In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved path of an object around a point in space, for example the orbit of a planet around the center of a star system, such as the Solar System. Orbits of planets are typically elliptical.

Current understanding of the mechanics of orbital motion is based on Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, which accounts for gravity as due to curvature of space-time, with orbits following geodesics. For ease of calculation, relativity is commonly approximated by the force-based theory of universal gravitation based on Kepler's laws of planetary motion.

Read more about Orbit:  History, Planetary Orbits, Newton's Laws of Motion, Analysis of Orbital Motion, Orbital Planes, Orbital Period, Specifying Orbits, Orbital Perturbations, Astrodynamics, Scaling in Gravity, Further Reading

Famous quotes containing the word orbit:

    Words can have no single fixed meaning. Like wayward electrons, they can spin away from their initial orbit and enter a wider magnetic field. No one owns them or has a proprietary right to dictate how they will be used.
    David Lehman (b. 1948)

    “To my thinking” boomed the Professor, begging the question as usual, “the greatest triumph of the human mind was the calculation of Neptune from the observed vagaries of the orbit of Uranus.”
    “And yours,” said the P.B.
    Samuel Beckett (1906–1989)

    The human spirit is itself the most wonderful fairy tale that can possibly be. What a magnificent world lies enclosed within our bosoms! No solar orbit hems it in, the inexhaustible wealth of the total visible creation is outweighed by its riches!
    —E.T.A.W. (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Wilhelm)