Questions about the parameters needed to specify the characteristics of an orbit.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

41
votes
4answers
6k views

How does the Earth move in the sky as seen from the Moon?

I just want to be sure I am visualizing this correctly, because it seems odd. The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth but there are wobbles to its motion due to libration. So from a point on the ...
6
votes
2answers
168 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
290 views

Does natural satellite(s) of a planet affects its orbital velocity around a star?

Please excuse me for a lay question. As we know, to calculate the orbital velocity, we take the mass of the orbiting body, the mass of the body being orbited and the distance between the two bodies ...
4
votes
4answers
210 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?
4
votes
1answer
111 views

Why would the Earth's solar analemma would be still a figue eight even if Earth's orbit was circular?

The Earth's solar analemma is a diagram showing the deviation of the Sun from its mean motion in the sky, as viewed from a fixed location on the Earth. ... For [a planet] with a circular orbit but ...
4
votes
1answer
126 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
0answers
38 views

Orbital eccentricity variation of the other planets?

On Earth, it's fairly well published, mostly in climate change related articles, that the Earth's orbital eccentricity operates on a 413,000 year cycle with roughly 90,000 - 125,000 year variation ...
3
votes
1answer
88 views

Calculate apsides without knowing eccentricity

How would one go about determining the apsides of an orbit, knowing only the current distance between the 2 bodies, the orbital velocity, and the period? Every formula I've seen requires eccentricity, ...
2
votes
1answer
70 views

Name for 1-e and 1+e terms?

In several equations of orbital elements (such as the determination of true anomaly from mean anomaly), the terms 1-e and 1+e appear. These are the ratios of the orbital periapsis and apoapsis to the ...
2
votes
1answer
202 views

Are ascending node of sun, the point of intersection of prime meridian and equator and center of earth all collinear?

I did a bit of googling but couldn't find the exact answer, so are the following 3 points collinear or not ? 1_center of earth 2_ascending(or descending) node of sun 3_point of intersection of ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

Math for calculating the terrestrial longitude directly under the sun with time

I'm trying to calculate the longitude on the earth where it's noon at some time. (That is, the longitude which is coplanar with the plane defined by the sun and the earth's axis.) Here is my python ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

Roll, Pitch and Yaw of Orbital Planes

I have been reading about celestial mechanics and particularly about planetary orbits. I understand that a planet's orbit can be tilted (pitched) with respect to the Earth's ecliptic and that it might ...
2
votes
1answer
88 views

How many observations does it take to determine the orbit of a TNO

Several observations of a distant solar object must be taken before determining its orbit, but in the case of objects discovered beyond Neptune's orbit, just how many are required over what period of ...
2
votes
1answer
248 views

Derivation of the formula for longitude of ascending node for a satellite

I've been looking into the document IS-GPS-200H to understand how to calculate satellite location in the ECEF coordinate. I am having problem understanding the formula to derive $\Omega$, the ...
2
votes
0answers
95 views

Earth-Centered Earth-Fixed coordinates with respect to heliocentric coordinate system at vernal equinox

I am trying to calculate the position of a point on the Earth's surface with respect to the Sun's center at certain date at time. For what I am trying to do it is OK to ignore precession of Earth's ...
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Why don't the stars in a binary star system of equal masses always orbit their center of mass in a circular orbit?

If I have a binary object system of equal masses, why don't they always have the same circular orbit around their center of mass, like in the photo?
1
vote
1answer
44 views

How to understand orbit definitions

I've been reading about satellite observations (such as this one). The writer uses terms such as these to define the orbit: ...
1
vote
1answer
132 views

Why planet's orbit is not perpendicular or random ?

Why planet's orbit is not perpendicular or random ? It always seems each planet is revolving on the same geometric-plane around the star.
1
vote
2answers
71 views

Determining distance from semi-major axis and eccentricity

I am trying to obtain the distance covered by an object in orbit around the earth within a specified amount of time past its perigee passage. The object is in an elliptical orbit with eccentricity 0.2 ...
1
vote
1answer
211 views

What is exactly the “longitude of the perigee”

Some moon phase calculation algorithms (apparently derived from Duffet-Smith's book, example here) seem to use a parameter called "longitude of perigee at epoch". What exactly is this? Can I assume ...
1
vote
2answers
115 views

Is there a standard mapping of symbols to terms for celestial and orbital mechanics

Is there a standard mapping of symbols to terms for celestial and orbital mechanics (and physics in general)? For example here are some ambiguities Angular Momentum: L, H, J, $\Gamma$, Orbital ...
1
vote
1answer
150 views

Orbital Elements Transformations

I'm a third year undergrad, and for the project I'm doing this summer, I need to figure out the Earth's position and velocity from the moon's point of view. From the reading I've done, it seems like ...
1
vote
1answer
55 views

Asteroids in langrangian Points 4 & 5

There are Asteroids "trapped" in Jupiters Langrange points 4 and 5 called trojans and greeks. Are there any asteroids in the earths L4 and L5? Have we seen asteroids in Lagrange points of the earth ...
1
vote
1answer
114 views

Orbital elements: Difference between longitude of perihelion and argument of perifocus

I am learning orbital elements and one thing isn't clear to me. When I look at the Horizon's ephemeris data for Mars, this gives me argument of perifocus equal to roughly 286.53 degrees on epoch J2000....
1
vote
1answer
44 views

Sensitivity of calculated orbital elements to observational errors

These days, we have some very precise ways of making measurements, but I'm sure it wasn't so in Kepler's day. So I am wondering how astronomers of that time could make such accurate determinations of ...
1
vote
2answers
403 views

Convert orbital elements to positions and velocities

I've written a quick and dirty n-body simulator, but currently it requires initial positions and velocities. I've been looking for a way to convert Keplerian orbital elements to positions and ...
1
vote
2answers
102 views

What is the effect of the axial precession on the orientation of the planet's orbits?

I am working on an online application to visualize the positions of the planets and to calculate their ephemerides (you find it here, but it is not complete yet). I do not have much knowledge in ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Eclipse in sun-synchronous orbits

I am trying to figure out the eclipse periods of a satellite orbiting the Earth. The satellite is placed on a circular sun-synchronous orbit at 800 km height. The LTAN (local time of ascending node) ...
0
votes
1answer
29 views

The Three Elements in the Milankovitch Cycles

According to the Serbian geophysicist Milutin Milankovitch, there are three elements that make an ice age possible: Eccentricity (orbital shape): Varying between 0.000055 and 0.0679 over the course ...
0
votes
1answer
38 views

Orbital Elements Mars near June 2014

do you know any website in which I could obtain orbital elements of planets at some date? For instance, I'm now needing the orbital elements of Mars around June, 2014. Thanks!
0
votes
1answer
55 views

Distance and orbital period for terrestrial binary planets

This article, http://phys.org/news/2014-12-binary-terrestrial-planets.html, suggests binary planets could orbit each other at a distance of only three planet radii. For two earth-like planets, that is ...
0
votes
1answer
65 views

State vectors of “interesting” multiple stars

I'd like to show a demonstration of Runge Kutta integration of real systems using examples of interesting multiple stars, where "interesting" means you can see through a small telescope that they are ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Accuracy of Laplace Method for determining orbital elements

Recently I had to implement Laplace method and apply it to 3 observations of Mars (10 days in between two observations). The results were pretty good, with discrepancies with real data well below 5% ...
-1
votes
1answer
46 views

Calculating Orbital Period

I was using this formula to calculate the orbital period of a satellite in days: T = sqrt[(4*pi^2)*R^3/GM-center] Where R^3 is the radius of the orbit, or distance of the semi-major axis, G is ...