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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Co-ordinate System of Celestial bodies in space [closed]

My question is How can One Understand what is Azimuthal, Right Ascension, Declination,etc? I had tried understanding but failed.
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Is there a verification of the solar system barycenter as it is theoretically determined?

The barycenter of our solar system is not the sun, but a changeable location outside of the center point of the sun. A often used diagram of that relation is shown below, originated from the Wikipedia ...
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What is the cycle for when the maximum amount of the Moon's apparent area is sunlit?

The Moon is defined as full when its ecliptic longitude is 180$^{\circ}$ distant from the Sun's. But what is the cycle for when the maximum proportion of the moon's apparent area is sunlit, and for ...
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Kepler's equation and eccentric anomaly

From the wiki article about eccentric anomaly follows: $$\cos E = \frac{x}{a}$$ $$\sin E = \frac{y}{b}$$ where E - eccentric anomaly, a - semi-major axis, b - semi-minor axis, P = P(x,y) a point on ...
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Scientific possibility of stationary moons for a writer of fiction

I tried to do some research to find an answer for this question before posting this but didn't find anything that I could sink my teeth into. I was wondering: if it would be possible for a planet to ...
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Can Kepler's 3rd Law be applied in higher dimensions to describe orbits (quadric surfaces)?

Motivation for asking: The 2-D orbital path of a celestial body revolving around another celestial body due to the force of gravity can be described by a conic section; this is the curve formed by ...
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In binary systems, does the speed of the objects vary as they adjust to the movement of the other object?

The speed of objects orbiting in a binary system, like Pluto and Charon, is the speed and direction of the objects smooth, or, do the objects make adjustments that are in some ways like a "tug of war" ...
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Do planets orbit the sun in ellipses because of sun movement vector?

The assumption is made that the planets of our solar system all have elliptical orbits elongated in the same direction. Further, generalized to that orbits around any object with its own orbital ...
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Could the barycenter orbit of our sun be greatly underestimated?

The radius of the suns orbit around the barycenter of the solar system is often measured to be roughly the radius of the sun. Based on the same type of bias that has made humans miss things about ...
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Could a gas giant orbit a star with a 30 year period at a distance of just 1 AU?

Assuming a star with similar properties to our sun, could a gas giant orbit it with an orbital period similar to that of Saturn, but, at a much closer orbital distance, more similar to 1 AU?
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How do I calculate the Hill radius of a star in a binary system?

Is there an easy way to calculate the Hill radius of a star in a binary system at different orbital radii where both stars are of the same mass and in circular orbit around one another’s centre of ...
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Is Earth's Surface “In orbit”?

I'm having trouble understanding relative angular/tangential speeds at increasing altitudes above Earth's surface. In particular, I find this comparison of tangential velocities on Wikipedia very ...
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What exactly is the relationship between the orbits of Neptune's moons Naiad and Thalassa?

Scitechdaily's Wild Orbits of Neptune Moons a ‘Dance of Avoidance’ [Video] links to the YouTube video Neptune Moon Dance (Naiad and Thalassa) and says: In this perpetual choreography, Naiad swirls ...
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Are the orbits of all triple star systems at least technically unstable?

Background: In the Circular Restricted Three Body Problem (CR3BP, CRTBP) some halo orbits are mathematically stable. That means that the orbit of the third body is closed, periodic, and stable ...
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How to find the Orbital Period of two Binary Planets around a Single Star?

This is kind of a weird one. Bare with me! :) Background: (Skip to the math below if you just want to answer questions) In my favorite game, Elite: Dangerous, I "own", or occupy I guess, a system ...
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Given that Kepler's Third Law as stated on most websites doesn't include mass, how does it work for planets in other star systems? [duplicate]

Kepler's Third Law as stated on websites I found while searching for "how to convert between a planet's orbital period and semi major axis" is $P^2 = A^3$ where P is the orbital period in years and A ...
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Orbital speed is (vector) sum of tangential and normal speed?

Orbital speed definition in wiki does not state clearly - it is just tangential speed component or square root of squares of normal and tangential speed (full speed vector). When we say that moon ...
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Could someone please explain to me how I can extract velocity component values from Stellarium, for a given planet?

For a project that I am currently working on, I would like to know how one could extract velocity component values ($v_x$, $v_y$ and $v_z$) for a planet from the Stellarium software. The current ...
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IAO 2015 Question 1 Noon at the Olympiad

Yesterday, on October 16, 2015, the upper culmination of the Sun at the venue of the Olympiad was at 11:29:44 local time. Calculate as accurate as possible at what time the upper culmination of the ...
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Would an object shot from earth fall into the sun?

Would an object shot from earth fall into the sun? If an object is shot at 107,000 km/h via rocket or otherwise, in the opposite direction to our orbit about the sun, it will be traveling at 0 km/h ...
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Propagate Earth trajectory for 1 Myr

What is the most accurate way of propagation of Earth trajectory relatively to the Sun? I need to calculate the Earth-Sun distance. Is there any library on Python? I've used before JPL Horizons, ...
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Would two Earth-like planets on opposite sides of a Sol-like star at about 1 AU be a stable configuration?

Would two Earth-like planets on opposite sides of a Sol-like star at about 1 AU be a relatively stable configuration? I understand that there are tadpole-like orbits and the two planets may not stay ...
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Change of orbit with change of mass?

In the science fiction book 2010, monoliths increase the mass of Jupiter until it becomes a star. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010:_Odyssey_Two The Leonov crew flees Jupiter as a mysterious dark ...
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Origins and most frequently used; perinigricon vs peribothron?

Gizmodo.com's Astronomers Spot Unprecedented Flashes From Our Galaxy's Black Hole mentions Sgr A*'s companion gas cloud G2 and that Wikipedia article uses the term perinigricon, but that mentions ...
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How does the orbit of a 2-body system evolve as it orbits a more massive 3rd body?

I have been reading up on how multiplicity of star systems decline with star mass, which implies a relatively common occurrence of binary star systems orbiting more massive stars. I would imagine this ...
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Speed of Moonrise relative to fixed point on ground

Due to the curvature of the earth, and the way the moon interacts with the atmosphere (especially close to the horizon), is there a known function that describes the speed of the moon relative to its ...
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How do a planet's moons and a planet's rings interact?

I am making a video game which features a planet and its moon. And I thought I would add rings too. But that got me wondering... how do a planet's moon and a planet's ring influence each other? Does ...
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periodic inclination change circumbinary planet

I am studying circumbinary planets and I made a python model to calculate certain properties of the orbits, and when I calculate the inclination I get a sine wave. I do not see a way to predict the ...
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Can Eight Retrograde (seen from Earth) planets occur?

First of all, for the purposes of this question Pluto is a planet. So the eight planets being considered are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. My question is: can all ...
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What kind of effects can maintain Uranus' rings' eccentricities?

The recent paper Thermal Emission from the Uranian Ring System has been in the news recently. The introduction mentions: The ε ring, the brightest and most massive of the narrow rings, was shown to ...
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How can the oblateness of Earth impart torque to change the longitude of ascending node of a satellite?

I've read that you can change the longitude of ascending node of a satellite (i.e. changing the orbital plane without changing the inclination) to change its orbital plane by using the torque imparted ...
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Calculation of day lengths of moons or moons of moons

Is it possible to calculate the day lengths of moons or moons of moons? If so, does the day length depend on the longitude as well as the latitude? Also, if we calculate the day length, is it possible ...
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Why isn't Earth tidally locked to the sun?

Given that the moon has long been tidally locked with the Earth, why isn't Earth (or any of our other solar system's planets) tidally locked to the sun?
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How to choose between methods to resample/interpolate ephemeris state vectors? Are there recognized techniques for orbital data?

I have ephemeris data for state vectors of a satellite in a J2000.0 coordinate system. This data is already filtered and cleaned. The data sample rate ranges between 1 second and 60 seconds, and I ...
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How was this interstellar fireball observed and its trajectory analyzed?

The short, interesting paper Discovery of a Meteor of Interstellar Origin describes a proposed discovery of a second interstellar object. This one hit the Earth, and was discovered not by telescope, ...
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How to determine the eccentricity, knowing the orbital speed and distance

How to determine the orbital eccentricity of a planet, knowing the instantaneous orbital speed of it and the distance from the Sun to the planet at that moment?
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What is the force that changes a satellite’s inclination when orbiting a planet with an equatorial bulge

I tried looking this up without success and I imagine there's a formula for it, with some ridiculous numbers like it drops off to the 5th power of the distance or maybe even more. Imagine a planet ...
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How to draw an orbit from Orbital Elements using Transform3DGroup

I am trying to draw an orbit using the Transform3DGroup class in the C# .NET framework. I have orbital elements a, e, i, RAAN, ArgPer, trueAnom. The algorithm that spits these out for me also gives me ...
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What orbit is the smallest or takes the least time to complete?

What orbit in our solar system would take the least time to perform 1 orbit? What is the fastest possible orbit to complete in the universe?
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What natural mechanisms could lead to the unlikely case of the same rogue asteroid or planet passing through our solar system twice?

I find he following answer to the question What's the soonest Oumuamua could return? unsatisfying and oversimplifying and the last five words "Therefore it will never return." unsupported at a minimum....
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Does a planet's rotation speed and distance from its star influence the precession of its axis? And is the Earth's precession “normal”?

I guess first off, do all/most planets with a tilted axis experience precession? And if so, is it usually in the same direction (clockwise or anticlockwise)? What I'm really curious about is if a ...
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Energy conservation in Interplanetary orbit transfer [duplicate]

When a spacecraft flys past a planet eg. Jupiter , its heliocentric energy increases dramatically allowing it to go further away. How is this possible without using any more rocket fuel?
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How to calculate the argument of perihelion for exoplanets with incomplete orbital elements?

I'm trying to simulate the Kepler-444 exoplanetary system using data from this website. The problem is that there is no argument of periapsis parameter for the Kepler-444 system, so while I think I'm ...
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How was Cruithne's orbital time calculated?

How was it determined that Cruithne takes 770 years to complete its cycle with Earth? Janus and Epimetheus were disovered long enough ago, and have short enough cycle times, that we've had time to ...
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Rendering asteroid orientation as seen from Earth

I am writing a program to render an asteroid as seen from various parts of the solar system. My goal is to roughly reproduce the image of Cacus according to information on its DAMIT detail page. ...
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Tides with 3 Largish Moons [closed]

As part of my worldbuilding for a book, I’d like to have a planet with extreme variance in its tides. I want lowest tide reveal about 30 miles of floodplain, and occasional massive tidal waves. I ...
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How close would the orbit of Mars have to be to that of the Earth to induce a collision?

When the Earth passes by Mars they exert a slight gravitational pull on each other, but the force is so small that their orbits are not significantly disturbed. However, if we imagined that the ...
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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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How do we know that an exoplanet is tidally locked to the parent star?

Often in discussing exoplanets we hear that they are close to the parent star (usually a red dwarf) but then there's a caveat that the planet is tidally locked to that star and that that fact severely ...
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does the orientation of orbital plane of our solar system rotate with the galaxy

As I understand it, our solar system travels through the milky way with the orbital plane tilted about 60 degrees so that we are sort of traveling in the direction of earth's north. My question is if ...