Questions regarding an object 'falling around' another object, due to a combination of gravity and momentum.

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1answer
101 views

What determines the configuration of orbits in a binary system?

There are essentially two configurations of orbits a system with two bodies can have: A configuration where the paths do not cross: A configuation where the paths cross: Note: Size of the ...
6
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1answer
611 views

What is the difference between Sphere of Influence and Hill sphere?

Wikipedia's definition of Hill sphere is: An astronomical body's Hill sphere is the region in which it dominates the attraction of satellites. To be retained by a planet, a moon must have an orbit ...
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2answers
594 views

How to plot orbit of binary star and calculate its orbital elements?

I have a set of dates, position angles ($\theta$) and angular separations ($\rho$) for visual binary star. For example: ...
6
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1answer
160 views

Best approximation for Sun's trajectory around galactic center?

What is the current best approximation for the path the Sun takes around the center of the Milky Way? I have found some information on the approximate position of the Milky Way's center, the speed of ...
6
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1answer
86 views

Are trojans in L5 more likely than in L4?

Mars has much more trojans in L5. Does it reflect a common pattern?
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2answers
167 views

How do I calculate the positions of objects in orbit?

In a model of the solar system, given the Sun is at the point $(0, 0, 0)$, an given the six orbital elements for each object in orbit ($a$, $\epsilon$, $i$, $\Omega$, $\omega$, $M_0$), how can I ...
6
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1answer
89 views

Orbital resonances and position of planets

I am interested in quick generation of planetary systems for programs similar to Space Engine or Pioneer Space Simulator. As far as I understand, formation of planets is a complex process and the ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Calculate angle of inclination for a certain angle in a planet's orbit?

The background is that I'm trying to write a computer program to show at what angles each planet would be able to be seen transiting in front of the sun from an observer outside our solar system. My ...
6
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1answer
513 views

How to compute satellite coordinates (lat,long) given antenna's coordinates, angles and satellite height

Given an Earth station (antenna) coordinates (in lat,long) ant its Elevation (El) and Azimuth (Az), how to compute the satellite coordinates (lat,long), known its height? For simplification purposes, ...
6
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1answer
269 views

How can one explain the apparent motion of the Sun from a heliocentric point of view?

From a horizontal frame of reference, the path of the Sun looks like a part of a circle in a tilted plane, as shown in this picture: ...
5
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2answers
195 views

Are there ever any simultaneous transits of both Mercury and Venus as seen from the Earth?

Transits of Mercury happen fairly frequently due to its short period, but transits of Venus are less frequent. I've looked over the data available to me and found that there have been transits of ...
5
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3answers
293 views

How do you calculate the effects of precession on elliptical orbits?

Kepler's first law states that planets (and all celestial bodies orbiting another body) travel in elliptical orbits, which have well-known formulas that make it relatively easy to calculate the ...
5
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3answers
202 views

Is there a ceiling for stable L4 or L5 masses?

L4 and L5, the Lagrange points 60 degrees leading and trailing an orbiting body, are famous for being stable. A well known example are the Trojan aseroids at the Sun Jupiter L4 and L5. Nodding to ...
5
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1answer
130 views

Is it possible to create a traditional clock solar system?

Is it possible to create the following system of satellites?: Place a satellite that orbits the some object X, once per day. Call it D. Place a satellite that orbits D, once per hour. Call it H ...
5
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1answer
148 views

What is the optimal escape trajectory from near a black hole?

Consider a space ship that is being drawn closer to a black hole. The crew begins to notice the effects, and discovers that they are nearing the black hole. They then manage to halt their ...
5
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3answers
186 views

Why do the gas giants in the Solar System have comparatively large orbits compared to the inner planets?

Ever since I observed the depictions of the Solar System, I was obsessed with the question of why the gas giants (outer planets) have very large orbits, compared to the planets that are closer to the ...
5
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1answer
161 views

What is the correct ratio of Newtonian to General Relativistic gravitational effects for Sun + single planet orbital system

For a hypothetical orbital system (Sun + single planet) the Newtonian model and the General Relativity (GR) model produce different expressions for the gravitational effect of the Sun on the planet. ...
5
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1answer
101 views

Are there any hot jupiters orbiting red dwarfs?

Do we know of any hot jupiters that could be orbiting a red dwarf (or, more probably, orbiting a barycenter between the two)? Is this scenario even physically possible?
5
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1answer
106 views

How were the orbits of planets first mapped out?

I'd like to know how the orbits of planets were first 'mapped out' and to understand the maths behind it. e.g. How do we know what position in space a planet will be at certain time so that spacecraft ...
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3answers
507 views

Spotting the International Space Station (ISS)

Recently, I visited the NASA website which provides sighting locations to see the International Space Station (ISS). As we all know, we can even see ISS with the naked eye in a clear sky as a passing ...
5
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2answers
1k views

What mechanism causes oscillations of the solar system's orbit about the galactic plane?

In a recent paper (news release here) Lisa Randall and Matthew Reece propose that a dark matter disk coinciding with the galactic plane together with the solar system's oscillations through the ...
5
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0answers
124 views

How to calculate geocentric conjunction time and moon altitude at a given time

Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia determine the new moon if these criteria meet at 29th day: The geocentric conjunction occurs before sunset. The moon sets after the sun. I've got the formula ...
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4answers
201 views

Inclination in Kepler's laws

So, you can determine the location of an object in an orbit at any given time via Kepler's laws, but how do you determine the orbital inclination at any given point in time?
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3answers
124 views

Are multiple satellites required to handle geostationary orbits?

Do geostationary satellites need to have the equator as the plane of rotation, and the earth's centre to be the centre of rotation? Can it rotate over, say, the Tropic of Cancer, focusing on a single ...
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2answers
678 views

How did Kepler determine the orbital period of Mars?

As I understand it, Kepler used the orbital period of Mars, along with observational data of Mars' and the sun's position in the sky to derive the orbits of Earth and Mars. (As described, here: ...
4
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1answer
178 views

Do all moons orbit their planets on the ecliptic?

Do all moons orbit their planets on the ecliptic? Do they all follow this same process as the moon that orbits Earth, or is their some random distribution with some even having extreme polar orbits.
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1answer
298 views

What is the orientation of planetary orbits?

I'm working on a planetary motion simulator. I've been working through the equations anomaly, eccentricity, etc. The one thing I'm curious about is if all the ellipses are oriented the exact same way ...
4
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1answer
172 views

How is it that all planets (and moons) in our solar system are in equilibrium orbits?

Previously, I was told that in order for any bodies to orbit each other for over a long period of time, the orbital period, distance and masses have to be precisely matched such that the bodies won't ...
4
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2answers
170 views

Why do objects all orbit in the same direction?

In a solar system or a planet that has many moons, why do their orbiting objects all orbit in the same direction? Is it possible for two orbiting masses to orbit in the opposite direction of each ...
4
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1answer
2k views

How can I calculate the orbital periods in a binary star system?

I have two stars, with known masses and known orbital radius. How do I calculate the orbital periods of both stars?
4
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1answer
116 views

Can orbital migration cause a planet to crash into the sun?

If the planets move out of their current orbits into other orbits over long periods of time could this cause a planet to crash into the sun? Maybe the term crash is a little dramatic, could the orbit ...
4
votes
1answer
95 views

Ambiguity in Earth's “Tilt”

It’s well-known that the axial tilt of the Earth (with respect to the ecliptic) is about 23.4 degrees. However, two angles is needed to specify the orientation of any rigid body, so it’s unclear to me ...
4
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1answer
51 views

How (un)stable are the Lagrangian points 1, 2 and 3?

A couple questions, please: I know that the Lagrangian points 1, 2 and 3 are unstable and special Lissajous orbits plus some station-keeping are required to place a spacecraft around them. But I was ...
4
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1answer
38 views

Why do spectroscopic binaries have approximate circular orbits?

So for an assignment I have to answer the question what I can conclude concerning the shape of the orbit, knowing that it is both an eclipsing and spectroscopic binary. Now, I think the answer I ...
4
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1answer
271 views

Why are most planetary orbits nearly circular

In our solar system, with the exception of Pluto all planets follow a relatively circular orbit around the Sun, at the same inclination. They also all rotate in the same direction, none are ...
4
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1answer
77 views

How to cool down a moon?

I'm doing an Astronomy project and need to terraform a moon. It is about the size of Mars and orbits a gas giant which is at a distance of 1.28 AU of its star. I though about putting a sunshade at the ...
4
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1answer
117 views

Simulate an orbit with orbital elements

I want to simulate the orbits of the planets from our solar system. I want to use orbital elements to calculate the current position(xyz) at a time t. The simulation doesn't have to be too exact, but ...
4
votes
2answers
249 views

What are the azimuths of the planets' orbits?

I am creating a virtual solar system model and I want it to be as realistic as possible (e.g. orbits are ellipses, not circles, and orbits are oriented correctly, not all coplanar). In order for me ...
4
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1answer
195 views

Where did this famous Planetary Precession Formula come from?

The following equation (which I shall term the Planetary Precession Formula, PPF for short) famously appeared in a 1915 publication by Einstein where he indicated how it could be derived from his ...
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2answers
301 views

Is the ratio between earth's distance from the sun and the speed of light just a coincidence?

I was doing some calculations to see how hard it would be to observe the speed of light and discovered an interesting correlation between the speed of light and the average distance from the earth to ...
3
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3answers
864 views

Circular orbits

First of all, I'm studying orbits for a hobby: world building. Unfortunately, my mathematical abilities approach a ridiculous low threshold, which means I am stuck with reading the simplest ...
3
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1answer
201 views

Could a habitable satellite of a gas giant have a stable subsatellite?

I have set a science fiction story on a moon, orbiting a gas giant (which orbits its star at approximately the same orbit as the Earth around the Sun), and given this moon its own satellites. The ...
3
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1answer
138 views

What does the orbit of multiple star systems look like?

How can I find simulations of trinary, 4-nary.. etc. star systems? What do they look like? For example the Alpha Centauri system has 3 stars and possible planets. What does that orbit look like? I ...
3
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1answer
241 views

How long does it take Dawn to orbit Ceres?

I haven't been able to find the orbit time of Dawn around Ceres. Do you know how long it takes?
3
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2answers
102 views

Is there an orbit that could cause regular debris showers like in the movie Gravity?

[some spoilers] If you were in the ISS and orbiting the Earth roughly every 90 minutes, would it be possible for debris to be orbiting such that it passes you every 90 minutes? While Neil DeGrass ...
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2answers
80 views

How common are exoplanets in distant orbits?

Are there many single transits in the Kepler data, which might be exoplanets with a longer orbital period than the time they have been observed for transits? Can any conclusions be drawn about how ...
3
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1answer
110 views

Capturing Ceres

Would it be possible to slightly change the trajectory of Ceres to make it end up orbiting the Earth without messing up the Solar System? How much energy would be required and how long would the ...
3
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2answers
249 views

Does the orbital variation in planetary gravity affect the Sun's corona

Dimitris (see below) argues that the syzygies of the Earth and Venus and those of Mercury, Earth and Jupiter distort the Sun's corona, which in some way affects climate on the scale of hundreds of ...
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1answer
5k views

Average amount of annual daylight at any place on earth

If this is the wrong group please direct me to the correct one. It seems intuitively obvious that the amount of daylight per annum should be the same for any latitude on earth. For example, 12 hours ...
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2answers
2k views

How fast is a comet moving when it crosses Earth's orbit?

Is it about the same as Earth's orbital speed?