eccentricity(redirected from eccentricities)
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eccentricity,in astronomy: see orbitorbit,
in astronomy, path in space described by a body revolving about a second body where the motion of the orbiting bodies is dominated by their mutual gravitational attraction.
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eccentricitySymbol: e . A measure of the extent to which an elliptical orbit departs from circularity. It is given by the ratio c /2a where c is the distance between the focal points of the ellipse and 2a is the length of the major axis. For a circular orbit e = 0. The planets and most of their satellites have an eccentricity range of 0–0.25 (see table). Many comets and some of the asteroids and planetary satellites have very eccentric orbits. The eccentricity of an orbit varies over a long period due to changing gravitational effects: that of the Earth's orbit varies between about 0.005 to 0.06 in a period of about 100 000 years. See also conic sections.
in a conic section, a number equal to the ratio of a point’s distance from the focus to its distance from a directrix. The eccentricity characterizes the shape of a conic section. For example, two conic sections that have the same eccentricity are similar. The eccentricity of an ellipse is less than unity, that of a hyperbola is greater than unity, and that of a parabola is equal to unity. For the ellipse and hyperbola, the eccentricity may be defined as the ratio of the distances between the foci to the longer or real axis.