# Is the trajectory parabolic or elliptical?

• farolero
In summary, parabolic shooting refers to a type of projectile motion that resembles an interrupted orbit due to the influence of gravity. However, it differs from actual orbits, which are affected by a central force rather than a uniform gravitational force. To determine the speed of a bullet in parabolic shooting, one could use conservation of angular momentum or the laws of motion for a projectile in a uniform field.
farolero
Parabolic shooting is a kind of orbit interrupted by the ground.

So I was wondering if I could calculate speeds of the bullet accounting for conservation of angular momentum.

Would this diagram be correct?

Last edited:
Why don't you try yourself to see if the result is compatible with the one obtained by using the laws of motion for projectile in uniform field?

farolero
farolero said:
Parabolic shooting is a kind of orbit interrupted by the ground
Not really. A parabola comes from assuming a uniform gravitational force. When you talk about orbits you are talking instead about a central force. It would be the tip of an ellipse, not a parabola.

Edit: sorry @nasu I basically fed him the info you were trying to get him to discover.

farolero

## 1. What determines whether a trajectory is parabolic or elliptical?

The shape of a trajectory is determined by the initial conditions, such as the initial velocity and angle of launch, as well as the gravitational force acting on the object.

## 2. How can we differentiate between a parabolic and an elliptical trajectory?

A parabolic trajectory is a U-shaped curve that is symmetrical and has a single focus point, while an elliptical trajectory is a curved path that is not symmetrical and has two focus points.

## 3. Is a parabolic or elliptical trajectory more common in real-life scenarios?

In most real-life scenarios, an elliptical trajectory is more common. This is because it is often influenced by multiple forces, such as air resistance, which can cause the path of an object to deviate from a perfect parabolic shape.

## 4. Can a parabolic trajectory occur in a vacuum?

Yes, a parabolic trajectory can occur in a vacuum if an object is only influenced by one force, such as the force of gravity. This is often seen in the motion of celestial bodies, such as planets and comets.

## 5. What factors can cause a trajectory to deviate from a perfect parabola or ellipse?

In addition to external forces like air resistance and wind, the shape of a trajectory can also be affected by the shape and rotation of the Earth, as well as the changing gravitational pull of other celestial bodies.

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