9772

Orbital Wobble

Orbiting bodies revolve around their common center of mass (green). If the center of mass is inside one of the bodies, it will seem to wobble. This wobble can sometimes be detected for distant stars, which indicates the presence of an orbiting body, such as a planet that cannot be observed directly.

THINGS TO TRY

SNAPSHOTS

  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]
  • [Snapshot]

DETAILS

Snapshot 1: In some systems, the center of mass, which is also known as the barycenter, is found well inside the larger body. This occurs, for instance, if the larger body has a considerably larger mass than the smaller one. As a result, the larger body wobbles slightly as the two bodies revolve around the barycenter.
Snapshot 2: If the two bodies are closer in mass, with the barycenter still inside the larger body, the wobble will be more pronounced.
Snapshot 3: If the two bodies have roughly the same mass, the bodies rotate around the barycenter without appearing to wobble.
    • Share:

Embed Interactive Demonstration New!

Just copy and paste this snippet of JavaScript code into your website or blog to put the live Demonstration on your site. More details »

Files require Wolfram CDF Player or Mathematica.









 
RELATED RESOURCES
Mathematica »
The #1 tool for creating Demonstrations
and anything technical.
Wolfram|Alpha »
Explore anything with the first
computational knowledge engine.
MathWorld »
The web's most extensive
mathematics resource.
Course Assistant Apps »
An app for every course—
right in the palm of your hand.
Wolfram Blog »
Read our views on math,
science, and technology.
Computable Document Format »
The format that makes Demonstrations
(and any information) easy to share and
interact with.
STEM Initiative »
Programs & resources for
educators, schools & students.
Computerbasedmath.org »
Join the initiative for modernizing
math education.
Step-by-step Solutions »
Walk through homework problems one step at a time, with hints to help along the way.
Wolfram Problem Generator »
Unlimited random practice problems and answers with built-in Step-by-step solutions. Practice online or make a printable study sheet.
Wolfram Language »
Knowledge-based programming for everyone.
Powered by Wolfram Mathematica © 2014 Wolfram Demonstrations Project & Contributors  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  RSS Give us your feedback
Note: To run this Demonstration you need Mathematica 7+ or the free Mathematica Player 7EX
Download or upgrade to Mathematica Player 7EX
I already have Mathematica Player or Mathematica 7+