Astrophysics (Index)About

orbital element

(parameters describing an orbit)

Orbital elements are parameters that describe an orbit (the path of an astronomical object gravitationally bound to another, particularly, a repeating pattern) according to a reference plane and a direction through that plane.

Orbital elements regarding the shape and size of the orbit:

Terms used to describe the remaining orbital elements:

The other four orbital elements:

The number is six, the number of coordinates necessary to describe an object's position and motion.


(orbits,celestial mechanics,kinematics)
Further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_elements

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