Questions tagged [lagrangian-points]

Lagrangian points (also Lagrange points, L-points, or libration points) are the five positions (L1 - L5) surrounding two celestial bodies where gravitational pull of the two large mass bodies provides the centripetal force required to orbit them. Such points are usually nominally unstable but somewhat periodic around celestial systems with stable orbits.

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Is this what station keeping maneuvers look like, or just glitches in data? (SOHO via Horizons)

I've been enjoying the JPL Horizons web interface and after I discovered the incredibly extensive database associated with SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, also see sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov) ...
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Are some Halo Orbits actually Stable?

UPDATE: I found another reference! While I always enjoy a good video starring Jimmy and Linda Carter, this one has Dennis Wingo describing ISEE-3's original Halo orbit. He describes Sun-Earth $L_1$ as ...
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What are the sources of light at L2? How will the James Webb telescope be powered?

The James Webb space telescope will be positioned very close to L2. According to JPL, Webb will have a large solar-array to power itself. I don't understand how this works, since L2 is positioned "...
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Are large halo orbits around L₁'s and L₂'s preferred over small orbits for reasons other than geometry?

There have been many examples of the placement of satellites in orbits around Lagrange points, most have been sun-earth and earth-moon $L_1$ and $L_2$ due to their proximity to earth. In each case ...
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How far would the Mars L1 Lagrangian Point be from Mars?

I am a sci-fi writer, and I've heard about the concept of putting some type of magnetic deflector near the Sun-Mars L1 point to deflect charged particles from the Sun to reduce radiation effects on ...
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Why would a mission to Sun-Earth L1 have an instantaneous launch window?

I was watching the webcast for Falcon 9 Flight 15 (launching DSCOVR) when they scrubbed their first launch attempt due to some issues during the terminal countdown. Before the scrub, the narrator ...
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Why should the James Webb Space telescope stay in the unstable L2?

We all know that James Webb Space telescope is planned to be launched in 2018. It has been decided that the orbit of JWST will be elliptical around the Lagrange point L2, which has been declared as ...
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Can the James Webb Space Telescope basically manage its own orbit if necessary?

In this great answer I learned that the Mars rover Curiosity can be given some tasks and it will go ahead and manage the work and navigation by itself, to at least a certain limit. The James Webb ...
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Nature of Hayabusa-2's “Home Position” relative to Ryugu? Is it Ruygu's L1?

This tweet "from Hayabusa-2" via JAXA shows the diagram below, which seems to suggest that the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft tends to remain between the asteroid Ryugu and the Sun. Does Hayabusa-2 have to ...
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Why has the Earth-Sun libration point L1 been chosen over L2 for NEOCam to detect new NEOs?

above: Profoundly not-to-scale illustration of NEOCam in an orbit around the Sun-Earth libration point L1, about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Presumably Sun-shield and Earth-shield block light (...
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Do we have the capability to place a satellite in the Sun-Earth L4/L5 Lagrange points?

I was looking at the Wikipedia page on Lagrangian points, and I noticed that in the list of current and proposed missions, the only mention of the $L_4$ and $L_5$ points is a "this would be a good ...
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What do the green lines represent in this Lagrange Point animation?

This is one of my all-time YouTube favorite videos. It's an illustration of the Earth-Moon Lagrange points in orbit around the sun for a year. Put on your headphones, dim the lights, and set YT to HD. ...
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Is there a lot of space trash at the Earth-Moon Lagrange points?

Lagrange points are the points in a multi-body gravitational system in which the gravitational force and centrifugal force sum to zero. The image below from this Wikipedia article shows the 5 ...
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This orbit looks wrong near a Lagrange point. Is it?

On a completely unrelated forum, i came across the following graphic: The orbit seems wrong to me, especially the first curve. From the initial trajectory, I would expect the orbit to have been in a ...
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How does orbital eccentricity affect positions of Lagrange points $L_4$ and $L_5$?

It is often said that the $L_4$ and $L_5$ points are "60 degrees ahead and behind" a planet like Jupiter. Clearly this is true only in the case of circular orbits. In more elliptical orbits, I assume ...
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Low Energy Transfer within Earth-Moon system

Practical aspects of a total low energy transfer to the Moon have been seen in missions like GENESIS, which uses Weak stability Boundary legs of Earth and Sun to reach ESL-2. This four body model ...
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What are reasons to put Gaia space telescope into L2 Lagrangian point of Sun-Earth system?

As I remember, Gaia (wiki, ESA) was planned to flight away from Earth, so it orbit is not LEO, and not GEO. It is located near 1.5 millions kilometers away from Earth, orbiting thousands kilometers ...
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If something “falls off” the L2 or L1 point, where will it go?

The L1 and L2 points are thought to be unstable "saddle" points, meaning that there is stability in two directions of movement, but not in the other. That raises an obvious question - when a ...
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Does the Earth have any Trojan asteroids?

Are there any known Trojan objects residing in the Sun-Earth L4 (SEL4) and L5 (SEL5) Lagrange points, also named "Greek" and "Trojan" groups, respectively?
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Why would Hollywood's Planet X (at earth's L3) be unstable?

This NASA website states "NASA is unlikely to find any use for the L3 point since it remains hidden behind the Sun at all times. The idea of a hidden "Planet-X" at the L3 point has been a popular ...
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What is a “synodic frame”? Can one be defined for an elliptical orbit?

A description of a "synodic frame" was one of the main ingredients in this excellent answer to a question about an animation of a funky-looking orbit that several different and distinctly interesting ...
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Do we sufficiently understand mechanics of Lagrange point stationkeeping for EML2 rendezvous and assembly?

I've been watching some recorded videos from the April 22 - 24, 2014 Humans2Mars conference (videos and live streams, when available, are on the National Institute of Aerospace channel on Livestream), ...
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Minimum Delta V to a staging area in cislunar space for a vertical space gun

Space guns have a lot of confounding factors for getting to LEO. The projectile must be a rocket capable of large delta v in order to circularize the orbit. Then, giving more sideways velocity ...
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How deep is the force well of L4 and L5 Lagrangian Points of Earth-Sun set?

The Lagrangian Points are points in space, where the combination of gravitational pull of a set of two bodies and the centripetal force of orbiting one of them add up to zero. The special property of $...
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Are the Earth's 10 Lagrange points stable and large enough to park multiple satelites/space vessels

I know that we already have satellites in position at our Lagrange points, but what if we want to use them to park spacecraft sections for assembly reasons, or possibly even a meteorite for mining. ...
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Could JWST stay at L2 “forever”?

Using only reaction wheels powered by solar panel and the sunshield as a sail (in continuous active attitude control) to generate thrust from solar photon pressure in the desired direction, could JWST ...
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Reverse Lunar Space Elevator

The possibility of a space elevator from the lunar surface is discussed in this question. A lunar elevator for the purpose of return to Earth could be achieved at the L1 Lagrange Point between Earth ...
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Single-shot Blue Marble pictures

I was quite surprised to read in today's Earth Observatory Picture of the Day that the DSCOVR spacecraft, currently en route to the $L_1$ Lagrange point, will be the first spacecraft able to see the ...
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Where will objects end up, after losing stability at Lagrangian points?

The Lagrangian points are points of unstable balance (at least gravitationally; L4 and L5 are stable thanks to Coriolis force.), and that means an object not stabilized actively will fall out of them ...
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What determines the orbital speed around a massless Lagrangian point?

What value of M should I use to calculate the speed of a satellite orbiting a Lagrangian point where there exists no mass?
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How can I calculate the Characteristic Energy to Sun-Earth L1?

Alternatively, does anyone know it? I'm asking in regards to the upcoming DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) mission scheduled to launch aboard a Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket in January 2015. DSCOVR is ...
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Why are the Trojan libration points equidistant and not mass weighted?

The locations of the collinear Lagrange points L1, L2, L3 are mass weighted, so for example Sun-Earth-L1 is only 1% of the distance to the Sun from Earth. But L4 and L5 are one AU from both the Sun ...
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Do horseshoe orbits have anything to do with Lagrange points? Do words fail us here?

I said (2010 SO16 is associated with Lagrange point L3 but wanders so far behind and ahead of it that the orbit is called "horseshoe"... and the comment was made: Not really. L3 is unstable. ...
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L2 point in multi-moon system

For an SF novel, if there were two large moons orbiting a planet, let's say one moon the size of Earth's moon and the 2nd moon about 20% larger, and the planet roughly the size of the Earth, would the ...
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Halo vs Lissajous orbit: Which station-keeping strategy to select and when?

I'm looking for a comprehensive pros and cons of the two most commonly used station-keeping types of orbits used at libration points, Lissajous and halo orbits. When would one select one over the ...
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Why are so many space telescopes placed in LEO instead of at Lagrange Points? And why do we hear about Hubble more than any Langrange-orbit telescope?

Here is the list of every space telescope launched by different space agencies - List of space telescopes. Most of the listed telescopes are placed in Lower Earth Orbit (about 95% of them). It's ...
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What does the Sun-Earth-Moon system look like from the Sun-Earth L-2 point?

The L-2 point of the Sun-Earth system is away from the Earth on the night-side of the Earth; i.e. it's always local midnight at the sub-satellite point. This is an attractive property for some ...
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Are there any (Lagrange) points in the Solar System in perpetual shade?

This answer mentioned thermal cycling made me think of this question: Are there any points in the solar system, such as Lagrange points, where a spacecraft could reside in perpetual shade, protected ...
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Does any group have a serious proposal to build & maintain a station at L1?

To me, it's a no-brainer that the Earth-Moon L1 location is a strategic locale, sort of a forks of the Ohio in local space. I've seen some proposals to put some long-term station there, but has anyone ...
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Stability of Lissajous orbits around Sun-Venus L1

How far is it from the Venus? Does Mercury gives too big perturbations for a stable Lissajous orbit?
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Aren't the mirrors of the James Webb Space Telescope too unprotected?

I've looked at the design of the James Webb Space Telescope and I got curious about something, some years ago, it seems that the international space station was hit by micro-meteorites. I'm wondering ...
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What plane will DSCOVR’s orbit be in?

According to the “NASA Earth Science Instruments” section of noaa.gov's DSCOVR page, DSCOVR will make unique space measurements from the first sun-Earth Lagrange point (L1). ... 1.5 million ...
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What is the required burn to keep a satellite at a Lagrangian point?

When a satellite reaches a Lagrangian point, it has a non-zero velocity $v_1$ because of the transfer orbit in which it had already been. What burn, say, $\Delta v$, one needs if the satellite is ...
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Do Lagrange-like regions temporarily appear around planets with multiple moons?

Lasting Lagrange points only exist where two bodies of mass dominate. But in the midst of for example the synchronous Jovian moons, is there a calendar and map for when a spacecraft can be near enough ...
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Ordering of the Lagrange points

Is there any basis for the ordering of the L-points? Specifically, is there any particular reason for choosing L1 as the first L-point?
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For an EML-1 to Mars transfer orbit, would flying to the right or left of Earth be preferable?

If an L1 space station was used as a staging area for a mission to Mars, it looks like we would use the Oberth effect in a close flyby to Earth to make the burn. But I just realized - the idea, as ...
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Is the L2 Mars-Sun point protected from solar radiation?

To what extent is the L2 point protected in comparison to the surface, if at all? Since the L2 point might be in the umbra of Mars, it could be shielded against the sun. It would also be helpful if ...
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Does it even make sense to talk about Mercury's triangular libration points (L4, L5)?

The recent question How much radiation shielding would be required for a habitat at Mercury–Sun L5? got me thinking. There are a large number of disadvantages and challenges to building or putting a ...
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Are Lagrangian points associated only with the smaller body?

Diagrams of Lagrangian points I've seen always show the points near the smaller object, following its orbit about the larger one. For instance: from Wikipedia. But in fact the smaller object ...
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Did ISEE-3 spend a few years in a halo orbit around sun-earth $L_1$ without using any fuel?

In a related question I'm trying to find some conclusive reference(s) helping explain if some halo orbits around the sun-earth or earth-moon $L_1$ or $L_2$ locations can actually be somewhat stable (...