Re: That old devil called gravity

Posted by Natalie L. Smith on Mar 19, 2002 at 20:14

Re: That old devil called gravity (dogrock)

Well. Classical physics would say you are wrong. While you are correct that the moon could not travel in a different radius orbit and still travel at the same velocity (it would spiral outward or inward in an orbital decay path), there is nothing in classical physics to say that it couldn't travel in any particular radius orbit (assuming an ellipse, of course) by simply having a compensating change in the velocity/momentum. Now, quantum physics would say that you are right. Just as with the electron, since energy is quantized, there are only certain allowed "jumps" in energy and, therefore, only certain allowed orbits. However, for an object as massive as the moon, the allowed jumps in energy are so infinitesimally small, that it would be impossible for us to perform ANY kind of experiment that would show the effects of this quantization. So, for all practical purposes, "any" orbital radius is allowed.

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