Questions tagged [orbital-mechanics]

For questions dealing with how bodies interact with each other in space via gravitation.

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Could an orphan planet have a moon? [migrated]

Is there some reason why an orphan or rogue planet wouldn't have a moon? Let's say it started out in a normal system and then just got flung out by an unstable orbit.
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Could orbital neodymium magnets create a magnetic field for mars?

I'm wondering if, using enough neodymium magnets (dont worry where the material is coming from) in a low martian orbit, could you produce a powerful enough magnetic field to protect the atmosphere ...
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How would a space probe determine its distance from a black hole while orbiting around it?

Let's say that a space probe is sent to swing once around a black hole. Now, as long as our knowledge of physics goes, if the spaceship stays outside the event horizon it can, at least in principle, ...
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Can a fast planetary rotation create a planet with an equatorial continent, preferably with very high mountains and two polar oceans?

I’m trying to create a planet with two small polar oceans with equatorial supercontinent in the middle. The land is in turn divided in two by high mountains that act as barrier and a source of water ...
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Functionality of a horseshoe orbit around a gas giant in a binary star system

So I'm starting a book and this idea popped in my head. Horseshoe orbits are really cool and all, but what if you throw in another star. Of course it did have a reason, I want my main civilization ...
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1answer
130 views

How dangerous would a moon with rings be?

Just like the title says, how dangerous would it be for the inhabitants of a planet if the moon had rings? Assuming that the planet is roughly the size of Earth and the moon is a little bigger than ...
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3answers
216 views

What are good lower and upper bounds on year length for habitable planets?

In science fiction dealing with multiple intelligent species, "year" is still often used as a unit of time - like when describing a character's age - even when dealing with species that ...
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2answers
107 views

In This Picture, How Far Can One Binary Orbit the Other?

In an alternate Milky Way in an alternate universe, there is a cluster of stars so dense that nights are over 60 times brighter than our full moon. In that cluster is a solar system presented (albeit ...
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1answer
118 views

Orbital Warfare Maneuvers

So lately I’ve been re-rereading (again) some of the articles on Atomic Rockets and I was metaphorically struck by the idea of orbital combat as presented on the site. To summarize, it involves using ...
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How to stabilize the tilt of a planet without heating its core from tidal forces

I saw that this question was asked here: Stabilizing the obliquity of a planet except that the consensus was that a moon is mandatory. For my scenario: What should an inactive planet's topology be ...
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How Many Red Dwarves Can Make One Stable P-Orbit?

Red dwarves are the most common stars in our galaxy, if not the whole universe. They are small--the largest don't exceed one-half of a solar mass--but scientists still believe in their potential for ...
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Could a “super-Enceladus” moon exist?

Firstly, let us define the term "Super-Enceladus". In the context of this question, a "Super-Enceladus" is a moon that has permanent or near-permanent polar jets spewing out matter ...
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Creating a stable, liveable ringworld orbiting a binary black hole/stellar pair

I'm creating a setting for a sci-fi RPG. I would like to check whether the concept is physically possible. The main action happens on a giant ringworld which centrifugally orbits a paired black hole ...
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What are the upper and lower year lengths for a habitable planet of 40 Eridani A?

In short, I am asking about the range of year lengths for a planet orbiting in the circumstellar habitable zone of 40 Eridania A. Since Vulcan, one of the most famous planets in science fiction, is ...
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Can two stars be near each other?

I need a bit of help with this. I have made a universe where there is one star and one nearly dead star and the big star has either one or two living planets in orbit around it. I don't know if its ...
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The Orbit Of Cryomoreth

Cryomoreth is the homeworld of the Cryomonians. Its year lasts for about 273.15 Earth years, and it is inhabitable for carbon-based life. Its orbit is very eccentric, which results in its seasons. ...
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3answers
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Would it be possible to have two planets in a synchronised orbit?

Could two planets which orbit the same star have orbits which keep them at the same relative point in each others' skies throughout their year? To picture this, if the planet which was closest to the ...
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1answer
132 views

What if Theia Never Hit the Earth? [closed]

Let's say that for some reason, Theia never hit Earth during the formation of the solar system. However, the two heavenly bodies ended up in a stable orbit around each other. Due to this, the Earth's ...
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1answer
69 views

Calculating the conjunction of more than two moons

I've been trying to calculate the period between the conjunction of all of the moons which my planet has. They are five minor moons with orbital periods ranging from 0.5 to 1.3 earth days, and one ...
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Could two moons eclipse/perfectly align with each other? Azeroth's Moons in World of Warcraft [duplicate]

In World of Warcraft, the planet Azeroth has two moons: The White Lady and The Blue Child. They're also described as being able to perfectly eclipse/align with each other in an event known as "...
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2answers
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Destruction of a Trojan Asteroid by an RKV

The history During the Great War between two nations, one sent an RKV (Relativistic Kill Vehicle) towards an enemy factory as a message to show their power but not kill needlessly. The base was in a ...
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What happens if Earth has 12 months of 45 days due to longer orbit?

OK, so something happened to Earth, huge cosmic calamity type thing, and now Earth's orbit is longer. My story is set 100 years after this event, and everyone has had a pretty hard memory wipe as to ...
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Feudal-technology space humans - how can they generate mechanical energy?

Setting Background I'm working on an admittedly silly sounding setting. Technologically advanced space fairing humans become stranded on a ring of asteroids in orbit around a large planet. They have ...
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2answers
328 views

Is it possible to have earth like planets in Jupiter lagrange points?

I'm writing a story in a system which has two earth like habitable planets orbiting the star in Lagrange points L4 & L5 of a gas giant similar to Jupiter / Saturn. Is that orbit possible in the ...
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1answer
84 views

Precise localization of another ship in a Orbit-to-Orbit scenario

Here is the scenario. Two ships are orbiting an uninhabited planet (no sensors on the ground and no other satellites in orbit). At time zero they are far away (let's say 50,000 Km apart) following ...
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2answers
149 views

Would a spherically distributed solar system inevitably become flat, i.e., develop a plane of the ecliptic?

Notes I have tagged this as hard science - If it turns out that current science has no research on the subject or cannot cope with calculations about this sort of ...
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Habitable low mass super earth and its habitable high mass moon feasability

So, I've got a fantasy world where there is a super-earth with Earth-like gravity (aim is approximately half-again the diameter of Earth) that is the homeworld of non-native humans(introduced to the ...
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Would the displacement of materials caused by creating a Dyson Swarm have an impact on Orbital Mechanics (the n-body problem)?

I'm learning about how to account for the fact that we can't really model (to a perfect degree of accuracy) an Orbital system with more than two bodies - I [very, very barely] understand this as the n-...
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118 views

Inclinatory Cycles and Seasonbuilding

I was doing some tests in Universe Sandbox a while ago and I noticed a strange behavior shown by giant planets on highly inclined orbits. In the simulation I placed an Earth at 1 AU around the Sun, ...
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321 views

Could a planet with many moons see a different moon each night?

This is just an idea I have been toying with. Taking Earth as an example with 7 days in a week, my idea would that there would be 7 moons in orbit around the planet. They would not necessarily share ...
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What differences would there be inside a world where the sun/moon are in orbit around the Earth? [closed]

Suppose some crazy-ass god or whatever decides to create its beautiful project: the planet Earth. And of course it is the central key of its universe. The sun, the moon, nearby planets, all of they ...
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Mostly realistic weapons to assault a planet from orbit

I'm looking for a few weapons which I can use to attack a planet from orbit. I'm not looking to destroy it or make it uninhabitable, just wreck a few things until the occupants stop launching anti-...
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If Theia had settled into a slower, near orbit to Earth, how would that effect climate activity?

I am building a paradigm wherein the planet Theia did not strike the Earth, but settled into a orbit around the sun a third of the distance between the Earth and Mars. I wanted to ask people in the ...
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orbital ring in slow decay, what's the fallout?

An orbital ring was just bombed by a terrorist group, causing just enough damage to push the ring out of orbit too far for a readjustment to save it. Assuming that all escape craft have already ...
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Are Saturn's rings a safe place for adolescent space-hoppers?

Are Saturn's rings a safe place for adolescent space-hoppers? As you know, space-hopper toys are based on the real-life creature. These are roughly balloon shaped and have two "horns". The ...
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1answer
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Three Moons and Simultaneous Full Moons?

In my story's world, the planet is roughly Earthlike in terms of size but it has three moons. I have written in something called "brightnight", when all three moons are full at the same time ...
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155 views

Delta-v budgets and modified gravity

I'm building a soft sci-fi world where gravity works a bit differently: the acceleration due to gravity drops off at a rate much greater than our inverse-square; and the acceleration due to gravity &...
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4answers
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Earth-sized Moon with Host Planet launched from Star System

Could a planet with the size and characteristics of the Earth orbit a gas giant and would the earth-like moon be able to maintain its orbit if the gas giant went rogue and was launched from its host ...
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3answers
606 views

Is it possible for a moon to stay on the same side of its planet relative to the sun?

I'm building an earthlike world that has a moon orbiting a gas giant. Is it possible for the moon to always be between the planet and the sun? Also, is it possible for a moon to rotate around its own ...
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6answers
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I want ten Earth-years long day on my planet. Can I have it?

I need ten Earth years long day-night cycle on my planet. Hemera is a world I am creating as a setting for my story. Name comes from Greek deity - personification of Day. Needs of storytelling have ...
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2answers
112 views

Could co-orbital planets also be double planets?

Double or binary planets are a really cool science fiction idea. A second Earth hanging ominously in the sky. Co-orbital or trojan planets are also interesting in that you have them on more or less ...
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How close an orbit could you get to Earth with a planet-sized object/ship without severely disrupting Earth's orbit?

My idea involves an alien spaceship inside a roughly Earth to Mars sized/massed planet, but the whole planet is displaced when the drive is activated. If you wanted to travel back to our solar system ...
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Making the exoplanet with the most complicated seasons

I was wondering how/if it would be possible to create an earth-like (atmosphere, gravity, average temperature, etc. are close enough) rocky exoplanet with more than two or three significant ...
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1answer
161 views

How to Calculate Apparent Magnitude/Brightness of Planets from Within the same Solar System

I'd like to be able to determine the appearance of the night sky from an Earth-like planet, in a solar system with multiple other planets, moons, and other bodies. Here on Earth, we can directly ...
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1answer
221 views

Binary Star System Build - Alpha Centauri

I'm not sure if this site or Astronomy would be better, but I figured I would try here instead. I am attempting to create a [semi]plausible star system in Alpha Centauri for a series. The system was ...
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1answer
153 views

If Earth had a sideways axial tilt (like Uranus), would Earth still have tornadoes?

Imagine Earth was hit hard by some force so devastating that Earth now has an axial tilt of 90.0 degrees, a far cry from the usual 23.5 degree. The same force somehow eliminates the Moon. In my story, ...
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1answer
108 views

Minimal mass of an Earth-like satellite to seriously deter space travel?

I want to write a story taking place on the natural satellite of a gas giant, with said satellite being massive enough to prevent, or at least strongly deter, space travel, such that the resources ...
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What kind of lunar orbit would cause a total solar eclipse to happen once a day?

The eclipse needs to be visible from at least one region on the planet every revelation and last about one hour.
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121 views

Are Orbital Rings feasible to construct in another star system?

In this universe, Earth had a couple orbital rings during the construction of the colony ships that were sent to Alpha Centauri. Humanity has achieved fusion power and efficient space flight (1g ...
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2answers
155 views

How long to become a habitable planet

I am creating a world for Sci Fi story in which I am trying to have two non-tidally locked earth sized planets in a binary orbit around Alpha Centauri A. The only way I can think of this happening is ...

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