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The shapes of the orbits of many planets and comets orbiting their mother-ship stars are well known to be circles or ellipses (an idea that was explained by Isaac Newton). But we now understand that, depending on the history and the energy of the orbiting system, other geometric shapes are possible and indeed frequently observed.  

This talk will explore how simple changes to the circumstances can make dramatic differences to the shapes of the orbits, all of which belong to a special family of shapes known as the conic sections.

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This event was on Wed, 29 Jan 2020

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE

Professor Katherine Blundell OBE

Professor of Astronomy

Katherine was appointed Gresham Professor of Astronomy in 2019. She is a Professor of Astrophysics at Oxford University and a Research Fellow at St John's College.

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