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13.17: Concluding Remarks

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  • Anyone who has done the considerable work of following this chapter in detail is now capable of determining the elements of an elliptic orbit from three observations, if the orbit is an ellipse and if indeed elliptical elements can be obtained from the observations (which is not always the case). No one arriving at this stage would possibly think of himself or herself as an expert in orbit calculations. There is much, much more to be learned, and much of it will come with experience, and be self-taught or picked up from others. There are questions about how to handle more than the requisite three observations, how to correct the elements differentially as new observations become available, how to apply planetary perturbations, how to handle parabolic or hyperbolic orbits. Some of this material may (or may not!) be discussed in future chapters. However, often the most difficult thing is getting started, and calculating one’s very first orbit from the minimum data. It is hoped that this chapter has helped the reader to attain this.

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