of Uranus orbit was that lead to the discovery of Neptune. Years ago, I watched some educational film ...
3answers
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### The orbit of 2010 TK7

Having just heard about the asteroid 2010 TK7 in Trojan asteroid seen in Earth's orbit by Wise telescope, I want to know more about its orbit. The BBC article says it moves above and below the ...
1answer
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### Do stars of higher metallicity have more planets in highly-inclined Pluto-like orbits?

In an answer to a previous question of mine, one that asked about the planar orbits of inner planets, I was told the following (emphasis mine): On the subject of different solar systems, I would ...
1answer
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### For the long-term evolution of atmosphere/orbit, when is perihelion more important than mean distance?

When we want to figure out the long-term evolution of a planet's atmosphere/orbit, when is perihelion more important than mean distance? E.g. some processes (like Jeans Escape and escape of ...
2answers
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### Can different forms of angular momentum be converted into each other?

I am aware of three apparently different forms of angular momentum: spin, orbital and macroscopic, like a spinning crystal or baseball. Can angular momentum be transferred or converted from one of ...
3answers
896 views

### Why don't astronauts in orbit get stuck to the “ceiling”?

When a shuttle is in orbit, it is essentially rotating around the "centre" of the Earth at a great speed. So why does there seem to be no centrifugal force sticking them to the 'ceiling' of the ...
1answer
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### Hohmann transfer orbit questions

So, I have a couple questions about transfer orbits. As I understand it, an object's, say a satellite, orbit is basically tied to it velocity relative to the object, the planet, that it is orbiting. ...
2answers
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### Are orbits interior to Jupiter's orbit less stable than orbits exterior to Jupiter's orbit?

Or in other words, are there differences in average Lyapunov timescale between orbits interior to Jupiter and orbits exterior to Jupiter? I'm trying to answer a question at http://www.quora.com/Why-...
1answer
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### Is the orbit of the planets around the Sun chaotic?

The orbit of the earth seems to be very predictable. But as it is a many-body problem having sun, earth, moon, jupiter and so on, is it really that stable or will it start making strange movements ...
7answers
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### What is the simplest way to prove that Earth orbits the Sun?

Assume you're talking to someone ignorant of the basic facts of astronomy. How would you prove to them that Earth orbits the Sun? Similarly, how would you prove to them that the Moon orbits Earth?
4answers
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### Two planets in same orbit - not planets?

Let us pretend for a moment that there are two identical planets that are exactly opposite their star from each other and are the same distance from said star. (This would make them, at all times, ...
0answers
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### heliocentricity and the theory of relativity [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do we say that the earth moves around the sun? I should preface by stating that I'm not a physicist and my knowledge of the theory of relativity is limited to what Encarta ...
4answers
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### What did general relativity clarify about Mercury?

I frequently hear that Kepler, using his equations of orbital motion, could predict the orbits of all the planets to a high degree of accuracy -- except Mercury. I've heard that mercury's motion ...
3answers
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### How would two equally massed stars orbit?

In an empty universe, except for two equally massed stars, how would they orbit? Or, for another example, if the earth suddenly grew to be the mass of the sun, how would they orbit, or interact? Would ...
14answers
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### Why do we say that the earth moves around the sun?

In history we are taught that the Catholic Church was wrong, because the Sun does not move around the Earth, instead the Earth moves around the Sun. But then in physics we learn that movement is ...
2answers
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### When will the Moon reach escape velocity?

From what I know, the Moon is accelerating away from the Earth. Do we know when it will reach escape velocity? How do we calculate this?