Earth-Sun System Lagrange Points
Science & Technology

We Asked a NASA Scientist: What Are Lagrange Points? [Video]

Lagrange Factors of the Earth-Solar system (not drawn to scale). Credit score: NOAA

What are Lagrange factors? They’re locations round a planet’s orbit the place the gravitational pull of the planet and the Solar and the movement of the orbit mix to create an equilibrium — requiring little or no vitality to remain in orbit.

NASA’s Lucy mission will go to Jupiter’s Lagrange factors the place the Trojan asteroids have been gravitationally trapped for billions of years, holding clues to the formation of our photo voltaic system. NASA scientist Dr. Adriana Ocampo has extra.

Lagrange factors are named after the Italian astronomer and mathematician who first proposed them. These are locations in our photo voltaic system the place the gravitational pull of any two planetary our bodies, in addition to the movement of their orbit, mix to create an equilibrium. It takes little or no vitality to orbit these positions.

Objects which can be despatched to those places in house both have a tendency to remain there naturally or will be saved there with minimal vitality as a result of the forces are in stability.

NASA’s benefiting from these Lagrange Factors to ship two new extraordinary missions. The James Webb Area Telescope will orbit the Solar at Earth’s Lagrange Level quantity two, permitting the telescope to remain consistent with Earth because it strikes across the Solar and retain that orbit utilizing little or no gas.

NASA’s Lucy mission will examine the pristine Trojan asteroids, the remnants of our photo voltaic system which have been gravitationally trapped round Jupiter’s Lagrange level quantity 4 and Lagrange Level quantity 5 for over 4 and a half billion years.

So, what are Lagrange factors? They’re locations in our photo voltaic system the place objects can orbit the Solar on the identical velocity as a planet staying in the identical place relative to each of them.

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