# Questions tagged [orbital-elements]

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

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### 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, ...
356 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 ...
468 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 ...
151 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 ...
500 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 ...
209 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 ...
86 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 ...
784 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 ...
126 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 ...
74 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: ...
525 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?
93 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 ...
868 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 ...
672 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 ...
463 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) ...
129 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 ...
318 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?
808 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 ...
731 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 ...
265 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, ...
626 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 ...
294 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 ...
570 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 ...
838 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 ...
148 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 ...
108 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 ...
69 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!
356 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....
225 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 ...
57 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 ...
949 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 ...
546 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 ...