Comet orbiting a Star - True and False

  • Thread starter Westin
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  • #1
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Homework Statement



Consider the path of a comet orbiting a star, the system of the comet plus the star. Which of the following statements are correct?

Select all that are True.
1) As the comet slows down, the kinetic energy of the system decreases.
2) As the comet's kinetic energy increases, the gravitational potential energy of the system also increases.
3) External work must be done on the system to speed up the comet.
4) As the kinetic energy of the system increases, the gravitational potential energy of the system decreases.
5) As the comet slows down, energy is lost from the system.
[/B]


Homework Equations


none[/B]


The Attempt at a Solution



1) True (If the speed is decreasing means the KE is decreasing)
2) False (If KE increases, then PE decreases)
3) False (Not sure on this one)
4) True (If KE increases, then PE decreases)
5) True ( If speed is decreasing mean it is losing energy)

This was incorrect. I am not sure why. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.[/B]
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Orodruin
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5) True ( If speed is decreasing mean it is losing energy)
Think about this one for two more seconds.
 
  • #3
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KE would decrease as PE would increase?
 
  • #4
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So it's technically not losing "energy". So it would be false. Is my reasoning correct now?
 
  • #5
Orodruin
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So it's technically not losing "energy". So it would be false. Is my reasoning correct now?
Yes, unless there is an external force, the system energy is conserved. The comet will lose kinetic energy but gain potential.
 
  • #6
andrevdh
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The effect of gravity is taken into consideration by the potential energy of the comet-star system.
That is the total mechanical energy can only be changed if another force, other than gravitational attraction, comes into play.
 
  • #7
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thank you
 

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