AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

The Rotating Frame (Abstract)

Volume 47 number 2 (2019)

Christa Van Laerhoven
Christa Van Laerhoven Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, 325–6224 Agricultural Road. Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1, Canada; cvl@phas.ubc.ca


(Abstract only) We generally think of planets (and the smaller stuff, too) as going about their orbits, minding their own business. In actuality, our Solar System is a giant interact-a-thon, as fellow planetary bodies perturb each other via gravity. I will talk about a kind of interaction called orbital resonance and how we can diagnose that this particular kind of interaction is happening via something called the “rotating frame.” I will show how to translate from actual motion to motion in the rotating frame and will give some examples from our Solar System where it is helpful to look at orbits in this way.