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Section 14.3 Effective Potential and Orbits

The animation below shows you the relationship between the orbit and the effective potential. Note that the two superimposed graphs have different axes. The axes for the orbit shape are \(x(t)\) and \(y(t)\text{,}\) while the axes for the effective potential are energy plotted vs. the distance \(r(t)\) from the center of mass. The two graphs are scaled so that the distance from the center of mass is the same in both graphs, i.e. watch the distance between the orange dot and the two red dots.

Activity 14.3.

Explore how the orbit is related to the effective potential.

Figure 14.3. Orbits and the effective potential.