Celestial Mechanics - Conic Sections

Conic Sections

An ellipse is one of the curves arising from study of conic sections.

Why do we care about conic sections?

The orbit of any object which does not pass extremely close to some other body in our solar system (moons are excluded, for example), has the form of a simple conic section—

  • circle
  • ellipse
  • parabola
  • hyperbola

with focal point at the center of the Sun. The majority of asteroids and comets will follow an elliptical orbit.

 Read about Kepler and his Three Laws.

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