Questions tagged [orbital-mechanics]

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

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9
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5answers
4k views

How much warning will the Earth get if an asteroid that will hit earth “appears out of nowhere?”

This is another branch of my previous question. Currently, in real life, space agencies around the world charts and tracks asteroids and other objects that orbit the sun. They project the object's ...
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9answers
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Oscillating orbit: how to produce one in the real world?

This is unabashedly stolen from this recent question: What would be the structural impact of an oscillating orbit on a planet? with its sweet sweet gif from that question Around this white-hole ...
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3answers
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Could a “gentle” collision of a planet into another cause tidal locking and still support life later on? What other side effects could appear?

After a few years I seem to have come back to the topic of the possibility of tidal locking on a planet with life. I love speculative biology and designing these sorts of scenarios but tidal locking I'...
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2answers
107 views

Would this planet be habitable for intelligent lifeforms

I am trying to make a universe using math and this is a planet from the first solar system I am making. Firstly the star. This star, which I don't have a name for, has a mass of 1.3 solar masses, a ...
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2answers
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Could a second Trojan moon orbit Earth, as in, a second moon orbiting Earth from the same distance as our moon?

Here's the basic gist about our moon--it's one-quarter the width and one-eighth the gravity of Earth, it's rocky, it has no atmosphere and it orbits Earth from a distance of approximately 240,000 ...
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4answers
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How to calculate solstices and equinoxes?

I know the orbit of my fictional planet, and I can set its rotation rate with precision. I know that, in our real world, the equinoxes and solstices are measured, not calculated, but I want to know if ...
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1answer
83 views

A Hyperadvanced Civilization Had Created a Solar System From Scratch. Would the Specified Details Work?

Yes, you read that title right. A "hyperadvanced" civilization, an alien race with technology so advanced that we humans can currently dismiss it as alien-space-bat-magic. At the center of ...
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3answers
116 views

Secondary moon with negligible effect on planet

I'd like to know how to set up a secondary moon for a very much Earth-like planet that I could use for religious and time measurement purposes in a novel but that would not change general situation on ...
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1answer
77 views

Predict The Orbital Eccentricity Of A Planet In A Circumbinary Orbit

Okay, I have a planet smaller than Earth that has a mean orbital radius of .9 AU, and it orbits twin suns. The larger sun has a mass of 1.15 solar masses, and the smaller sun has an mass of .45 solar ...
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In this infant (<500 million years) solar system, how far would each orbit be to be stable?

Here's the story: There is a solar system that is still a baby, less than 500 million years old. There are a total of eight stars clumped into four binaries, each one with its own habitable zone. ...
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3answers
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Is the following plausible: a moon at an L1 point orbits a gas giant, which orbits a sun. the moon is submerged in half daylight half moonlight

I'm writing a sci-fi & fantasy novel, I won't get into details, but in essence it's set on a fantasy moon that orbits a gas giant, which orbits a sun. The moon is at an L1 (Lagrange 1) point, and ...
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2answers
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Is it plausible for a planet to have a face constantly sunlit while the other is constantly moonlit, with the sun/moonlit territories never changing?

I'm writing a sci-fi & fantasy novel, I won't get into details, but in essence it's set on a fantasy planet that orbits around a sun, and has a moon. The basic premise (that I'm hoping for anyway) ...
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1answer
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What will Earth's orbit around the sun look like if it were standing at an axial tilt of 66.5 degrees? [closed]

Earth currently stands at an axial tilt of 23.5 degrees, low enough for seasons to form. Here is the diagram below: In the spring and autumn months, Earth parallel to the sun. In the summer, it ...
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Can a planet move itself?

Most questions in this vein seem to center around the inhabitants of a planet moving it. I have a significantly different spin on this idea, though. So, you're a big ball of rock spinning around a ...
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3answers
732 views

What is the largest possible appearance of a celestial body in the sky?

In SciFi Art we often see planets/moons/stars fill enormous amounts of the visible sky. I'm wondering what the theoretical limit for this is realistically, since there are maxima for the possible size ...
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Could We See a Lagrange Giant in the Sky?

The "Lagrange giant" in the title refers to a gas giant that orbits its star in the same distance as Earth does. The alternative description is "Trojan planet" or, to be most ...
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3answers
178 views

What if a moon orbits far away and extremely fast?

Imagine an Earth-massed moon orbiting around a Saturn-massed planet in a period of 28 days. This calculation tells me that is possible if the moon is 1.8 million km away. If so, the moon must be ...
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1answer
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Would Sean Raymond's “Ultimate Solar System” Work in This Particular System?

Presented here is a system in which a binary of orange dwarves orbits a binary of yellow dwarves. Each yellow dwarf is 105% as wide, 110% as massive and 126% as bright as our sun. Each orange dwarf ...
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1answer
130 views

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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6answers
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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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1answer
208 views

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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4answers
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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
137 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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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
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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
151 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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1answer
125 views

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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1answer
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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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1answer
82 views

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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2answers
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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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323 views

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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2answers
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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
184 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 ...
3
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1answer
90 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
126 views

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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4answers
236 views

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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5answers
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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
367 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
87 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
152 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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2answers
151 views

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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3answers
120 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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8answers
353 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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0answers
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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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12answers
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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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2answers
164 views

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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