About This Chapter
Understanding Orbits in Astronomy - Chapter Summary
In this chapter, our instructors present information to help you understand orbits as they're defined in astronomy. The video lessons included here discuss center of mass, ecocentricity, circular velocity and more. In less than ten minutes, you can watch an entire video lesson or use the video tabs feature to quickly navigate to the portion of the video you'd like to see. Our Dashboard provides a place for you to submit any questions that come up to one of our instructors to answer. After you finish watching these videos, you should be prepared to:
- Identify the four kinds of trajectories for celestial objects
- Define ecocentricity and the orbits of planets
- Discuss center of mass, the barycenter and orbital motion
- Detail the influence orbits have on energy and gravity
- Explain escape velocity and circular velocity
1. The Four Kinds of Trajectories for Celestial Objects
What does the slicing apart of a cone and the resultant shapes have to do with trajectories and escape velocity? This lesson will tell you as it goes over ellipses, circles, hyperbolas, and parabolas.
2. Eccentricity & Orbits of Planets
After watching this lesson, you should be able to explain what eccentricity is and calculate the eccentricity of an orbit given relevant distance measurements. A short quiz will follow.
3. Center of Mass, The Barycenter & Orbital Motion
This lesson will tell you what orbits around what: the sun around the Earth or the Earth around the sun. The same goes for the moon and Earth. Does the moon really orbit around the Earth?
4. How Orbits Are Influenced by Gravity & Energy
This lesson will explain how potential energy, kinetic energy, speed, and gravity are linked to the orbital motion of planets in our solar system. It will also define aphelion and perihelion.
5. Circular Velocity & Escape Velocity
This lesson will describe the concepts of circular velocity, escape velocity, open orbits, closed orbits, and geosynchronous satellites. It will provide the equations necessary for you to be able to calculate out circular and escape velocity as well.
Earning College Credit
Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.
To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page
Transferring credit to the school of your choice
Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.
Other chapters within the Astronomy 101: Intro to Astronomy course
- The Historical Background of Astronomy
- The Basics of Astronomy
- The Physics of Astronomy
- The Earth-Moon System
- The Solar System
- The Inner Solar System
- Gaseous Planets in the Solar System
- Comets, Moons & Asteroids
- Understanding the Science of the Sun
- Types of Stars in the Universe
- Formation & Evolution of Stars
- Stellar Death & Remnants
- Formation & Structure of the Milky Way
- Properties & Characteristics of Galaxies
- Cosmology Overview
- Relativity in Space & Time
- Overview of Life in the Universe
- Tools & Instruments for Astronomy
- Studying for Astronomy 101