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Eccentricity elliptical orbit

  1. Apr 13, 2013 #1
    ##\mu_{sun} = 132712000000##
    ##\mu_{earth} = 398600##
    ##\mu_{mars} = 42828##
    ##R_{earth} = 149.6\times 10^6##
    ##R_{mars} = 227.9\times 10^6##
    ##r_{earth} = 6378##
    ##r_{mars} = 3396##

    The spacecraft will make 3 rev in 2 earth years. I found the semi-major axis of the ellipse which is
    $$
    a = 1.14162979\times 10^8
    $$
    How can I determine the eccentricity of the ellipse with this information? I have been looking at every formula but can figure it out.

    http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/182/orbit2.png [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2013 #2

    gneill

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    Staff: Mentor

    Please make use of the posting template when you start a thread. This is required.

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    If you know the aphelion distance and the length of the major axis then you can determine the perihelion distance. Having both ra and rp you can determine eccentricity.
     
  4. Apr 14, 2013 #3
    I wasn't thinking thanks.
     
  5. Apr 14, 2013 #4

    I like Serena

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    Homework Helper

    From your drawing the aphelion of the spacecraft is the same as the radius of earth's orbit.
    And the sum of aphelion and perihelion is equal to the length of the major axis.
     
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