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Questions tagged [orbital-mechanics]

The application of ballistics and celestial mechanics to the practical problems concerning the motion of rockets and other spacecraft.

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How many rogue planets or galaxies have been expelled from solar systems or galaxy clusters by chaotic dynamics?

The video below shows how an orbiting mass can be expelled from a 3 body system Chaos in orbiting masses How many rogue planets or galaxies have been expelled from solar systems or galaxy clusters by ...
DaveTheWave's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
34 views

Why my calculations for the eccentric anomalies at the start and end of an interplanetery transfer seem to be off? [migrated]

For a game, to determine an interplanetary transfer I have implemented the method from here. Using the data for their example problem, I get the result with the lowest $\Delta v$ which appears ...
TheWanderer's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

What can be learned from viewing the sun on earth during a total eclipse that cannot be studied by spacecraft in orbit?

I understand that total eclipses are a fantastic time to study the sun's corona, and the reason for this is because the much brighter photosphere is blocked by the moon. But, couldn't the Parker solar ...
Curious Layman's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
127 views

Basics of Tracklet-less Heliocentric Orbit Recovery (THOR) - simple breakdown of how it works?

The New York Times's April 30, 2024 Killer Asteroid Hunters Spot 27,500 Overlooked Space Rocks begins: With the help of Google Cloud, scientists churned through hundreds of thousands of images of the ...
uhoh's user avatar
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2 votes
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Relative translational dynamics of two spacecraft in Keplerian orbit

I need your help understanding some equations in a paper about autonomous rendezvous and proximity operation. The paper is available at this link, but I will summarize the main point in the following. ...
Ogiad's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
76 views

Could a planet or its moon be synchronously tidally locked with the sun, but still in orbit with its moon/planet?

Obviously, with so many stars and presumable planets, lots of things can happen for a short time, but I'm wondering if there is a stable configuration for either twin planets or a planet with a ...
user121330's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
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Has anyone attributed a specific Baily's bead to a specific feature on the Moon? If so, when was this first done?

From Wikipedia's Baily's beads: Lunar topography has considerable relief because of the presence of mountains, craters, valleys and other topographical features. The irregularities of the lunar limb ...
uhoh's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Is the Moon really oscillating around its orbit as seen from Earth?

While simulating today's eclipse, I see something I have never noticed or learnt: Stellarium shows an oscillation of the Moon's trajectory around its orbit as seen from Earth. Is it real or a ...
Cingonius Varro's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
74 views

How can I plot a rotary cam for the equation of time? [closed]

I'd like to use Solidworks to create a cam (peanut looking) for computing the equation of time in a pocket watch. Would appreciate any point to the right direction or advice. Audemars Piguet EoT
noob_watchmaker's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
37 views

Finding the cartesian position of the lunar ascending node

What I'm trying to derive The cartesian position of the lunar ascending node relative to the true equator and equinox of date reference frame. My issue is I'm getting a bit tripped up with reference ...
Hunter's user avatar
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Converting equatorial coordinates of a comet's pole into cometocentric orbital coordinates I and Phi

The comet's spin axis orientation is usually reported in equatorial coordinates RA, Dec; however sometimes these are shown in form of the Eulerian angles equatorial obliquity (I), i.e. the angle ...
user avatar
25 votes
4 answers
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Is it coincidence that the earth's rotation and revolution are in the same direction?

In a reference system where the sun is static, the rotation and revolution of the earth are, when viewed from above the north pole, both counterclockwise. Is it a coincidence that they agree? Or does ...
Marc Vaisband's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
254 views

Area of Influence of Lagrange points?

By which I mean, the area around a Lagrange point where the linear-force approximation of the 3-body system defined at the Lagrange point itself is "good". Background Consider the restricted ...
ScienceSnake's user avatar
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1 vote
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Is this description of ecliptic times correct?

I did a brief write-up as a pet research project to explore astro-geological calculation and visualisation for Muslim prayer times. It's not meant to be authoritative (either scientifically or ...
Reinderien's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
109 views

How well are planetary formation models (e.g., determining $\mathrm{\dot{M}_{planet}}$) understood in 2024?

I know that planets can form through accretion, bulging up from $0$ to their final mass $\mathrm{M_{planet}}$ at $\mathrm{M}(t_f)$. I know that when studying Planetary formation and migration theories,...
nuwe's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
251 views

Fractal structure of the universe

I decided to return to the question first written here after some time, since a short and succinct phrase had formed in my head that described the phenomenon that I was trying to understand. What are ...
dtn's user avatar
  • 773
3 votes
2 answers
142 views

Will the Moon recede far enough that the Earth-Moon barycenter lies outside of Earth's radius before the Sun becomes a red giant?

As most people know, the Moon is receding from Earth at a rate of a few centimeters per year. This rate is not constant; as the Moon gets farther away, the tides it raises will be weaker and thus will ...
user267545's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
234 views

Would the Earth still precess if it were an ideal sphere?

Migrated from Space Exploration I am trying (unsuccessfully) to acquire an intuitive understanding of planetary precession. Is Earth’s precession Torque-free Precession due to its asymmetry as per ...
Woody's user avatar
  • 1,040
13 votes
1 answer
644 views

Are there mascons on Ganymede similar to the ones on the Moon? And if so, how will that impact JUICE when it orbits over Ganymede?

Mascons, also known as mass concentrations, are anomalous features on the Moon that tug on orbiting spacecraft and cause their orbits to decay and crash on short timescales. There are only a handful ...
user267545's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
144 views

Just how resonant is the "resonant sextuplet of sub-Neptunes transiting the bright star HD 110067"?

The November 29, 2023 arXiv preprint A resonant sextuplet of sub-Neptunes transiting the bright star HD 110067 constructs a resonant chain of orbital periods based on mean motion resonances (MMRs) and ...
uhoh's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
209 views

Do the Galilean moons' orbits around the Sun have loops (i.e. have concave parts)? And if so, how can their orbits be graphed?

The shape of the Moon's orbit around the Sun has been discussed to death, and the answer is that the Moon's orbit has no concave "loops" whatsoever. I am relatively sure that the determinant ...
user267545's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
130 views

Would a planet's tidal forces really push away a moon out of its Hill Sphere?

If a moon orbits in the same direction as its planet's rotation (i.e. a prograde orbit), and its orbital period is longer than its planet's rotational period, then tidal forces would cause the moon to ...
user267545's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
39 views

Appropriate NEO databases for preliminary orbit determination simulations

I am a high school student that is currently writing an extended essay in physics. In my essay I compare the accuracy of Gauss method and double-r iteration method for determining the preliminary ...
juniorastro's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
77 views

Equation for calculating boolean answer to "is this Earth satellite in eclipse"

I have found plenty of math for determining duration of satellite eclipse, but I am having trouble finding an equation that produces a simple boolean answer to the question "Is this Earth ...
Michael Bonnet's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
36 views

Should you include aberration effects during low Earth orbit observations?

I am working on calibration of some observations of low Earth orbit satellites and I am wondering should I include aberration effects? My logic is that diurnal aberration would have neglegible ...
jlipinski's user avatar
  • 297
3 votes
1 answer
123 views

Corkscrew-like stable two-body system

I recently created a celestial body simulation in python for one of my classes. While playing around with different values I obtained a weird two-body stable system.. For context, these bodies are ...
Konstantinos Benjamin Vigos's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
120 views

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 ...
dtn's user avatar
  • 773
1 vote
0 answers
307 views

Three Body Problem using Python

I need help with an assignment. I'm doing a little project for a subject on my university and as the title says, its to find a solution to the three body problem restricted to a circular motion. The ...
diegoski01's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
49 views

How do the orbits of star systems V871 Centauri (septuple), Gamma Cassiopeiae (octuple), and QZ Carinae (nonuple) work?

Several years ago, I asked the question on here, "How do the orbits of Nu Scorpii and AR Cassiopeiae work?" At the time, these two stellar systems were the most populated (I don't know the ...
Curious Layman's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
175 views

Apsidal precession

I found this article about calculating apsidal precession: https://farside.ph.utexas.edu/teaching/336k/Newton/node115.html I tried to calculate rate of apsidal precession from this equation, but I had ...
Bedlasky's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
279 views

Orbit of the moon so that there are no eclipses

Theoretically speaking, what orbit should the earth's moon must take so that there are never any eclipses - solar or lunar? Is it mathematically possible to construct such an orbit?
Dr. user44690's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
272 views

How to convert TEME (or ITRF) to horizontal

I have TEME coordinates from sgp4 propagation. I can convert those (in python) to ITRF given date and time of observation. How to convert coordinates from one of those two frames to horizontal azimuth ...
jlipinski's user avatar
  • 297
16 votes
3 answers
3k views

Under which conditions could a planet's massive moon's orbit get closer to the planet?

The recent question How do we know the Moon was much closer than it is now? has piqued my interest. The answers are numerous and clear. But I started to wonder. The question includes the following ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 30.7k
1 vote
1 answer
162 views

How to turn find velocity dispersion from radial velocity

In the above given picture Vi is the velocity of the i-th galaxy in the cluster while Vm is the mean velocity of a galaxy in the cluster. and V i,r is the radial velocity of the i-th galaxy and V m,r ...
Moiz khokhar's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Concerning a binary system of stars/planets/black holes could one of them be ejected before eventually merging or colliding?

I was having a discussion with an undergraduate student of physics about binaries and their interactions with external celestial bodies (which could cause the ejection of one of the members in the ...
vengaq's user avatar
  • 937
3 votes
0 answers
68 views

Gravitational recoil with stars/planets...?

When two black holes are merging, the resulting merge can be ejected if one of the black holes had less mass than the other one, so the gravitational waves emitted by both of them is unbalanced, and ...
vengaq's user avatar
  • 937
1 vote
1 answer
53 views

Eccentricity of TLE orbit from velocity and radius in TEME

I was reading this question: Calculation of Eccentricity of orbit from velocity and radius and tried to use the proposed equation to reconstruct the ecco field of TLE by it's R,V vectors. The formula ...
truf's user avatar
  • 113
3 votes
3 answers
234 views

Will all satellites get inevitably tidally locked to their planet?

Are there cases or conditions in which an object orbiting another one (e.g. a satellite and its planet) does not get tidally locked to it? For example, in this question, it is mentioned that a large ...
vengaq's user avatar
  • 937
5 votes
1 answer
200 views

Can rings last around planets indefinitely?

Apparently, Saturn is losing its rings (https://weather.com/en-IN/india/space/news/2023-05-04-saturn-is-losing-its-rings-webb-may-tell-us-how-long-they-have-left) However, is there any way or ...
vengaq's user avatar
  • 937
17 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is the shape of orbit assuming gravity does not depend on distance?

We know that the orbit of the earth is elliptical considering the force of gravity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance. But assume that, gravity does not depend on distance. ...
Arafat's user avatar
  • 171
3 votes
1 answer
159 views

Do all orbits emit gravitational waves?

In principle, all orbits in the universe should progressively decay due to the emission of gravitational waves. However, does this always happen? Are there any kind of orbits that do not decay as they ...
vengaq's user avatar
  • 937
2 votes
1 answer
148 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 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 30.7k
2 votes
1 answer
183 views

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 ...
Ana's user avatar
  • 181
5 votes
0 answers
91 views

Are dust-dust collisions necessary to explain Kordylewski clouds at Earth-Moon L4/5? Aren't the cross-sections, number density timescales too small?

The recent question Can dark matter accumulate at Lagrange points? mentions Kordylewski clouds and that article begins: Kordylewski clouds are large concentrations of dust that exist at the L4 and L5 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 30.7k
2 votes
0 answers
128 views

Code for Gauss's method orbit determination

I'm trying to calculate the state vectors of the ISS using Gauss's method with three sets of values (right ascension, declination and sidereal time). I'm following the method described in "...
specimen_n1l3's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
69 views

Why did the path of J002E3 pass through almost the same point four times?

In 2002–2003, an object called J002E3 passed close to the earth in a chaotic orbit. According to NASA CNEOS (Center for Near Earth Object Studies) the orbit looked like this: (This is a screenshot of ...
MJD's user avatar
  • 141
4 votes
1 answer
151 views

What moons have cleared their orbits?

The Wikipedia article Clearing the Neighborhood lists three numeric parameters that can be calculated for bodies orbiting the Sun as a way to indicate orbital dominance: Stern and Levinson's $\Lambda$,...
Mark Foskey's user avatar
  • 3,916
1 vote
3 answers
147 views

Are there such circumbinary planet configurations that two suns move towards each other by the sky?

Is it possible that suns move towards each other (not necessarily in opposite directions)? Such a configuration would cause interesting dusk and midday light cycles, in my opinion. Basically the ...
ivan866's user avatar
  • 109
19 votes
3 answers
6k views

Is it possible to have satellites (natural or not) orbit the same celestial object in different directions ? (clockwise, counterclockwise)

Is it possible to have satellites (natural or not) orbit the same celestial object in different directions, or is the orbital direction dependent on the celestial object's spin? Also, is the direction ...
Demis's user avatar
  • 883
2 votes
1 answer
95 views

largest balanced mass objects in Earth's L4 & L5 Lagrange points?

What is the largest single-object mass that would allow two objects of equal mass to have a stable orbit, one each, in Earth's L4 and L5 Lagrange points?
JBH's user avatar
  • 550

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