How often do satellites pass the moon?

In summary, the conversation discusses how often a satellite, orbiting on the same plane as the moon, would pass the moon. The general solution for this problem is given as T = 1/((1/Ps) - (1/Pm)). Ps is the orbital period of the satellite and Pm is the orbital period of the moon. It is confirmed that the satellite's orbital period is about 90 minutes, slightly above the expected 90 minutes. The "one over one over formula" is also mentioned, which is commonly used in math and science. In another scenario, it is discussed how long it would take to paint a house if one person takes 3 hours and the other takes 1000 hours. The answer is
  • #1
Mr. Fizzix
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So, I have really no background in astrophysics (other than touching on some areas in general physics and calculus). I understand that asking questions such as the one in my title, that I would need to be more specific, and I will attempt to be as specific as I can.

I understand that most satellites take around 90 minutes to orbit the Earth (once the orbit has "stabilized" so to speak), variable by what angle it orbits, at what altitude and possibly other factors. Let's say 90, and that it is orbiting on the same "plane" (not sure if this term is a generalization) as the moon. Now, I know that the moon orbits the Earth once every 27.322 days. I would assume they orbit the Earth in the same direction? So, how often would this satellite, one the same plane of the moon's orbit, "pass" the moon (that is, if a line was was drawn from the Earth's center to the moon's center, how often would it cross it).

This seems like such a basic question that I should be able to solve, but for some reason it is giving me a headache. Thank you in advance.

Brent
 
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  • #2
General solution:
[tex]T = \frac{1}{\frac{1}{P_s}-\frac{1}{P_m}}[/tex]

Where Ps is the orbital period of the satellite*
and Pm is the orbital period of the Moon

*assuming the satellite has a nearer orbit than the Moon and orbits in the same direction.
 
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  • #3
90.206 minutes. I was expecting it to be just a little bit above 90 (confirmed). It appears that this is within the error of satellite's variation in orbit times. Thank you for this, appreciate it.
 
  • #4
I like to call it the "one over one over formula". This formula is seen a lot in math and science.
You can paint a house in 3 hours. I take 1000 hours to paint the same house. If we joined efforts, how long would it take?
A quick analysis shows that although I do contribute, I'm not much help to the team, so while the answer will be less than 3 hours, it won't be much less.
1 divided by 1/3 + 1/1000 is 2.991 hours.
 
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Related to How often do satellites pass the moon?

1. How often do satellites pass the moon?

The frequency of satellites passing the moon depends on the specific orbit and altitude of the satellite. Some satellites may pass the moon multiple times a day, while others may only pass once every few months.

2. What causes satellites to pass the moon?

Satellites pass the moon due to the gravitational pull of the moon. The moon's gravity affects the orbit of the satellite and causes it to pass by as it rotates around the Earth.

3. Can satellites collide with the moon?

In most cases, satellites are not at risk of colliding with the moon. Satellites are typically placed in orbits that are far enough away from the moon to avoid any potential collisions. However, there have been a few instances where satellites have accidentally crashed into the moon.

4. How do scientists track satellites passing the moon?

Scientists use specialized equipment, such as telescopes and radar, to track satellites passing the moon. They also use mathematical calculations to predict the path and timing of satellite passes.

5. Are there any specific times or patterns for satellite passes over the moon?

Satellite passes over the moon can occur at any time, depending on the orbit and altitude of the satellite. However, there are some patterns and predictable times for satellite passes, which can be determined by scientists and tracked by satellite tracking websites and apps.

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