Questions tagged [celestial-mechanics]

Questions regarding the motions of celestial objects.

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6
votes
4answers
2k views

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, ...
33
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1answer
8k 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 ...
34
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3answers
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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://...
10
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2answers
2k views

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)^{...
9
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2answers
661 views

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 ...
27
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2answers
9k views

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, by this, measuring the time the light is needing, they can conclude the current distance of the ...
3
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1answer
402 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-...
1
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3answers
135 views

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)
10
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2answers
882 views

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, ...
5
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1answer
4k views

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, ...
8
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2answers
2k views

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 ...
7
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2answers
728 views

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 (&...
5
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1answer
598 views

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 ...
5
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2answers
279 views

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 ...
3
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3answers
296 views

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://community.dur.ac.uk/john.lucey/users/solar_year.html Is the sinusoidal path due to ...
3
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1answer
546 views

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....
2
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2answers
158 views

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&...
2
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1answer
736 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 ...