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barycenter

The center of mass of a system of bodies, such as the solar system. When a comet, for example, is well outside the orbit of Neptune (the farthest major planet), it sees the sun and major planets essentially as a single object of summed mass, and the center of this mass (called the barycenter of the solar system) is offset somewhat from the sun; "original" and "future" orbits of long-period comets are computed for this barycenter, while perturbed, osculating orbits of currently-observed objects in the inner solar system are computed for heliocentric orbits.

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Industry/Domain: Earth science Category: Geology

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