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Elliptical orbits of planets 
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#1
Nov407, 10:08 AM

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we know that planets revolve in elliptical orbits but Why should planets revolve in elliptical orbits?



#2
Nov407, 10:58 AM

Sci Advisor
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#3
Nov407, 11:08 AM

PF Gold
P: 1,159

There are of course some special cases; the obvious one is that if the orbital speed is just right for the distance, the path is a circle. Another is that if the falling mass is heading straight for the other mass, the path is a straight line downwards. In the case of the planets, the sun is so much more massive than the planets that each planet basically moves in an ellipse around the sun, but the planets also have a very slight effect on the sun (especially Jupiter) and on each other, which distort the ellipses, and there are also other effects related to relativity which cause some further very slight distortions. 


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