written by Mike Sterling for Canadian Community News
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Last week we looked at the work of Vera Rubin. She studied the motion of spiral galaxies. She was astounded to find that our neighbor galaxy Andromeda did not obey the well known laws of classic physics.
She theorized the reason to be that there is dark matter engulfing Andromeda that is unseen. The mass of the unseen dark matter dominates the galaxy.
To get an idea of her work in an animation click here and then click on the play arrow to see the animation. You'll note the differences in rotation speed. Newton would have been puzzled. Read the caption.
Thinking about Rubin's discovery and the new movie 'Hidden Figures', I thought it might be good to look around for an animation that would show a small mass interacting with a large mass in an orbital sense.
The movie shows how three black women played a large role in allowing John Glenn to successfully orbit the earth AND return alive.
If you can take the time to 'play' with the orbital animation, it will show you how delicate the calculations are.
There are a number of outcomes. Two that you can see in the animation are:
1. The object reaches orbit velocity and takes on a stable orbit.
2. The object takes on a stable, but elongated elliptical orbit.
3. You can easily create a small object escape animation too.
There is also a small animation of our solar system embedded in our own galaxy.
Finally, I did an animation of a theoretical interaction of a planet and a moon. An outsider causes some havoc. All this to the music of Vincent's Song ... Starry, Starry night.
Elliptical Motion of an object around a much larger mass.
Stable Almost Circular Orbit
Solar System in Motion
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Sunday, January 01, 2017