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L2 - a Unique Parking Lot in Space Caused by Gravity and Orbital Mechanics

07/03/2010 12:45PM

L2 - a Unique Parking Lot in Space Caused by Gravity and Orbital Mechanics

When you ask an astronomer about the James Webb Space Telescope's orbit, they'll tell you that it won't be orbiting the Earth like Hubble, but instead it will be sent almost a million miles out into space to a place called L2. L2 is short-hand for the second Lagrange Point, a wonderful accident of gravity and orbital mechanics, and the perfect place to park the Webb telescope in space. L2 is an area where gravity from the sun and Earth balance the orbital motion of a satellite. Parking a spacecraft in L2 allows it to stay in a fixed position relative to the Earth and sun with a minimal amount of energy needed for course correction.


  • mcvman [David Kernberger]
  • 07/04/2010 05:32PM
Maybe I am just being too picky here but---is it really posssible for an object to be stationary in relation to both the earth and sun simultaneeously?? Since the earth and sun are in motion relative to each other, I believe any third object could at most be stationery in relation to one or the other--but not both. Or am I missing something here.? if the word "distance" were used instead of "position," I can see that being true. It looks to me like it is the distances amongst the 3 which are constant, or nearly so, not the positions.<br><br>Just my 2 cents worth,<br>Dave K.
Dave,I am waiting for the answer on this one too.

  • crw4096 [Charles Wright]
  • 07/08/2010 06:49AM