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:
“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 (19061989)
“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)
“The Fitchburg Railroad touches the pond about a hundred rods south of where I dwell. I usually go to the village along its causeway, and am, as it were, related to society by this link. The men on the freight trains, who go over the whole length of the road, bow to me as to an old acquaintance, they pass me so often, and apparently they take me for an employee; and so I am. I too would fain be a track-repairer somewhere in the orbit of the earth.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)