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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Explanation of an imaginary transformation occurring in the determination of trigonometric series for the elliptical equation of the center

One of the oldest problems in astronomy, which dates back to to the time of Kepler, is the problem of development in infinite trigonometric series of the "equation of the center" - to ...
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Did Aliens make Oumuamua?

Dr. Avi Loeb, the distinguished astrophysicist and chair of Harvard's Astronomy Program, just published a book called Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth. In the book, Dr....
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Callisto's orbit: circular vs JPL is periodic 4 degree error, why?

I am approximating the azimuthal angle of Callisto from Jupiter or the Jupiter+moons barycenter using a constant angular speed circular orbit. This differs from the JPL ephemerides by only about 4 ...
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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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1:1 resonance of two planets around a star in close proximity - approximate perturbative mathematical treatments?

This question is primarily about the mathematics of orbital mechanics. The circular restricted 3 body problem (in 3 dimensions) assumes two massive bodies in circular orbits around their center of ...
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Is there a certain thermal inertia for maximum Yarkovsky?

The video below summarizes current work at asteroid 101955 Bennu by OSIRIS-REx to characterize its properties to provide better estimates of the Yarkovsky effect1's impact on its trajectory for an ...
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Galactic orbits and distance between stars

In the context of whether or not nearby stars were created from the same nebula, this answer states: imagine two stars with very similar orbits, one with a period of 200 million years and the other ...
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Are there any bodies in the solar system whose rotation is almost tidally locked or barely tidally locked?

The Moon's rotation is firmly tidally locked to the Earth and the Earth's rotation is firmly tidally unlocked with respect to the Moon. I gather that Mercury's rotation is tidally locked in a 3:2 ...
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How to calculate the position of a meteor shower's radiant point based on its associated comet's orbit?

Below this answer to Why are Delta Aquariids “for the southern hemisphere” while the Perseids are “for the north”? I wrote the comment: +1 To make this complete, ...
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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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Orbiting around a common barycenter in Kurzgesagt video: "The Largest Black Hole in the Universe"

Observation This video by In a Nutshell visualises the V723 Mon orbiting a smaller and heavier object/black hole named Unicorn. However, the animation shows Unicorn and V723 both orbiting some common ...
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Is there software that will let me calculate things like lunar phases and the position of bodies in the sky in a custom solar system?

I am constructing a fictional solar system and want to be able to calculate astronomical events and locations, like lunar phases and eclipses, plus the positions of other astronomical bodies in the ...
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Why is dark matter required?

I read somewhere that the galaxy is spinning too fast (in places). Therefore, there must be dark matter. What are the equations that explain how fast the galaxy should be moving, and how are they ...
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Does gravitational radiation change the eccentricity of binary orbits?

Do the eccentricity of a binary orbit change with change in the semimajor axis due to loss of orbital angular momentum by gravitational radiation?
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Combined mass of binary stars

This is Question 17 from USAAAO Practice Round 2015. The answer is D. It would be best if someone can detail out the workings. In a nearby star system, two stars are seen to orbit each other every ...
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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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Aaditya L1 mission ISRO

ISRO's next mission to the Sun is Aditya-L1, (also here), which will be placed at the Sun-Earth Lagrangian point L-1. Why it is not placed near L-4 or L-5, since these are stable equilibrium point ...
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How large are the effects of nongravitational forces on comet Halley?

The effects of outgassing on comet orbits can be noticeable. Yeomans, in Cometary orbit determination and nongravitational forces, 2004, wrote: As the astrometric datasets improve and lengthen and ...
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How to calculate orbital velocity of binary star?

I am trying to simulate the Alpha Centauri AB System. I built the simulation, it works flawlessly when trying to simulate our solar system, and I am now trying to simulate the AB System. I found all ...
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What's the formula for change in argument of periapsis over time due to J2 perturbations for a geocentric satellite?

I'm trying to propagate the orbit of the ISS, but it became very clear to me very quickly that the J2 perturbations were nothing to scoff at. A quick google search gave me the equation for the change ...
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When an object revolves around an oblate planet, in near-circular orbit, does the oblateness ALWAYS make it moves FASTER?

tl;dr: The orbital period for a Keplerian orbit of a small body around a massive one with standard gravitational parameter $\mu=GM$ and semi-major axis $a$ is given by $$T = 2\pi\sqrt{\frac{a^3}{\mu}}....
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Why do the asteroids orbit the Sun in roughly the same plane as the planets?

The asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter is an extremely active environment (on an astronomical time scale) where collisions between 10km radius bodies occur every $10^7$ years, according to ...
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Do moons of rocky oblate planets migrate to low inclination over time? If so, does the time it takes depend on the Moon's size?

Discussions elsewhere suggest that this happens and that smaller moons would tend to low inclination with respect to the planet's equator faster than larger ones. For example, Mars' small moons are ...
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Classical Mechanics : Interaction Sun Radiation Pressure - Gravitation

I have a theoretical problem that merges the effects of a gravitational field and the Sun radiation pressure. The problem goes as follows: A spacecraft orbits the Sun in absence of any other body ...
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Moon's and nodes' inclination to the Invariable plane

Moon is inclined to the ecliptic 5.14 degrees. Earth's inclination to the invariable plane is 1.57869 degrees. What is the Moon's, and node's inclination to the invariable plane? Since the Moon has an ...
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Are there any moons of minor planets that orbit at high inclination to the plane of rotation of the parent body?

It occurred to me that one of the ringed asteroids or minor planets may answer this question about the alignment of planetary rings. However, it appears that the rings of Chariklo, Haumea and Chiron (...
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Help understanding why these two sub-Hill sphere moon stability limits are so different?

Comments under this answer to What orbital period would produce one New Moon (and one Full Moon) each year? What other effects would this produce? link to Stable satellites around extrasolar giant ...
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Have meteor showers been predicted for planets or solar-system bodies other than Earth? Have attempts been made to detect them?

Per the linked Q's and A's in Why do particles from a comet that result in meteor showers spread out mostly along the comet's orbit? and it's answer, meteor showers happen on Earth when it passes ...
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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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Just how "locked" are resonant-chains of exoplanets thought to be? (e.g. K2-138 and TOI-178)

update 2: A&A: Six transiting planets and a chain of Laplace resonances in TOI-178 (and arXiv) Gizmodo: Enigmatic Star System Has 5 Planets Locked in Perfect Harmony Bad Astronomy A Six-Planet ...
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How to translate from local laplace plane to ecliptic J2000 (or ICRF)

The NASA JPL websize gives mean orbital elements for e.g. Iapetus or Titan in relation to the local laplace plane. ...
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Virial theorem for a binary system

I am trying to derive the virial theorem but for two stars orbiting each other. I know the derivation for the general virial theorem with i particles but I am wondering if there is a quicker or more ...
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Orbital resonance 2:1

I considered the motion of an asteroid around the sun, in a $2:1$ orbital resonance with Jupiter. Following the study of this resonance, it was observed that the angle between the major axis of the ...
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What is the period of the 'cycle' of Earth's ecliptic variation, relative to the 'invariable plane'? 70,000 or 100,000 years?

The plane of Earth's path around the Sun, the ecliptic, is different from the average of the solar system's as a whole (the invariable plane) by about 1.57°.... Our path around the Sun, though, goes ...
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Do the orbits of planets change? Where is the data for this?

Everything in the space is moving all the time. Do the orbit of major Solar Systems planets, Mercury to Saturn change? Just like Moon's orbit around Earth changes. How often, how small or big is the ...
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Sun's and planets' inclination to the Invariable plane

What are the inclinations of all major Solar system planets (Mercury to Pluto) to the invariable plane? Looking for accurate data calculated on them. Also, What is the inclination of the Sun to the ...
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Constants of three body problem(2 fixed centers)

I was solving two fixed centers problem and got answer in quadratures. After that i want to find constants of motion. First one is full energy - E. Second is $p_{\varphi}$. And third one comes from ...
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Will the United States Presidential Election (day asteroid) be back soon?

My google news feed is awash with mono-themed articles, including a near Earth asteroid that passed by around election day 2020 in the US. We can all hope that neither will lead to an extinction level ...
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Orbital Mechanics: where can I find initial conditions for orientations and angular rates of planets in our solar system?

I am looking to write the equations of motion (EOMs) for a 6DOF analysis of our solar system. I want to integrate the equations forward in time, and need a complete set of initial conditions to do so....
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Binary planet orbital distance

From reading various sources online, I see that some people talk about binary planets in very tight orbits (around 1 or 2 planet radii). I am wondering if it is possible for a binary planet (Double ...
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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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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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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 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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How to convert a function of keplerian elements to a function of equinoctial elements?

I need to convert the Keplerian orbital elements to the equinoctial elements and then use the converted elements"equinoctial" in the function "d" below. To do this, first, I converted the Keplerian ...
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Orbital Angular Momentum of a Binary Star System

Let's say you have a binary star system, consider the orbital motion of that binary star consisting of two solar-like stars separated by 20 stellar radii. How would one calculate the angular momentum ...
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What meteor shower has the radiant that appears furthest west after sunset, and why?

When it finally gets answered, answers to How to calculate the position of a meteor shower's radiant point based on its associated comet's orbit? will help us understand why the radiant points ...
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Binary star system effects at the barycenter

I haven't been able to find anything on this so far. Using Alpha Centauri as the study, what events/effects ( if any ) would happen between the two stars? More specifically, between the gravitational ...