Saturday, March 12, 2016

Lagrange Points

Lagrange points are points between two or more objects in space in which gravity is equal. For example, L1 (Lagrange 1) is between an object, like Earth, orbiting a star, like the Sun. There is a point in which an object will orbit between the Earth and Sun and stay in an orbit that is equal to the amount of time it takes for Earth to complete it's orbit. Let us say, there is a satellite we need to orbit in this area for studying asteroids without going into the asteroid belt for obvious reasons. We can achieve this by launching the satellite a certain distance between the Sun and the Earth and it will have the same orbital period as the Earth. This seems impossible, but that is only because there wasn't any factor of the pull of the Earth v. Sun. The closer you are to an object, the strong the pull is. The Sun is at a much greater distance than the Earth, so to have a stable orbit that follows Earth's, the satellite would need to be at the point in which the gravitational influence is almost equal. This is the basic concept of the Lagrangian points and there are up to 5 different points in which gravity will equal itself out, though, these points are unstable and require correction by using fuel and burning it to achieve this.

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