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Saturday, June 28, 2008


This shows various kinds of orbits. All orbits have something in common, they always orbit about the common center of mass between both masses and the center of mass (red cross hairs) doesn't ever move unless there is an external influence on the orbit system.

(1a) Shows a planetary orbit around a star.

(1b) shows international space station orbit around earth which is orbiting the sun.(1c) shows geostationary satellite orbit....notice how the satellite orbits the Earth at the same rate that the Earth is rotating on its axis.

(2a) shows the formation of the moon when a large mass called Theia impacted the Earth some 4 billion years ago when the Earth was still forming.

(2b) shows a moon orbit around a planet

(2c) shows the phases of our moon

(3) This shows a slight binary orbit, as you'll notice the center of mass lies outside of the more massive body

(4a) shows a binary orbit that is typically seen in binary stars
(4b) shows a black hole and supergiant binary star system (4c) shows the effect that gravity waves emminating from a black hole - binary star system should have on a satellite array many light years away.

(5a) shows a binary orbit that is often seen in stars that are captured by other stars

(5b) shows a chaotic 3 body orbit system, where two satellites are given the same exact tragectory but are initially offset from each other by an extremely small distance and hence the butterfly effect occurs.

(Note: All images are a courtessy of Wikipedia