Horseshoe Orbit

A horseshoe orbit is an orbit where 2 objects share a similar orbit. But the objects never come close to each other. Anytime the objects approach each other, orbital energy is exchanged, causing one or both objects to change speed. They then begin to distance themselves.

The simulation Horseshoe.gsim uses a rotating frame to simulate a test particle in a horseshoe orbit around a hypothetical planet. Every time the object is traveling faster than the planet, as it approaches the planet, the planet's gravity pulls on the object causing it to speed up. This raises the object's orbit into a slower orbit. The object is then moving slower than the planet. Eventually the object approaches the planet from the other direction and the reverse happens. The planet pulls on the object and slows it down. This drops the object into a lower but faster orbit. Once again travelling faster than the planet, the whole process repeats itself indefinitely.

Download horseshoe.gsim

(You need to have the program Gravity Simulator installed on your computer first. Click Here to download Gravity Simulator.)