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Homework Help: Elliptical orbit

  1. Sep 26, 2005 #1

    If we throw an object in straight line this objects travels in parabolic path until it hits the ground.
    But in fact this parabola is only a part of an ellipse that object would travel in and center of the earth is one of the foci points

    I understand that object can circle around the earth with certain speed due to gravitational force acting as centripetal force.

    But why does object travel in elliptical orbit?

    Could we still call gravitational force that causes this a centripetal force?

    thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 26, 2005 #2


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  4. Sep 26, 2005 #3

    So basicly you could still call a force acting on object going in elliptical motion a centripetal force, even if it is changing its magnitude?
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