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Mass of planet, given only Earth's mass? 
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#1
Apr1507, 03:11 AM

P: 32

This is a past paper exam question:
1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data One of the moons of Saturn is in an orbit which has approximately the same radius as that of the Earth's moon. Given that the speed of the saturn moon is ten times the speed of the Earth's moon, calculate a value for the mass of Saturn. (Mass of the Earth=6x10^24kg) 2. Relevant equations GmmE/r^2=mv^2/r 3. The attempt at a solution Mass of earth=6x10^24 r satmoon=r earthmoon v satmoon=v earthmoon/10 I did try this, but it's obviously wrong: tau^2=4pi^2r^3/Gme G=(6.67x10^11) me=(6x120^24) period of revolution of the moon=24hrs hence (24)^2=4pir^3/4x10^14 576=4pi r^3 144=pir^3 even without going further, you can tell that it's going to be faaar too small to represent the radius of the moon. Without being given anything else do you need to memorise the radius of the moon's orbit for the exam? I can't really see any other way! I'm stumped...please help! 


#2
Apr1507, 07:07 AM

Mentor
P: 41,454

You don't need to know the radius of the moon's orbit. Since both Earth and Saturn moons have the same orbital radius, treat that radius as a constant.
How does planetary mass affect the moon's speed? Hint: Set up a ratio, using this equation (generalize it for any planet, of course): 


#3
Apr1907, 12:26 AM

P: 32

Thanks so much for your help. I went back and tried it again:
if v=(sqrt)Gme/r, then set up ratio: 10(sqrtGmearth/r)= sqrt Gmsaturn Remove r as it is a a constant This gives us 10(sqrt G.mearth)=G.msaturn Remove G as it is another constant. 10(sqrt mearth)=sqrt msaturn 10 (sqrt 6x10^24=sqrt msaturn 2.45x10^13=sqrt msaturn (square both sides) (2.45x10^13)^2=msaturn=6x10^26 therefore mass of saturn=6x10^26. Yay or nay? 


#4
Apr1907, 12:29 AM

Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 1,542

Mass of planet, given only Earth's mass?
Wikipedia says: Yay!
Don't forget your units. 


#5
Apr1907, 02:33 AM

P: 32

Hm... 6x10^24mg? Just kidding.
6x1^24kg it is then! 


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