1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Calcuate Orbital Speed (without using distance)

  1. Sep 8, 2011 #1
    How would I go about calculating the orbital speed of a planet without using the distance of its path. In other words, only using the motion around the plane of ecliptic?

    My first thought was using the angle of the path somehow, but I'm a bit stumped here.

    Thanks for any input!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2011 #2

    Filip Larsen

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Assuming "distance of its path" is referring to the semi-major axis of the orbit, a, you can replace a with knowledge of other orbital parameters such as orbital period T and eccentricity e. Assuming further that e is close to zero (orbit is near circular) you can find average orbital speed as a function T alone. To do this you probably need to look for some equations in your text books that relate these parameters to each other and combine them, or you could read some of the references that come up when you search for "orbital speed" ... *cough* wikipedia *cough*
  4. Sep 19, 2011 #3
    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I think I need a better understanding of some of these fundamental concepts before I can solve this.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook