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Orbital is a planetary orbit simulator for Mac OS X. It's designed for beginning physics and astronomy classes, but is also strangely fun to play with. The simulation uses an approximation of Newtonian gravity, which, while not accurate enough for planning your next shuttle launch, is plenty accurate for most other uses.


Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later

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Orbital User Discussion

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Ian_jr Member IconComment+10

It is pretty neat and is pleasant to watch too...

But I am a little confused by the data input format. Above the mass field it shows "Mass
(100 kg)" So, for the sun do input 1.989e+30 Kg/100 = 1.989e+28 Kg? In that case if we assume the earth is moving at about 29 Km/sec and is on the X axis we should input (29/10000) Km/sec in the Y field? Or are the parenthetic text only suggestions and full scale parameters should be entered?

Because this does not seem very intuitive to me, my only real suggestion is that It would be nice if this was explained in the Read Me.

Thanks for a fun application.



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Version 1.0.2
Iceland_Gyrfalcon Member IconReview+0

This app is the reason I have an A in Physics class right now.

It not only is educational, but it is intriguingly fun as well.

The app runs smoothly on my PowerPC running 10.3.9 and Intel Machine running 10.4.6

This is probably one of my top 10 favorite Apps, Thank you Señor Developer.

-When you close the window without quitting the app, you cannot open a new window without restarting the app.
-It'd be nice to have more preferences such as: bounce planets off screen edge, save default planet size/mass, and any other small customizable stuffs.
-It'd be cool if it was a Universal Binary.

Thanks Again!

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Version 1.0.2
Geoff Pado Member IconComment+0
Geoff Pado

This is a great program. I've watched it's development from the beginning. Good job David!

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Version 1.0.2
Hammergirl Member IconReview+0

What a fun program. It was helpful to see what the developer's friends had managed to do too. that means we can do it too. I am going to attach it to a smart board to see what my students do with it. I will let you know if it works.

Do you have one for windows too? (I love macs but smart board software works better on windows so I am stuck using windows.) I will have to run a temporary feed from my mac to the smart board to try this test of orbits. It is worth it though.

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Version 1.0.2
David Smith (Developer)

No Windows version yet. I'm working on one, but it's not a high priority (and will require some additional software to run. it's more of an experiment to see if it's possible). Please feel free to send me feedback.

There are no Ratings for this App yet.
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Current Version (1.x)


Downloads 4,615
Version Downloads 3,073
License Free
Date 13 Dec 2003
Platform OS X / PPC 32
Price Free
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