- noun the curved path of a planet or satellite around another astronomical object
- verb to go round a astronomical object in a curved path
- Path of one celestial body around another or of a pair of bodies mutually about each other. Bodies are bound in orbit by gravitation and when one body has a negligible part of the mass of the other, the orbit it adopts is subject to Kepler’s Laws. Within the solar system, orbits range from the highly eccentric paths of comets to the compass-perfect orbits of the satellites of Uranus. In some circumstances, energy rather than mass can take up an orbit, as when light is captured by the gravitation of a black hole. Technologists are adept at putting artificial satellites of the Earth into precisely tailored orbits designed to match the Earth’s rotation or allow them to observe particular parts of the Earth’s surface at close quarters. The two orbits which most affect the Earth are the Moon’s around the Earth and the Earth’s around the Sun, although it is possible to speculate on the possible effects on the Earth of the Sun’s 240 million year orbit around the centre of the galaxy.
- A path followed by a particle or body, especially a closed path surrounding an object or location.
- A path followed by an electron around a nucleus.
- A closed path, usually circular or elliptical, followed by a natural or artificial satellite around the earth or another object. Also, a complete revolution. Such a path is determined by forces such as gravitation.
- A closed path, usually circular or elliptical, followed by one celestial body, such as a star, around another celestial body or location. Also, a complete revolution. Such a path is determined by forces such as gravitation.
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