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Binary Star Integrator (3D)
Help File

  • HELP. Displays this help screen. To exit, click one of the Exit Help buttons located at the top and bottom of this screen.
  • INTEGRATION TIME. Here you specify how long into the future the orbit should be followed. Be careful in choosing this parameter as it is directly correlated to how long you will wait before seeing a plot! A good strategy is to try a short integration time first to get an idea of how fast the program is.

    Orbit of the Binary Star

  • MASS OF STAR 1. A Solar Mass is the mass of the Sun. So a "1.0" entered here means the star will have the same mass as our Sun, a "2.0" means the star has twice this mass, etc.
  • MASS OF STAR 2. Same as above.
  • AVERAGE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE STARS. The average distance between the stars is also the orbital semimajor axis. An AU is the Earth-Sun distance.
  • ECCENTRICITY OF STARS' ORBITS. The eccentricty gives the shape of the stars elliptical orbits. The eccentricity must be between 0 and 1. An eccentricity of 0.0 will produce an initially circular orbit; larger eccentricities correspond to narrower ellipses.

    Orbit of the Planet

  • SEMIMAJOR AXIS. Enter the semimajor axis of the planet. This is measured with respect to the distance between the other two bodies in orbit with each other.
  • ECCENTRICITY. In this space, you enter the eccentricty of the third body's orbit. You must enter a value greater or equal to 0 but less than 1. An eccentricity of 0.0 will produce a circular orbit. If the eccentriciy is greater than zero the orbit will be an ellipse.
  • INCLINATION. The inclination is measured relative to the plane of the orbits of the other two bodies.
  • ARGUMENT OF PERICENTER (). The argument of pericenter is the angle measured from a reference point () to the pericenter (P) of the orbit with the center chosen above as the vertex of the angle.
  • TRUE ANOMALY (). This parameter specifies the angle between pericenter (P) and the position of the planet along its orbit.
  • LONGITUDE OF THE ASCENDING NODE (). The Longitude of the Ascending Node is an angle measured in the reference plane from a reference point () to the Ascending Node. The Ascending Node is the position where the plane of the orbit crosses the reference plane heading north.

    In 2D:

    In 3D:

  • SUBMIT FORM. Send the parameters that you have chosen to the orbital integration program!
  • LOAD DEFAULTS. Set all parameters back to their default values.

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