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Gravitational Force Problem

  • Thread starter sskk221
  • Start date
  • #1
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Homework Statement



Two asteroids are deep in space, far from any external influences. They each have a mass of 1010kg and are separated by distance L (center to center). They travel in a circular orbit around the center of mass of the system (radius of either orbit: R= 0.5L), under the influence of the force of gravitational attraction between them. If it takes either one of them 1 hr to make a full circle, what is their separation L?

Homework Equations


Possibly:

F = GMm/r^2
Fc = mv^2/r

The Attempt at a Solution



v = 2(pie)*r/(3600) = pie*L/3600

Let F = Fc
mv^2/r = Gmm/r^2
v^2 = Gm/r

r = 0.5L so:
v^2 = Gm/0.5L
I end up getting L = 0.1769m; however, the possible answers are:
A) 675m
B) 121m
C) 1550m
D) 60m
E) 250m

Thanks for the help
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
LowlyPion
Homework Helper
3,090
4
You have 2 different radii.

The radius of rotation is about the center of mass. That is L/2.

The radius of attraction for gravity is L.

That means that

mv2/(L/2) = GM2/L2

v2 = GM/(2*L)
 

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