Friday, August 17, 2012

Angular Momentum - Definition

Angular Momentum

A quantity obtained by multiplying the mass of an orbiting body by its velocity and the radius of its orbit. According to the conservation laws of physics, the angular momentum of any orbiting body must remain constant at all points in the orbit, i.e., it cannot be created or destroyed.

If the orbit is elliptical the radius will vary. Since the mass is constant, the velocity changes. Thus planets in elliptical orbits travel faster at perihelion and more slowly at aphelion. A spinning body also possesses spin angular momentum.

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