Gravitation and the Principle of Superposition

  • Thread starter brendan3eb
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  • #1
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Homework Statement


How far from Earth must a space prove be along a line toward the Sun, so that that the Sun's gravitational pull on the probe balances the Earth's pull


Homework Equations


F=Gm1m2/d^2


The Attempt at a Solution


d1=distance from probe to Earth
distance from sun to earth = 1.50x10^11 m
distance from the sun to probe = 1.5x10^11 m - d1
mass of earth = 5.98x10^24 kg = m2
mass of sun = 1.99x10^30 kg = m3
m1 = mass of probe

I set the force on the probe from earth equal to the force on the probe from the sun to get:
(Gm2m1)/d1^2 = (Gm1m3)/(d1^2-(3.0x10^11)d1+2.25x10^22)

When I solve for d1, I do not get the answer which is 2.6x10^5 Km. It could easily be a math error, but the fact that I have to use such tedious calculations makes me wonder if I am doing the problem correctly, especially as the mass of sun, mass of earth, distance from sun to earth are not given.
(Gm2m1
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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what is that equation you are using for the probe-sun distance?
 
  • #3
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just F=Gm1m2/D^2

I plugged in 1.5x10^11 - d1 into D^2
 
  • #4
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i see. i would suggest you make sure you solve the equation carefully as to not make arithmetic errors. i'm pretty sure that's all this is.
 
  • #5
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just F=Gm1m2/D^2

I plugged in 1.5x10^11 - d1 into D^2
I do not believe that you are using the equations properly.

I suggest using R_1 to represent the distance between the Earth and satellite and R_2 to represent the distance between the Sun and the satellite.

You seem to be using 1 au-d1 to represent something here. But 1au is not the distance between the SATELLITE and anything; it is the distance between the Earth and Sun only.

Do you see what I mean? You should end up with two unknowns.

Casey
 
  • #6
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he's doing it correctly actually. the distance between the sun and the probe can be expressed as a difference of the earth-sun distance and the earth-probe distance.
 
  • #7
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I'll double-check. Thanks for the help fliinghier :)
 
  • #8
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he's doing it correctly actually. the distance between the sun and the probe can be expressed as a difference of the earth-sun distance and the earth-probe distance.
Yes I see now. He is using two unknowns, and he eliminated one of them already.

Kudos! It usually takes me two steps to acomplish what you have done in one! I will keep your method in mind for future problems.

Casey
 

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