General Brock wrote:
@ Destructionator XIII
Silly question, but would the mass of the objects creating the Lagrange points affect point size? That never seems to be covered in Lagrange point entries on the internet. (Sorry if the terms used are a little rough...).
Intuitively it would seem to be the case. Links that talk about Lagrange points and even appear to demonstrate how to calculate a location, are not impossible to find. However, any kind of formula for the size of space affected or its shape (spherical or ellipsoid) do not Google as easily.
No. The Lagrange points are created by gravitational interactions between the two large bodies of the system. The random junk that gets vacuumed into them doesn't contribute anything meaningful to the effect. If there was enough mass at a Lagrange point to seriously rival the gravitational pull of the bodies that formed the point, it would disturb the balance that makes the point exist in the first place.
And yes, from a practical point of view the Lagrange points are sort of
like an gravity well. Not totally like one, because they don't become extra-strong when you get close to the center, and because they're pretty weak and easy to get out of. It's just that rocks drifting under their own power can't do it.
The shape of the stable orbits around the points is... not-simple. I'd advise trying to work out the math, but you need differential equations to understand it, so that's probably a "screw you, I've got mine" answer. Sorry.
Good to see you talking about things that aren't Ron Paul again.