• What is an orbit?

    Anna Piskunova
    Anna Piskunova
    May 19, 2015
    What is an orbit?

    The motion of celestial bodies is carried out along strictly defined trajectories - orbits. Let us consider in more detail what the orbit of a cosmic body is.

    Orbit literally translated from Latin (from the word orbita) means "track, road, path," and most often it is interpreted as the path of movement of a material point in a predetermined coordinate system. As applied to astronomy, the orbit is the trajectory of a celestial body in the gravitational field of another body with a larger mass.

    Types of orbits

    • In a form: elliptic, circular, closed and unclosed
    • Tilt angle: equatorial, polar and oblique orbits
    • By orbital period: synchronous, quasi-synchronous, synchronous-diurnal solar-synchronous

    Orbits are different. Any orbit can be described using the following parameters:

    • dimensional characteristics: focal parameter, the semi-major axis, the radius of the pericenter and the radius of the apocenter;
    • shape characteristic: eccentricity, orbit inclination, ascending node longitude and argument of the pericenter.

    Such elements of the orbit are called Keplerian and are necessary for describing the orbital motion of bodies, the study of which is devoted a considerable number of sections of astronomical science. Also, these characteristics provide information for the future classification of orbits, the types of which are given above.


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