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Rigorous Science

# Posts tagged orbital-mechanics

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357 posts
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Imagine a spacecraft in a highly eccentric orbit. Say the craft burns at periapsis towards the planet such that its orbital eccentricity does not change and the craft's periapsis moves with the shi...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Josh Hyatt‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Olin Lathrop‭

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Is it possible that a planet/moon will have inverse direction comparing to the rest orbiting material? For example Mars would go in counter direction comparing to other planets in solar system. I...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Zavael‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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I want to send a flying saucer (a $\frac{1}{10}$ scale Independence Day City Destroyer - calculated as a sphere cap 112m high with 1.2km segment radius, $\rho$ about 43.3kg/m3) away from the sun as...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Vogon Poet‭  ·  edited 2y ago by HDE 226868‭

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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 me...

0 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by A.E. Stephenson‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by A.E. Stephenson‭

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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 hos...

4 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by user76027‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user76027‭

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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 o...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by LonelyCryptid‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by LonelyCryptid‭

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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 hav...

6 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Zjerzy‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Zjerzy‭

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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 w...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by user72655‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user72655‭

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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 ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Udon Nomaneim‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Udon Nomaneim‭

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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...

2 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by Axion‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Axion‭

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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 syst...

3 answers  ·  posted 2y ago by DWKraus‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by DWKraus‭

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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 sto...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by user6760‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user6760‭

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

7 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Double_S‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Double_S‭

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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 ac...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by user72655‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user72655‭

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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 ...

0 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by user72655‭

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The story takes place in Alpha Centauri, with this binary orbiting just over 1 AU from Rigil Kentaurus. The star system will tightly packed, but following the 10 Mutual Hill Radii separation setup....

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by user72655‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user72655‭

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After centuries of careful search and travel, some intrepid extraterrestrial explorers have finally found another inhabited world! Elated with their discovery and exhausted after their long journey...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by WhittlesJr‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by WhittlesJr‭

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I'm interested about whether or not and how gravity would be affected on deformed planets. You could think of this as whether or not mega-asteroids would be able to sustain life? If so, would diffe...

2 answers  ·  posted 5y ago by DiagonalCorgi‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by DiagonalCorgi‭

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The scenario Many science fiction novels are concerned with aliens visiting Earth, but what if aliens have no interest in Earth at all and yet they arrive at the Solar system for the sole purpose ...

2 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by toncha‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by toncha‭

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My Dino theme park business didn't end well and I reluctantly fall into depression and decided to go into suspended animation to seek a cure. 200 years later, a lady claims she works with the milit...

9 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by user6760‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by user6760‭

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I am interested in the idea of a moon orbiting only the southern pole of a planet. Could it theoretically be possible (though unlikely) that a moon would, for instance, orbit a planet parallel to t...

10 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by mrkv12‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by mrkv12‭

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A cleaner, narrower-focused improvement of How This Alternate Solar System Influences the Milankovitch Cycle, so not a duplicate. For further clarification, eccentricity is the shape of a planet's...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by JohnWDailey‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by JohnWDailey‭

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Would it be possible for life to develop on a planet with a highly elliptical orbit? (Similar to a comet, but possibly less extreme.) If so, what conditions would be necessary and what would the li...

12 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by WillRoss1‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by WillRoss1‭

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"Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov (you can hear the story here on escapepod, if you need it) postulates a planet in a multi-sun system. The orbital mechanics of the 6 suns result in all of the sides of t...

1 answer  ·  posted 4y ago by Trish‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Trish‭

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In the event of our sun suddenly becoming a black hole or wormhole of sorts. It transports the earth to another solar system similar to ours. Would it be possible for our planet to start circling...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Dawidek‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Dawidek‭

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I am wondering how will it affect earth or none at all. Seeing that Jupiter by far is a gas giant and has really strong gravitational pull while Mars is mostly dormant, weak gravity and a terrestr...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by mico villena‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by mico villena‭

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So we have a Super Earth of ten Earth masses, just on the threshold, and it has three Mars sized moons (so a mass ratio of 100/3, more than Saturn Vs 3 Earths). They go 40,000km, 100,000km, 250,000...

3 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Axion‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Axion‭

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What kind of asteroid would it take to hit our sun out of its current position, even by just 50 meters? And how big does it need to be in order for it to do so? Would it continue to travel throug...

9 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by Gerwin‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Gerwin‭

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I have several stories where I've wanted a moon in some weird orbit that is not allowed by orbital mechanics. In the past, I've had to change stories to bow to physics. Today, I had a thought whil...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by SRM‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by SRM‭

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I'm working on a comic which is essentially alternate-history fiction, and a big upcoming part of it involves the formation of the Chicxulub crater 63 million years ago. As I am a stickler for acc...

3 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by fluffy‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by fluffy‭

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I'm trying to build a story around a supermassive black hole, which is ejected from a merger of two galaxies, that is hurtling our own way. What is the smallest realistic distance at which the blac...

3 answers  ·  posted 4y ago by bantu‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by bantu‭

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I am recalling the Space:1999 nuclear waste containment explosion; this has been criticized because such an explosion would have actually destroyed the moon. I am curious for events that could happ...

9 answers  ·  posted 8y ago by guido‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by guido‭

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If orbiting in the L2 lagrange point of a large planet (doesn't actually have to be a hot Jupiter, just large enough to fully shadow the smaller planet), how close could you get to the host star be...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by WillRoss1‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by WillRoss1‭

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Would it be possible to build a space elevator off Europa? (The space elevator would only be for the purpose of getting items out of Europa's gravity well relative to Jupiter. At that point, the...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by levininja‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by levininja‭

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I'm considering a story where an exploration is devised to explore a binary system containing a black hole; the choice is Cygnus X-1, with its companion supergiant star HDE 226868. It would likely ...

5 answers  ·  posted 6y ago by HDE 226868‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by HDE 226868‭

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I'll need to give some background to this question. I'm interested in the idea of a densely inhabited star system, and having large exomoons is one way that they can all orbit roughly at the same p...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Axion‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Axion‭

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This is more for fluff and illustrative exotica, but I'm keen on an idea where my new world has a moon that orbits elliptically, but has a fast inward close orbit followed by a longer round trip th...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Tommy‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Tommy‭

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The planet has 256 days in a year, split up into eight months, each with 32 days. My planet is a bit smaller than Earth: Think, enough space for the continents of Earth's western hemisphere and th...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by P. M. B.‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by P. M. B.‭

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Working on a D&amp;D campaign. As a physics nerd, I'd like the orbital mechanics of the planet, its sun, and its moons, to follow standard Newtonian/Keplerian mechanics. I'm trying to come up wit...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Frank Harris‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Frank Harris‭

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The planet is 10 Earth-Radii, with a 1 Earth Gravity value. It is a habitable planet. It has a thin atmosphere. It also has 3 moons and a ring system. The moons are rather large. The largest one i...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Hunt Castle‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Hunt Castle‭

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Would anyone be able to check some math/ let me know if I'm thinking of this the correct way? I had an idea of the moon appearing basically stationary in the sky, but in fact it orbits just faster ...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by StrandsW‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by StrandsW‭

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Duplicate Earth and Moon, where should I put it? This question partly arises from the criticisms of stories that claim a hidden planet obscured by the sun, how it would have been detected and if s...

3 answers  ·  posted 7y ago by Jazzylee‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Jazzylee‭

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Around a rocky planet or small gas giant, could there be a system of rings that follow an elliptical orbit? I have used a gravity simulator (this one) to test it, but the way it handles its particl...

1 answer  ·  posted 3y ago by Greenie E. - Reinstate Monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Greenie E. - Reinstate Monica‭

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On this planet, there is a nomadic tribe of humans who are the descendants of unwilling colonists from thousands of years prior. They are a nomadic tribe because of the incredibly extreme seasons, ...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by John Lewis‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by John Lewis‭

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Using our own Earth and Moon as a template is it possible for a second large body (One quarter to a third of the Moon's Size) drifting close by to be captured in a stable and permanent orbit? ...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Darius Arcturus‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Darius Arcturus‭

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Long ago, I made a post with a scenario on how planet Earth would be affected if our moon were the size of Mars. But I've decided that it be more reasonable if our moon were closer in size to Tita...

1 answer  ·  posted 7y ago by JohnWDailey‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by JohnWDailey‭

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NOTE: If there is anything about this question that needs clarification or editing, please don't hesitate to let me know in the comments. Get ready, because you're in for quite a ride. I have t...

4 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by overlord - Reinstate Monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by overlord - Reinstate Monica‭

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I'm trying to develop a realistic system with a limited understanding of astrodynamics. Is it possible to have two binary worlds capable of sustaining atmosphere and complex life orbiting one anot...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Darius Arcturus‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Darius Arcturus‭

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After reading the following question, I know that there are not that many solutions to the 3-body problem, and I know that a ternary system is unstable. The 3 stars all orbit each other in a rotati...

2 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by overlord - Reinstate Monica‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by overlord - Reinstate Monica‭

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I did the orbital period for a planet orbiting a mass = 1 sol with a 24-hour year, it's got a semi-major axis of 1.82 million miles - far and away beyond the Roche limit, still beyond the corona, b...

5 answers  ·  posted 3y ago by Vogon Poet‭  ·  last activity 3y ago by Vogon Poet‭

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