Average distance between a star and planet in an eccentric orbit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

The average distance between a star and a planet in the classic two-body problem of celestial mechanics is different from the orbital semi-major axis of the planet if the average is performed over time or angle. The time- and angle-averaged distances are functions of both the semi-major axis and the orbital eccentricity and can differ from the orbital semi-major axis by as much as 50%-100%. This difference contradicts the usual statement found in most introductory and advanced textbooks that the average distance and the orbital semi-major axis are equal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1198-1200
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Physics
Volume71
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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