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3D ORBIT VIEWER
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.
  • PERICENTER DISTANCE. This parameter defines the distance between the point in the orbit that is closest to the body whose force determines the orbit, and the body itself. This distance is measured in Astronomical Units (AU). One AU is the mean distance from the Earth to the Sun.
  • SEMIMAJOR AXIS. This parameter is defined as half the length of the maximum dimension of an ellipse. This is measured in Astronomical Units (AU).
  • ECCENTRICITY. This parameter is a dimensionless number that ranges from 0 to 1. It is a measure of how much an ellipse deviates from a circle, whose eccentricity is 0. An ellipse with an eccentricity of 1 would essentially be a straight line with a length equal to the twice the semimajor axis of the ellipse.
  • INCLINATION. This parameter is only used in 3-D space and it specifies how much the 3-D orbit is inclined out of the reference plane, this is measured in degrees. In situations dealing with the Sun, the reference plane is the ecliptic. In 2-D, the orbit lies in the reference plane and, therefore, the inclination is 0 degrees. Inclination can have a value from -360 to 360 degrees.
  • LONGITUDE OF NODES. This parameter is only used in 3-D space. A node is the position in the orbit where the plane of the orbit crosses the reference plane. The Longitude of Nodes is measured from a reference point to the Ascending Node. The Ascending Node is the node where the orbit crosses the reference plane heading north.
  • ARGUMENT OF PERICENTER.
  • LONGITUDE OF PERICENTER. In 2-D, the longitude of pericenter is the angle measured from a reference point to the pericenter of the orbit with the Sun being the vertex of the angle. In 3-D, the longitude of pericenter is the angle previously mentioned plus the angle of the ascending node which is measured from the same reference point, also having the Sun as the vertex of the angle.
  • TRUE ANOMALY. This parameter specifies the angle between pericenter (the place along the planet's orbit where the planet-Sun distance is smallest) and the starting position of the planet along its orbit. The valid range is 0 to 360 degrees.
  • ECCENTRIC ANOMALY. The Eccentric Anomaly is used to describe the variable length of the radius vector r. The relationship between the eccentric anomaly (E) and r can be seen through the following equation: r=a(1-e cos E), where a is the semi-major axis and e is the eccentricity of the ellipse.
  • MEAN ANOMALY. The mean anomaly is the angle formed between a line drawn from the Sun to the pericenter of the ellipse and a line from the Sun to a hypothetical object that has the same orbital period as the real object being studied, but has a constant angular speed.
  • TRUE LATITUDE.
  • MEAN LATITUDE.
  • TRUE LONGITUDE.
  • MEAN LONGITUDE.
  • SUBMIT FORM. Send the parameters that you have chosen to the orbital viewer program!
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