Questions tagged [orbital-mechanics]

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

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9
votes
2answers
2k views

Could a planet have a naturally occuring moon at one of its Lagrange points? [on hold]

Would it be possible for a planet to naturally have a moon or large natural satellite at one of its Lagrange points? If so would it then also be able to have a second moon that would be orbiting this ...
1
vote
1answer
82 views

Could a single highly elliptic orbit be used to redirect to another planet?

I'm modeling this on the Voyager 2 flight path. I want to have this flight at this particular time, and not wait for a more advantageous launch window. Based on this orbital configuration (1st ...
3
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1answer
100 views

How Far Can The Stars Ve and Vili Orbit The Main One, Odin?

In this solar system, there are three K-type main sequence stars, or "orange dwarves", named Odin, Vili and Ve. At the center of this solar system, Odin is 80% the mass of our sun. The middle star, ...
12
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5answers
1k views

In order to successfully have 3 orbital rings around a planet how do you have to orient them?

I am writing a short story about an overworked planet whose civilization has achieved space elevators and orbital rings. The planet, which is earth-sized, has three complete orbital rings in stable ...
5
votes
1answer
136 views

How many terrestrial moons can my planet hold?

I have a Gas Giant with 13x the mass of Jupiter. How many satellites of Earth size and mass can it hold safely in its orbit? Edit: This gas giant lies smack dab in the middle of its parent star's (...
6
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2answers
184 views

Super earth habitability

I'm trying to build a super Earth that's capable of sustaining human life for space exploration in a way that's close to reality. So far I'm lacking some understanding of planetary science and human ...
11
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4answers
2k views

Where should a runway for a spaceplane be located?

If a spaceplane like the Rockwell X-30 existed and was flying to a location in geostationary orbit, would it be substantially more efficient to take off from a runaway at the equator, or would it not ...
2
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0answers
127 views

I'm inventing a new calendar. What are good criteria for the choices of first day, first year, and first hour? [closed]

I'm inventing a new calendar: It will be used worldwide. It uses an intercalary (366th) day to be inserted every 4 years. If extremely successful (unlikely I know), it will replace the Gregorian ...
10
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1answer
166 views

Moons in Binary Orbit

Writing a werewolf story, and decided for a bit of flair, so I wanted two moons in orbit. Did a bit of digging, and I found out that to do that, I'd need to either have them in separate orbit (no ...
3
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5answers
161 views

Axis of rotation of a wheel space station [duplicate]

Is it possible for the axis of rotation of a rotating wheel space station in orbit to be aligned with the center of the Earth? I'm wanting a situation where a person on the station could look out one ...
2
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4answers
174 views

Rotation period of a planet around a star (sun)

Is it possible for a planet to be much further away from its star than earth is from the sun (because for example the star is much brighter/Hotter) yet still have a comparable (as in not tens if not ...
8
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3answers
257 views

Which moon is most favourable as a refuelling station?

My hypothetical gas giant has five major moons. Three of those moons are icy bodies with abundant water ice and volatiles. Any of these could provide fuel for translunar spacecraft, or for spacecraft ...
10
votes
3answers
464 views

Can I render satellite deployment impossible, or at least impractical, by exploiting the Kessler syndrome?

I want to render impractical the deployment of satellites by exploiting the Kessler syndrome. Why, you ask? Maybe I'm an evil overlord and I don't want those pesky satellites flying over my lair. ...
7
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1answer
1k views

Could a rotating ring space station have a bolo-like extension?

If the outer ring of a rotating space station was producing the equivalent to 1G, but a higher G was needed could in small modules, could a bolo-like attachment be included with the ring to accomplish ...
0
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5answers
146 views

Is it possible to move planets to get them nearer to Earth? [closed]

Could we move rocky planets such as Mercury, Venus, and Mars to be closer to Earth's orbit? I know it sounds like a silly question and it's impossible right now, but if there is a small possibility, ...
7
votes
1answer
295 views

Brown Dwarf Star vs Gas Giant as parent for habitable moon

I seek to build a habitable moon of a giant planet, thus I looked at the Rouche Limit Equation to figure out how to get the biggest possible Hill Sphere for my moon to exist in. $r_H = a(1-e)\sqrt[3]{...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Would life be possible on a planet that has an axis of rotation that always “pointed” directly at the sun? [duplicate]

Preface: I'll be calling call the orbit described in the question title a "solar-oriented orbit" for the sake of convenience, as "a planet that has an axis of rotation that always pointed directly at ...
15
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7answers
3k views

If a planet has 3 moons, is it possible to have triple Full/New Moons at once?

In the story I created, the Kingdom of Oneirou has 3 Moons--Artemis, Rahu, and Zorya--all of which have their own independent lunar cycles. However, it's officially stated as early as Chapter 2 or 3 ...
3
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3answers
93 views

Object in the orbit or orbiting Uranus's moon Puck

I realize the response to this question is fairly involved but here goes. I need to have an alien spacecraft either in orbit around Uranus's moon Puck or somewhere in Puck's orbit around the planet if ...
2
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5answers
226 views

Can multiple similar planets share the same orbit without interfering with each other too much?

Let's go with an example. Three planets, all of roughly earth's size, follow the same orbit around a star with a mass of roughly 1 sun. Basically, all three planets are almost identical to Earth, ...
12
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10answers
2k views

Make solar eclipses exceedingly rare, but still have new moons

Given a system similar to the Earth/Moon/Sun system, how would one go about making solar eclipses rarer than they are here on earth, but keep new moons similar to how they currently are (or at least ...
33
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17answers
6k views

How could a planet have erratic days?

I want to describe a world where one doesn't know how long the day will be. It can be anywhere between 18 and 30 Earth-hours. Would such days be possible in our reality?
2
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1answer
159 views

Meterology of double planets sharing an atmosphere

If two planets were tidally locked and shared an atmosphere, as described in this question, what would the weather patterns of the planets be like? What weather patterns would form, and could these ...
0
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1answer
122 views

What would the moon look like if its orbit was highly inclined?

How would the phases of the moon change depending on the inclination of its orbit with respect to its primary's equatorial plane? Earth's moon has an orbit that is rather close to the ecliptic, but ...
14
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4answers
5k views

Would mining huge amounts of resources on the Moon change its orbit?

Imagine that humanity builds mining facilities on the moon. We know that the moon has Helium-3 which could be used as fuel for fusion reactors. Also, there are a lot of other resources which could be ...
8
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1answer
154 views

Habitable world orbiting a gas giant orbiting a gas giant

How likely would a habitable world be that orbits a gas giant that itself is orbiting a larger gas giant? Assuming one exists, what are the likely conditions?
8
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1answer
132 views

Planet with big axial tilt, but very close to its star

It is known that when a planet orbits very close around its star, the tidal effects will soon (on an astronomical scale) force the day and the year of the planet to have the same length, making the ...
1
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3answers
108 views

Is it possible for the remnants of a planet to be locked in orbit around another in a dual planet system?

I'm envisioning a double-planet system where both orbit around a central point. One planet is approximately Earth-sized, while the other is about one-tenth the size. One of the planets (the smaller ...
1
vote
3answers
79 views

Types of life on a planet in a sun-synchronous orbit?

Basically, a sun-synchronous orbit is where one side of an object is always facing a star as it revolves around it (much like our Moon is, which is where the phrase 'dark side of the moon' originates')...
4
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1answer
64 views

Orbital Resonance & Tidal Locking

I'm building a habitable world tidally locked to a red dwarf star. In order to affect a tide and other weather patterns I was going to have another planet closer to the star that has an orbital ...
7
votes
5answers
244 views

160 Year Solar Orbital Period & 1.9 Year Moon Orbital Period - Is it possible?

A defining factor of my world is the hardships inhabitants have to face when surviving long seasons. Due to the extreme length of a year, time is largely measured by moon cycles. I need to make sure ...
2
votes
1answer
257 views

Only changing the mass of the moon, how much can lunar mass increase before the Earth becomes uninhabitable?

Bonus: How much would the increase in lunar mass increase average tides? & which factors would cause the Earth to become uninhabitable?
10
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5answers
350 views

Tides with 3 Largish Moons

I would like to have an Earth-like planet (~Earth gravity, ~Earth day, ~Earth year, and liquid water oceans) with extreme variance in its tides. I want the lowest tide to reveal about 30 miles of ...
-3
votes
1answer
285 views

In a world with 12 moons but NO sun, how to define a day? [closed]

I made the map of my fantasy world before thinking about the physics, as you can see bellow the art! I'm interested to understand how to decide which moon is in the sky at a given moment, if it's ...
29
votes
14answers
6k views

How can I launch a projectile to hit something in orbit, using only geological structures and power sources?

As an ancient organism whom currently occupies a large chunk of a planet beneath the surface, I have a pesky issue with an invasive species. These humans have decided to colonize my home, mistaking it ...
1
vote
2answers
254 views

Can a planet's atmosphere be in orbit around the planet? [duplicate]

Imagine a planet somewhat like Saturn except that its rings are its atmosphere instead of rocks and ice. Is this theoretically possible? (a) If so, what conditions would need to be true and what ...
7
votes
4answers
413 views

Would a portal to space enable propulsionless orbital launch

I'm writing a story about a race that has space travel capabilities without rocket technology, instead is using a portal to space and was wondering whether it's possible for them to put something in ...
0
votes
1answer
90 views

Could a synchronously-rotating planet in the goldilocks zone exist? [duplicate]

An earth like planet in terms of lots of water and an atmosphere. The liquid water on the sunny side would evaporate due to the extreme heat and the snow and ice on the dark side would never melt due ...
8
votes
2answers
156 views

Calculating an eccentric enough orbit to allow a dip into atmosphere and escape again

How would I calculate if it is possible to have an eccentric enough orbit around a gas giant to dip the periapsis some depth(how deep?) into the atmosphere of a gas giant like Jupiter or Saturn and ...
17
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9answers
4k views

How difficult would it be to turn the Asteroid Belt into a single body? What's the best method?

The Emperor (may he live forever) plans to visit the Solar System on a rare royal visit in ten years' time. The Bureau for Interplanetary Tidying have decided that the Asteroid Belt is an eyesore that ...
6
votes
2answers
79 views

Independently Tidelocked Moon?

Simple question that might seem odd. Not going to get too specific but I am curious, more or less, as to what it would look like for a planet that had a moon (A habital one) which was in essence ...
7
votes
1answer
184 views

Determining this horseshoe/co-orbital moon's possible orbital periods

I've been working on a system with a habitable moon (Moon A) for a story, and I'm now trying to populate the other moons around the parent planet. I'm considering placing one (Moon B) in a co-orbit, ...
3
votes
3answers
235 views

A planet that cannot be orbited [duplicate]

I'm wondering if it is possible for a planet to be impossible to orbit stably over a significant length of time. The shorter the length of time the planet can be orbited for, the better. It should ...
7
votes
3answers
462 views

Practicality Of Orbital Fusion Reactors for Power

Much of the struggle with terrestrial fusion power seems to be with keeping the ultra-hot plasma contained. In a classic Tokamak configuration, magnets using massive amounts of power, suspend the ...
8
votes
2answers
347 views

Harvesting resources from a geostationary point 100km above sea level

Consider a planet which is entirely Earth-like. Same mass, same rotation, etc. But in this world, resource-rich objects are suspended by some phenomenon at varying altitudes up to 200km above sea ...
7
votes
1answer
111 views

Co-orbits and Tides

I've seen many questions about tides and tidal variations on a wide variety of interesting single star, multi star, single planet, binary planet, single moon, multiple moon, and even ring system ...
2
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1answer
105 views

Earth tilt changes due to space launches

How many rocket launches are needed to change the axial tilt of the Earth so much that it is noticeable with instruments available today? We can assume that we are talking about the heaviest rocket ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

Artificial satellite in a Binary Star System

Is it possible for an artificial satellite (in this case, an unmanned communications platform) to maintain a stable orbit directly around the barycenter of a Binary Star system, as in well inside the ...
7
votes
3answers
335 views

Let's plot a course between Earth and Gor

We know that Gor, or Counter-Earth, is not stable in a long-term sense. Let's handwave that away, or assume that we are dealing with a temporary span of time in which the instability is immaterial. ...
0
votes
1answer
94 views

Semi-Brachistochrone, Is It Possible?

Would it be possible for there to be an almost torchship (essentially a very, very weak one) which could fly almost brachistochrone trajectories? So instead of a full on brachistochrone, where you ...