Questions tagged [orbital-mechanics]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
54
votes
1answer
7k views

Why is the asteroid belt shaped like a triangle?

So, in this question, the user JollyJoker posted this image depicting the orbits of the asteroids in the asteroid field in the comments: [ In this image, you can see that while the individual ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

How is the Sun tilted to its orbit around the Milky Way's center?

We know how the Sun is tilted in reference to its planets but how is it tilted to Sagittarius A or its orbit around it? Or isn't it tilted at all?
3
votes
1answer
85 views

What would happen if the earth's orbit were slightly perturbed?

Suppose a rogue planet came zipping through the solar system and changed the earth's orbit a little, including the plane of the orbit. I have the idea that, in a complex system, orbits would tend ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

What is the range of the zenith angle between velocity and position vectors?

I'm coding on a space simulator and I want to draw a predictable orbit for a satellite. I have read about orbits on http://www.braeunig.us/space/ and under the section "Launch of a Space Vehicle" they ...
2
votes
2answers
142 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
90 views

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 ...
8
votes
0answers
98 views

How does the gravitation of Jupiter or other big planets affect Kepler's third law?

Does anyone know any good reference on this? I remember reading once about how Jupiter's gravitation can be treated as a perturbation, but I cannot find it again now. I think they expanded Jupiter's ...
7
votes
1answer
133 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
81 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
70 views

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 ...
-1
votes
3answers
134 views

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 ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
70 views

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" ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

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?
4
votes
0answers
86 views

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 ...
11
votes
4answers
9k views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
347 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
75 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
115 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
79 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

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 ...
19
votes
4answers
8k views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

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, ...
4
votes
1answer
114 views

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 ...
4
votes
0answers
81 views

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 ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
378 views

Do other planets affect the Earth?

Let say Mercury, Venus, the Moon were all in alignment between the Earth and Sun. They are all closest to each other in respective elliptical orbit. On the other side of the Sun you have the rest of ...
1
vote
1answer
84 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

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 ...
23
votes
5answers
7k views

Is Io a magic energy machine?

Io gets its volcanic heat from being flexed by Jupiter's gravity, and this seems to go on forever. That sounds like a magic energy source, since Jovian gravity is perpetual and Io seems to remain in ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
120 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
170 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

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 ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
60 views

Computing the local orbital frame vector directions in a geocentric reference frame

In the context of the study of a cubesat (little satellite), I am asked to define the local orbital frame and compute the local orbital frame vector directions as a function of time : Here the ...
1
vote
0answers
34 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
35 views

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 ...
7
votes
1answer
799 views

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?
11
votes
5answers
18k views

Is the Sun in our solar system moving or stationary?

When I was small, I read that Sun is fixed at the center of the solar system and that all the other planets rotate around it. But later I heard that even the Sun is not fixed; it moves. Is this true? ...
2
votes
0answers
63 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
116 views

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, ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
137 views

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?
1
vote
0answers
38 views

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 ...
1
vote
3answers
146 views

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?
13
votes
2answers
564 views

How can tidal heating lower Io's orbit?

This answer to the question Is Io a magic energy machine? suggests that the energy from the internal heating of Io due to tidal "squishing" as it moves cyclically closer and farther from Jupiter in ...
1
vote
2answers
119 views

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....
1
vote
2answers
5k views

How to find Greenwich Mean Sideral Time?

I'm writing a program that converts position in the ECI (CIS, EPOCH JD2000.0) coordinate system to WGS 84 (CTS, ECEF) coordinates. To do so, I'm following what's described in this document and ...