# Escape velocity of solar system

• purpleperson1717
In summary: I guess it could be. What I wrote is the exact wording of the question but I don't think it was a very good typo.
purpleperson1717
Homework Statement
Calculate the escape velocity of our solar system.
Relevant Equations
v=√(2GM/r)
I'm pretty confused by this but I have a few thoughts. Since the sun takes up most of the mass of the solar system, I was thinking maybe I'm really looking for the escape velocity of the sun? So I would use the mass of the sun for M and the radius of the sun for r. My other thought was to add up the masses of all the planets for M and use the radius of the solar system for r, but I'm not sure that makes as much sense because each planet has its own gravitational field. Any help would be appreciated!

purpleperson1717 said:
Homework Statement:: Calculate the escape velocity of our solar system.
Relevant Equations:: v=√(2GM/r)

I'm pretty confused by this but I have a few thoughts. Since the sun takes up most of the mass of the solar system, I was thinking maybe I'm really looking for the escape velocity of the sun? So I would use the mass of the sun for M and the radius of the sun for r. My other thought was to add up the masses of all the planets for M and use the radius of the solar system for r, but I'm not sure that makes as much sense because each planet has its own gravitational field. Any help would be appreciated!
In terms of mass, you could use the mass of the Sun as a first step. You need to decide on your starting point. The surface of the Sun doesn't seem like a suitable point from a practical perspective.

There is no such thing as the escape velocity of the solar system. Escape velocity is a velocity related to a celestial body that is required to escape to infinity from its surface. The solar system as such does not have a surface. How fast you need to go to escape depends on where you are.

Orodruin said:
There is no such thing as the escape velocity of the solar system. Escape velocity is a velocity related to a celestial body that is required to escape to infinity from its surface. The solar system as such does not have a surface. How fast you need to go to escape depends on where you are.
So you mean there is no answer?

PeroK said:
In terms of mass, you could use the mass of the Sun as a first step. You need to decide on your starting point. The surface of the Sun doesn't seem like a suitable point from a practical perspective.
So if I pick a point within the Sun's gravitational field, then I could use that r and the mass of the Sun?

purpleperson1717 said:
So if I pick a point within the Sun's gravitational field, then I could use that r and the mass of the Sun?
Yes, why not?

PeroK said:
Yes, why not?
That’s the escape velocity of the Sun. Not the solar system. The solar system has no surface and therefore no unique escape velocity. You can of course define an escape velocity from the solar system at some point, but that does not define the escape velocity.

Orodruin said:
That’s the escape velocity of the Sun. Not the solar system. The solar system has no surface and therefore no unique escape velocity. You can of course define an escape velocity from the solar system at some point, but that does not define the escape velocity.
I'll bet you submitted some argumentative solutions when you were a student!

PeroK said:
I'll bet you submitted some argumentative solutions when you were a student!
I did as a matter of fact. I particularly remember an exam in mechanics where the examiner asked for the angular frequency of small oscillatioms around an equilibrium. The equilibrium was unstable so everyone else got imaginary frequencies. I argued the equilibrium was unstable and explained how fast the system would move away, then found the (much less trivial) stable equilibrium and found the frequency for small oscillations around that one. It is the only exam I got higher than 100% score … :P

Last edited:
SammyS and PeroK
Orodruin said:
That’s the escape velocity of the Sun. Not the solar system. The solar system has no surface and therefore no unique escape velocity. You can of course define an escape velocity from the solar system at some point, but that does not define the escape velocity.
I agree with what you’re saying, which is why I was so confused about the question. I think I’ll include that reasoning in my solution along with my calculation of the escape velocity of the sun. Thanks!

PeroK
purpleperson1717 said:
Homework Statement:: Calculate the escape velocity of our solar system.
Could this be a typo, "of" being incorrect and "from" being correct?

kuruman said:
Could this be a typo, "of" being incorrect and "from" being correct?

I guess it could be. What I wrote is the exact wording of the question but I don't think it was a very good question.

## 1. What is escape velocity of the solar system?

The escape velocity of the solar system is the minimum speed that an object needs to reach in order to escape the gravitational pull of the sun. It is a measure of the strength of the sun's gravity and is affected by the mass and distance of the object from the sun.

## 2. How is escape velocity of the solar system calculated?

The escape velocity of the solar system can be calculated using the formula: Ve = √(2GM/R), where Ve is the escape velocity, G is the gravitational constant, M is the mass of the sun, and R is the distance between the object and the sun.

## 3. What is the escape velocity of the Earth in the solar system?

The escape velocity of the Earth in the solar system is approximately 11.2 kilometers per second. This means that any object traveling at this speed or faster can escape the Earth's gravitational pull and enter into orbit around the sun.

## 4. Can escape velocity vary within the solar system?

Yes, the escape velocity can vary within the solar system depending on the distance from the sun and the mass of the object. For example, the escape velocity on Mercury is much lower than that of Earth due to its smaller mass and closer proximity to the sun.

## 5. What is the significance of escape velocity in space travel?

Escape velocity is an important factor in space travel as it determines the minimum speed required for a spacecraft to break free from the gravitational pull of a celestial body, such as a planet or moon. It is also used to calculate the amount of fuel needed for a spacecraft to escape a planet's gravity and reach its desired destination.

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