Basic Physics Question on Vectors

In summary: If the orbit of Venus had a larger radius than the orbit of Earth, then the maximum angular separation would be 180 degrees.
  • #1
So I was given this on a recent physics problem.

http://prntscr.com/5s8u0u

I understand vectors completely, I just don't know where to start. Specifically where it mentions maximum angular separation am I confused. Any type of hints/assistance is appreciated.
 
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  • #2
If the orbit of Venus had a larger radius than the orbit of Earth, then the maximum angular separation would be 180 degrees.
Draw the orbit of Venus. Imagine Earth as being in a fixed position with Venus going around it's orbit. When would the angle (as measured from Earth) between the sun (the center of orbit) and Venus be the largest?
It's difficult for me to explain without a picture, but hopefully this helps.

P.S.
Next time it would be helpful if you just copied the problem over here instead of providing a link.
(Some helpful people may skip your problem if they see just a link.)
 
  • #3
It would be 0 degrees would it not? You would basically have the vector running from Earth, through the sun, and then to Venus. At least that's how I imagine it.

Also, sorry for posting this question in the wrong sub-forum.
 
  • #4
When Venus is directly behind or directly in front of the sun (as viewed from Earth) then the angular separation would be zero degrees, but that is not the maximum. I suggest drawing a picture of the orbits.
 
  • #5
The problem is poorly posed. I think that they want you to place the Earth as the center of your coordinate system, and place the sun along the + x axis. Then, I think they want you to move Venus to various locations in its orbit around the sun and draw the line from the Earth to Venus. Depending on where Venus is placed, the line makes an angle with the x axis. They want you to focus on when the angle is maximum. At least that's my spin.

Chet
 

1. What is a vector in physics?

A vector in physics is a quantity that has both magnitude and direction. It is represented by an arrow with the length of the arrow indicating the magnitude and the direction of the arrow indicating the direction.

2. How is the magnitude of a vector determined?

The magnitude of a vector is determined by using the Pythagorean theorem, which states that the square of the hypotenuse (longest side) of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. In other words, the magnitude of a vector is the square root of the sum of the squares of its components.

3. Can two vectors with the same magnitude and direction be added together?

No, two vectors with the same magnitude and direction cannot be added together. When adding vectors, both magnitude and direction must be taken into account, so two vectors with the same magnitude but different directions will result in a different vector.

4. What is the difference between a scalar and a vector?

A scalar is a quantity that has only magnitude, while a vector has both magnitude and direction. Examples of scalars include temperature, mass, and time, while examples of vectors include velocity, force, and displacement.

5. How can vectors be represented mathematically?

Vectors can be represented mathematically using vector notation, which includes a magnitude and a direction. This can be written as a column matrix with the magnitude in the first row and the direction in the second row, or as a single letter with an arrow on top, such as v →.

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