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Questions tagged [orbital-elements]

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

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Why is Neptune true anomaly decreasing?

So I've been having fun with trying to determine where the perihelia of different planets are (using JPL Horizons). And by the time I got to Saturn, something weird started happening. I've noticed ...
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2answers
62 views

Explanation of Longitude of Periapsis [duplicate]

I'm looking for a mathematical justification of the longitude of periapsis as it makes no mathematical sense to me as a notion. By definition, it is the sum of the argument of periapsis and the ...
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1answer
41 views

Moonkeps PC program

Does anyone know where I could obtain a program called Moonkeps? It was an old MsDos based program that produced, I believe, the Keplerian elements for tracking the Moon and also the Sun. I wish to ...
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1answer
50 views

Problems with computing X,Y,Z positions of planets at a certain time in Unity3D (C#)

I'm trying to create a little program in Unity3D that positions the planets in 3D space at a given time. I've followed this document: http://stjarnhimlen.se/comp/ppcomp.html. Using the data from ...
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54 views

Semi-major axis, vs aphelion, vs mean orbital distance?

The website Swinburne University of Technology (AU) gives the definition of semi-major axis as: ...half of the longest diameter of an ellipse. This website give the definition of semi-major axis ...
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Tables of aphelion/perihelion dates for other planets?

It's relatively easy to find tables for Earth aphelion and perihelion dates and times, such as this one: http://www.astropixels.com/ephemeris/perap2001.html But what about the other planets in the ...
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38 views

What is the symbol for the orbital parameter, epoch

What is a usual common symbol for the 'seventh' orbital Keplerian parameter, the epoch? I get six Keplerian parameters, for example I choose from here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
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1answer
154 views

Saturn's tropical year?

What is the value of Saturn's "tropical year" (as opposed to its "sidereal year"). I am seeing it listed as 10 days shorter (10,747 days) than the sidereal year (10,759.22 days). How could this be ...
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73 views

Given sunrise, noon, sunset, longitude and latitude can I calculate the “hight” or “ascension” of the sun?

I'm trying to make a simple app for my own use to be able to check which of my favorit restaurants have outdoor seating sun and for how long etc. Given the data in the title (sunrise, noon, sunset, ...
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1answer
80 views

Calculating obital velocity from radial velocity

I'm not really a physicist so I don't know if it's possible to get the real orbital velocity of a star from its radial velocity. I'm working on a paper for school and I want to get the mean velocity ...
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1answer
38 views

Calculate eccentricity from apside altitudes? [closed]

I need to calculate the eccentricity of a satellite orbit with only the apside altitudes (height above the surface of the Earth), 400 and 1500 km. However, I don't know the semi-major axis ($a$) or ...
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1answer
97 views

Longitude of Perihelion at J2000?

My textbook (and lots of other sources) shows the earth's longitude of perihelion at the epoch around 103 degrees. I understand that this means (in the neighborhood of J2000) the earth will reach ...
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1answer
180 views

How would one calculate the synodic period between 3 planets?

I don't know if this is the correct term, but how would one calculate the time it takes for 3 planets to lie on the same line?
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88 views

How do I calculate the hour angle of a planet's moon from a point on that planet's surface?

I'm worldbuilding and I'm trying to construct a standing stone calendar that'll accurately denote where to look for my planet's moon at its four major phases from 53.8 degrees South. So, I need the h0,...
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0answers
67 views

Does habitable zone take tidally locked bodies into account?

Imagine a tidally locked planet orbiting a red dwarf, where habitability is not situated close to terminator zone, but on a "small" cap normal to incident starlight (zenith) with permanent average +15 ...
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1k views

Can one approximate the semi-major axis of an orbit as the average orbital distance for eccentric orbits?

Kepler's 3rd Law (regarding the relation between orbital period and the semi-major axis of an orbit) applies to all elliptical orbits. But as I understand it, the only reason it is safe to use the ...
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1answer
316 views

How to calculate true equinox position?

I'm trying to calculate the state of the Earth at a given time using Keplerian orbital elements from this page. It has the following instruction: Compute the coordinates, $\mathbf r_{ecl}$, in ...
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37 views

If the moon's orbit decays- how would it effect the moon's phases? [closed]

If a planet passed near the moon and caused its orbit to decay down to earth- how long could it take and how would that effect the visible phases of the moon on earth?
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1answer
160 views

Can a binary star optically “orbit” a planet?

I was watching a science fiction anime from the mid 70's. In it, there was a star orbiting a planet. Since this seemed impossible, and I had never heard of it, I looked on the internet to see if this ...
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1answer
167 views

How Can I Interpolate Ephemerides?

I have two ephemerides for orbital elements—that is, each contains $a$ (semi-major axis), $e$ (ecc.), $i$ (incl.), $\Omega$ (long. asc. node), $\omega$ (arg. of peri.), $\tau$ (time of peri.), $T$ (...
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101 views

Ecliptic plane, its precise definition useful for calculations

My question is similar to the one posted by Abtract, whom however never got a useful answer. I am trying to calculate from scratch the exact times of sunrise and sunset anywhere on earth taking into ...
4
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1answer
237 views

Orbits using Newtons laws

I am making a small orbit simulator. I figured out Kepler's laws and know how to work with them to "update" an orbit based on time. So now I want to know how I can describe orbits with newton laws. ...
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1answer
121 views

Is there a preference for orbital planes of planetary systems to be aligned with the galactic disk?

I'm not sure for how many planetary systems we have a fairly good idea of the inclination and "argument of periapsis" of the orbital plane. I'm assuming there are a number of them that we can estimate ...
2
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1answer
831 views

How Wide is Earth's Roche Limit?

My question is simple: Given the gravitational relationship between Earth and the moon, how wide is Earth's roche limit? How close does the moon have to orbit before getting disintegrated by Earth's ...
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1answer
115 views

VSOP87D: What are the purpose of the initial columns in the VSOP87D data?

I am trying to write an app to determine planetary positions, using Jean Meeus' Astronomical Algorithms as a reference. His guidance on using the VSOP87D data is straightforward, as are many other ...
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2answers
301 views

Sun's orbital elements

I have the orbital elements of an asteroid's heliocentric motion (the orbit has non-zero inclination and is elliptical). But I want to simulate the motion of the sun around the asteroid. So without ...
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1answer
192 views

How to calculate planetary position over vast time spans

Ignoring the turbulent beginnings of our solar system I wonder if there is a meaningful way to calculate the relative position of the planets of our solar system 100 million years into the future ...
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1answer
430 views

Orbital elements of solar system using Pyephem

I'm using the astrometric python module Pyephem, and I would like to get the orbital (keplerian) elements for the solar system planets. The only values I found is the heliocentric latitude, ...
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1answer
336 views

Orbital velocity of a planet - why is my calculation off by about 10%?

I am not sure if I am doing something wrong, or misunderstanding Reider and Kenworthy (2016). I'm just trying to reproduce the orbital velocities listed in Table 1. The second paragraph of Section II ...
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1answer
111 views

Calculate eccentricity with altitude and semiminor axes

Following on from this question, I wish to know how to find the reverse - how to find eccentricity given a Semi-minor axis & altitude. I want to use something based on $$b=a\sqrt{1−e^2}$$ but ...
4
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1answer
172 views

How to correctly create planetary orbits from kepler elements

I would like to build a gravity model (with 3D graphics) that would build the orbit of the planets based on orbital elements input and the gravity calculation for each element. My initial code is ...
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1answer
68 views

orbital angular momentum and the longitude of ascending node

Consider the motion of a planet around an oblate star. Because of the oblateness the star has a non-zero quadrupole moment which causes the orbital angular momentum of the planet to precess around the ...
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446 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 ...
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100 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 ...
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1answer
62 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: ...
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2answers
513 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 ...
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1answer
136 views

Calculating Orbital Period

I was using this formula to calculate the orbital period of a satellite in days: $T = \sqrt{(4\times \pi^2)\times \frac{R^3}{GM_{center}}}$ Where R^3 is the radius of the orbit, or distance of ...
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1answer
87 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 ...
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628 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 ...
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2answers
650 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 ...
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303 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) ...
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1answer
194 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 ...
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1answer
91 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% ...
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404 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 a certain date and time. For what I am trying to do it is OK to ignore precession of Earth's ...
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1answer
214 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?
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587 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 ...
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1answer
111 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 ...
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511 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 ...
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1answer
204 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 ...
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4answers
438 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?