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# Download The Physics of Orbits

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Transcript

The Physics of Orbits Three of Newton’s Laws combine to explain why satellites orbit like they do. Newton’s First Law and Orbits A satellite following Newton’s First Law of motion tends to keep going… In a Line that is Tangent to the orbit because they change direction satellites are undergoing acceleration. This is called Centripetal Acceleration, and it is: (copy formula) Newton’s Second Law and Orbits According to the second law if satellite is accelerating then there must be a Force that makes it do so. The force that does this is called a Centripetal Force and the amount needed is given by: (copy formula) Notice that force must be greater when the velocity is greater or if the turn is sharper That is… When the radius is smaller! Orbits and The Universal Law of Gravity Many things can provide centripetal force. For satellites in orbit it is Gravity that provides the Centripetal Force. If “falling” is accelerating due to Gravity then satellites are falling, but the acceleration changes the direction rather than the speed. A satellite orbiting Earth is falling. It just keeps missing the Earth! Because the Earth curves away and the satellite ’s tangential velocity is so great