Circular velocity is the horizontal velocity of an object required to keep it in a circular orbit at a given altitude about a planet or other gravitating mass. It is given by √[G(M + m)/R], where G is the gravitational constant, M is the mass of the central body, m is the mass of the orbiting body (which can be ignored, for example, in the case of an orbiting spacecraft), and R is the distance separating the orbiter from the center of the gravitating body.
Related entry orbital velocity
Related categories CELESTIAL MECHANICS
Home • About • Copyright © The Worlds of David Darling • Encyclopedia of Alternative Energy • Contact