Orbital Mechanics

Apply your physics to predict the movement of the heavens.

Kepler's Laws & Orbital Geometry

Kepler's laws make up the basis of astrophysics, and remain tremendously important for understanding all of celestial mechanics. They allow us to understand the shapes of orbits, predict hard-to-observe parameters like distance from easy-to-observe ones like period, and set up key equations to understand the rate of movement.

Basic Physics Mechanics

In order to do well in astronomy and astrophysics olympiads, one must have a solid understanding of physics. In this handout, we will focus on basic mechanics, though you will likely want to study other areas of physics (such as electromagnetism and thermodynamics) in the future if you want to perform at the highest level. This handout can be used as either a review of mechanics or a fresh learning resource.

Advanced Orbital Mechanics

With the background provided by the previous two handouts, this handout extensively applies those knowledge and now focuses on advanced applications of orbital mechanics, such as how to use conservation of energy and how orbital maneuvers work.