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Topic: Energy of satellite's Newtonian orbit
Replies: 12   Last Post: Apr 30, 2011 10:04 PM

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Matthew Lybanon

Posts: 20
Registered: 12/13/04
Re: Energy of satellite's Newtonian orbit
Posted: Apr 29, 2011 11:13 AM
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In article
Narasimham <> wrote:

> Does energy of an orbiting satellite ( mass<< mass M of massive body )
> depend only on G*M and its eccentricity only ?
> Narasimham

The total energy (kinetic + potential) of a Newtonian orbit is constant,
and depends only on the orbit's semimajor axis (and G and M;
eccentricity is not involved). If the orbit is eccentric the kinetic
and potential energies change with time, but their sum is always
constant. If the mass distribution (hence its gravitational field) of
the central body is not uniform (spherical symmetry is all that is
needed for the above to be true)--as is the case for real stars and
planets--things are more complicated.

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