P10-04: Elliptical Orbits

P10-04: Elliptical Orbits


When you go faster than the 8km/s that gives you a circular orbit, you achieve an elliptical orbit.  Although, you can actually say that ANY projectile motion follows an elliptical path.  Stay tuned!

See More
Try a College Course Free

Sophia’s self-paced online courses are a great way to save time and money as you earn credits eligible for transfer to over 2,000 colleges and universities.*

Begin Free Trial
No credit card required

28 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

263 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 25 of Sophia’s online courses. More than 2,000 colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.



Start off with this INTERACTIVE FIGURE on drawing ellipses and circles.  It's surprisingly helpful.  Watch my video lesson and check out this SCREENCAST.  When you get the chance, take a look at p. 195 in the textbook for an interesting sidebar on satellites.  That puts a lot of this together to answer a question you may have always had about worldwide communications.

Source: Hewitt, P. G. (2015). Conceptual Physics (12th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

My Explanation of Elliptical Orbits