# Questions tagged [celestial-mechanics]

Questions regarding the motions of celestial objects.

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### Need Simple equation for Rise, Transit, and Set time

I've been looking, unsuccessfully, for hours for a simple set of equations: Input: RA and Dec of an object Observers Lat and Lng Current Time Output: Rise Time Transit Time Set Time (and, ...
12k views

### Why do the planets in our solar system orbit in the same plane?

(Yes I'm excluding Pluto from this the same way it was excluded for not being a planet) Observing the planets orbit of the Sun they all seem relatively planar and roughly all orbit along the same ...
20k views

### Is Venus in some way tidally locked to... Earth?

The video here demonstrates how Earth sees the same face of Venus every inferior conjunction (i.e., two planets are the closest to each other): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m_ouMC61-w (or https://...
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### Where do we have it from that the Moon is migrating away from Earth?

I know Neil Armstrong placed a mirror on the Moon and people shoot lasers there which get reflected, thus measuring the time the light needs they can conclude the current distance of the Moon. But the ...
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### The deduction of the Hill Sphere formula

This question may be a little lazy, but can anybody give me a proof of the Hill sphere formula? Acording to wikipedia, the formula for the radius, $r$, is r\approx a(1-e)\left(\frac{m}{3M}\right)^{...
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### What causes objects to become tidally locked?

I'm trying to write a gravity simulation (suns planets etc), and was hoping tidal locking could be one feature demonstrated. Using a simple equation for gravity has produced some interesting results, ...
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### Is Io's orbit or rotation affected by its volcanism?

The rotations of comets and asteroids are affected by outgassing volatilities. Io is very volcanically active. Does this give Io a varying orbit and a slow rotation? Tidal forces should take longer ...
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### Implementation of formulae for Meeus for the Moon

With Astronomical Algorithms by J. Meeus (1998) I have obtained the relevant illuminated fraction of the disk and position angle. But they're numbers (all Greek to me!) I know, Meeus explains that ...
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### Open source code for the maths behind a heliostat?

Theoretically, using a Raspberry Pi, (at least) one mirror, and two motors, one should be able to build a heliostat, i.e. a device which redirects sunlight to a fixed spot, like a scrub in the shadow ...
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### Explanation about the resonance, mean motion resonance and libration

I am studying for a project the dynamics of multi-planetary system in resonance. I have two questions about this domain. In many articles they speak about 'mean motion resonance', what is the ...
618 views

### How can the next supermoon be analytically predicted?

The lunar motion can be predicted with basic celestial mechanics, but the perigee and apogee are not always the same, basically because the attraction of the Sun makes some oscilations in the semi-...
126 views

### What is the difference between SPICE kernels and JPL Development Ephemerides? Is a DE just a bunch of kernels on a string?

My imposter syndrome is acting up again after I posted several comments under: What is the mathematics needed for understanding DE440 and translating it into xyz coordinates? Now I feel like I don't ...
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### Why does east and west appear to be mirrored in the celestial sphere?

I'm wondering why East is left and West on the right of the celestial sphere if you look at images of it? Example below: (source)
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### If Saturn's rings cannot coalesce into a moon because of tidal forces, then how are shepherd moons able to exist?

From Wikipedia: In celestial mechanics, the Roche limit, also called Roche radius, is the distance within which a celestial body, held together only by its own force of gravity, will disintegrate due ...
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### clarification of the Kozai mechanism

As Wikipedia says, In celestial mechanics, the Kozai mechanism, or the Lidov–Kozai mechanism, is a perturbation of the orbit of a satellite by the gravity of another body orbiting farther out, ...
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### Is Pluto a "proto-planet"?

My question is this : could the Charon-Pluto system becomes in the coming few millions years a full fledged planet, as in the IAU classification ? I ask this because there are two facts that bother ...
799 views

### Could an ejected "extra ice-giant" still be lurking in distant solar orbit?

BACKGROUND Hot Jupiters are thought to have migrated inwards, implying that another giant planet has been ejected in order to conserve the orbital momentum of those planetary systems. The number of ...
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### Has any moon achieved "retrograde equatorial orbit"?

There are many moons which have low (almost negligible) inclination and can be considered to rotate at the planet's equatorial plane. For instance, Galilean moons have almost negligible inclination (&...
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### What variables are needed to calculate simple horseshoe orbit times?

EDIT This was NOT a duplicate of Horseshoe orbit cycle times. But that other question has been deleted, regardless. My original question asked for the answer to the equation(s), and provides many of ...
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### Determining North-South Line Via Watch Method: Theory & Reason

I recently read that if you're in the northern hemisphere and have an analog watch, then you can point the hour hand at the sun and know that a south line lies between (bisection) the hour hand and ...
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### Do all the planets travel along the same constellations?

If humans ever moved to another planet in this solar-system, what constellations would the sun meet from that perspective? What constellations would the sun look like it is meeting from the ...
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### How is Earth's Rotation Angle (ERA) defined and measured

UTC typically ticks with TAI. But to keep UTC from drifting far from the rotation angle of the Earth we occasionally add leap seconds to ensure that UTC does not drift too far from the UT1 timescale. ...
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### Requirements for a satellite/planet to be tidally locked to a planet/star

The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth, the Four Galilean are tidally locked as well, and the recently found planetary sistem TRAPPIST-1 has seven tidally locked planets, but Venus or Mercury are not....
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### Why does the Sun track out a seemingly sinusoidal path on the celestial sphere?

The question arose because I wanted to understand the path of the ecliptic after reading about it here: https://johnlucey.webspace.durham.ac.uk/users/solar-year/ Is the sinusoidal path due to Earth’s ...
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### 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 ...
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### Can we learn anything from the chaotic movement of Hydra and Nix?

The NASA Visualization Explorer Moons In Chaos says Hydra and Nix, two of the moons of Pluto, show chaotic movement due to the shifting gravitational field. How long a day lasts and where the sun ...
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### How can the Earth and the Moon be in synchronous rotation if the Moon won't be in geostationary orbit?

It is said that the Moon moves away from Earth and that during the Sun's red giant or white dwarf phase the Moon will be about 40% farther than now and in a synchronous rotation ("hantle rotation&...
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### What is the mathematics needed for understanding DE440 and translating it into xyz coordinates?

I would like to write my own code to process NASA's DE440/DE441 ephemerides, but I do not know the mathematics needed to do this. I understand packages such as pyephem have implemented variations of ...
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### Hierarchy of gravitational interactions of astronomical objects: from single to large-scale structures

Hierarchical structure is clearly visible in the Universe. The "observable universe" includes almost empty voids, between which lie large cosmic filaments. The filaments consist of galactic ...
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### Does the Honey moon have a precession problem?

In Steven Colbert's interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson after about 03:16 the following is explained: But wait, all the moons - all the full moons of the year have ...
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1 vote