mardi 30 mai 2017

Question about orbiting bodies

(and yes, I worded that title for parody threads :p)

In my layman's knowledge, in order for one object (say the moon) to orbit another object (say the earth), the orbiting body has to be of smaller mass in order to maintain a stable orbit. Otherwise, you'd end up with a situation like a 125 pound dog being led on a leash by a 3 year old.

What I'm there a theorem or formula that defines this? A scientific principle that says "in order for one object to orbit another, it's mass has to X times less than the orbiting body to maintain a stable orbit" (with other factors included)

If I had a magical dial that I could turn and magically increase the mass of the moon, as I turned it up, there should be a point where the moon's mass was great enough that a stable orbit around the earth was no longer possible, and it would either fly off on it's own or come crashing down to the earth. Is there a scientific formula that calculates this?

via International Skeptics Forum

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