Elliptical motion (what it is and examples)

Elliptical motion is that motion that makes a body and in whose trajectory the silhouette of a flattened circle at both ends is simulated.

Elliptical movements are performed in various natural physical systems that have a central center of force. The best-known elliptical movements are that of the planetary system, which rotates in a Newtonian gravitational potential, and the movement that occurs in a harmonic potential field.

Elliptical movements are usually very common in everyday life and can sometimes be confused with circular movements.

Examples of elliptical motion

Elliptical movements can be perceived in different objects depending on the force and space in which they occur.

Orbital translation

The elliptical movement most studied by scientists is orbital translation.

During the orbital translation movement, asteroids, planets, comets, among others, move around an orbit in an elliptical manner since they are attracted by the gravity of a larger object, such as the Earth that rotates around the planet. sun and moon.

Hula Hula

Another example of elliptical movement occurs when a girl plays with the hula hoop, which is a colored plastic hoop, which is rotated around the waist and whose silhouette forms an ellipse.


For their part, boomerangs are objects that when thrown make an elliptical movement, which is facilitated by their shape and the force with which they are thrown. The egg can also be mentioned as an example, whose oval shape allows it to rotate on its own axis and make an elliptical movement.

See also the meaning of Translational motion and /Kepler’s-laws/.

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