3 Questions - Why are some orbits

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In summary, Chroot and ST say that eccentricity is caused by the star a planet revolves around, the mass of the planet, and that there is no limit to eccentricity so a planet could support life. They also say that it is easier to detect planets with high eccentric orbits.
  • #1
Gold Barz
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More eccentric than others? is it because of the star they revolve around, the mass of the planet?

And is there a limit to an eccentricity of a planet's orbit so it could support life, how much eccentricity is too much for the planet to be inhabitable?

And is it true that it is easier to detect planet with high eccentric orbits?
 
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  • #2
Gold Barz said:
More eccentric than others? is it because of the star they revolve around, the mass of the planet?
Orbits generally begin eccentric, since the dust particles making up a star-forming nebula are not arranged in a spherically symmetric fashion; it actually takes some mechanism to circularize them.
And is there a limit to an eccentricity of a planet's orbit so it could support life, how much eccentricity is too much for the planet to be inhabitable?
Human life wouldn't be able to withstand much eccentricity at all, but no one knows how many different kinds of life there might be. Your questions are good, but no one knows the answers.
And is it true that it is easier to detect planet with high eccentric orbits?
My first instinct is that it would be easier; after some careful thought, I think it might not make any difference, at least with the Doppler detection current being performed. The amplitude of the wobble is the most important criterion for detection, not the shape of the wobble's waveform. Perhaps someone with more first-hand knowledge than I can better answer.

- Warren
 
  • #3
Gold Barz said:
More eccentric than others?

Aside from what chroot mentioned, you can also make an eccentric orbit by a simple collision or a tidal perturbation from a nearby massive object. It's believed that comets are sent into eccentric orbits by one of these two mechanisms. There was even a theory that the periodicity of mass extinctions on Earth was a result of a massive object in the Oort cloud that would periodically perturb large numbers of cometary orbits and send them plowing into the inner solar system.
 
  • #4
SpaceTiger said:
Aside from what chroot mentioned, you can also make an eccentric orbit by a simple collision or a tidal perturbation from a nearby massive object. It's believed that comets are sent into eccentric orbits by one of these two mechanisms. There was even a theory that the periodicity of mass extinctions on Earth was a result of a massive object in the Oort cloud that would periodically perturb large numbers of cometary orbits and send them plowing into the inner solar system.
I can numerically illustrate Chroot and ST's comments - (What ST just said and Chroot's comments about the limited variation in orbit that permit life as we know it to thrive)



A small change in Earth's orbit, even with little change in the annual solar heating, will kill most people - Choot is right about this and ST about how easy it is to change orbits with a mass passing by.
 
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Related to 3 Questions - Why are some orbits

1. Why do some orbits have different shapes?

There are different factors that can affect the shape of an orbit, such as the gravitational pull of other objects, the speed and direction of the orbiting object, and the shape of the orbiting object itself. For example, an orbit around a perfect sphere will be a perfect circle, but if the object is irregularly shaped or if there are other objects with varying gravitational pulls, the orbit may be more elliptical or irregular.

2. How do scientists determine the shape of an orbit?

Scientists use various methods, such as observing the movement of objects in the orbit, analyzing the gravitational forces at play, and using mathematical calculations and simulations, to determine the shape of an orbit. They also take into account any external influences that may be affecting the orbit.

3. Can the shape of an orbit change over time?

Yes, the shape of an orbit can change over time due to various factors. For example, the gravitational pull of other objects can cause an orbit to become more elliptical or even change its direction. Additionally, interactions with other objects, collisions, or other external forces can also alter the shape of an orbit.

4. What is the significance of understanding different orbit shapes?

Understanding different orbit shapes is crucial for many reasons. It helps us understand the motion and behavior of objects in space, predict and prevent potential collisions, and plan space missions and satellite orbits. It also allows us to gather valuable information about the composition and structure of celestial bodies.

5. Are there any natural objects with perfectly circular orbits?

Yes, there are natural objects with perfectly circular orbits, such as the planets in our solar system. This is because they are orbiting around a central, massive object (the sun) and are not influenced by other significant gravitational forces. However, even these orbits can become slightly elliptical over time due to small external influences.

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