Difference Between Orbit vs Revolution

Difference Between Orbit vs Revolution

If you’ve had primary education, chances are you’ve come across these two words: orbit and revolution. Especially if you didn’t skip your science class. In no particular context do the two words have the same meaning and can be used interchangeably. But when you look beyond the surface, you tend to wonder what is the difference between orbit and revolution?

Depending on the basic subject matter, one of these words can have very different interpretations. For example, when we talk about the greatest revolution in the history of the United States, what automatically comes to mind is a tendency towards politics and the forcible overthrow of a government.

However, when you talk to a mechanical engineer about revolutions, what comes to mind would be the swaying of one piece of machinery from its starting point around another piece. As for the word “orbit”, no matter what context it is used in, it will always have a similar meaning – concerning the drift of one mass around another mass.

Definition of Orbit

Although all definitions converge towards the same basic idea, the definition of the orbit is slightly different from one expert to another. Some say that a mass revolves around another mass as it oscillates around it, with the same side facing the mass on which it revolves during the entire trip. This is the case, for example, with the moon that revolves around the Earth.

Others would define it as the curved path of one object relative to another, under the influence of gravitational forces. However, for the sake of simplicity, I would say orbit is the non-stop path that a celestial mass takes as it rotates around another oval-shaped mass. Bodies in orbit around other bodies are called satellites. Satellites can be natural or artificial.

Definition of Revolution

When talking about the definition of revolution with respect to celestial masses, revolution is the oscillation of a mass around another body about its axis. A perfect connotation of this is the rotation of the earth and other planets around the sun.

Main Differences Between Orbit vs Revolution

In the table below you will see some distinct differences that will help you understand the fundamental differences between orbit and revolution.

Basis of ComparisonOrbitRevolution
Definition It is defined as the non-stop oval path taken by one celestial mass around another. Defined as the oscillation of one celestial mass around another around its axis.
Shape of movement They come in different shapes, but all shapes are oval. The mass that performs the gyration is usually always in a circular motion around the other mass.
Change in position There is not necessarily an alteration in the position of the mass as it follows a well-defined path. There is usually a change in the position of the rotating mass.

Difference Between Orbit and Revolution: Conclusion

We hope that with the little information provided in this article on the vs between both terms, when you’re asked ‘what is the difference between orbit and revolution’ you will be able to indicate the difference.