For example, for a comet that travels on the hyperbolic orbit around the sun.


1 Answer 1


The total energy is the sum of the kinetic energy and the potential energy. It is constant, unless some interaction such as a collision between bodies occurs.

The kinetic energy is easy to understand. For a mass $m$ and velocity $v$ it is given by

$$E_k = ½mv^2$$

The potential energy formula is (technically) given as

$$U = -μm/r$$

where $μ$ is the Standard gravitational parameter. (I say technically because it can be hard to grasp the concept of negative energy. See the linked articles).

In the case of a hyperbolic orbit the velocity and distance from the sun must be measured; one cannot be derived from the other as is the case with a known elliptical orbit.

See also

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is it allowed to ask another related question here ? $\endgroup$
    – EFmiza
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 7:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ We prefer that you post a new question, especially after there is already an answer :-) $\endgroup$
    – andy256
    Commented May 27, 2015 at 7:35

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