Solving for Aphelion of a Comet: What am I Doing Wrong?

  • Thread starter Logarythmic
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In summary, the conversation discusses finding the aphelion of a comet with a given perihelion and eccentricity. The formula for finding the aphelion is r_{aph} = a(1+e), with a being equal to (r_{per} + r_{aph})/2. After some calculations, the correct answer for the aphelion is found to be r_{aph} = 4698 AU. It is noted that small variations in e and r_{per} can greatly affect the calculated aphelion.
  • #1
Logarythmic
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It is given that the perihelion for a certain comet is [tex]r_{per} = 0,2301 AU[/tex] and the eccentricity is [tex]e = 0,999846[/tex].
My mission is to find the aphelion.
I know that this is given by

[tex]r_{aph} = a(1+e)[/tex]

And I have used that

[tex]a = \frac{r_{per} + r_{aph}}{2}[/tex]

This gives me

[tex]r_{aph} = \frac{r_{per}(1 + e)}{1-e}[/tex]

and then I get that [tex]r_{aph} = 2988 AU[/tex]. This all seems very simple so what am I doing wrong?

The correct answer should be [tex]r_{aph} = 4698 AU[/tex]
 
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  • #2
Ok, I got it. Small variations in [tex]e[/tex] and [tex]r_{per}[/tex] will give a big difference in the aphelion. ;)
 

Related to Solving for Aphelion of a Comet: What am I Doing Wrong?

1. What is aphelion and why is it important when studying comets?

Aphelion is the point in a comet's orbit where it is farthest from the sun. It is important because it can help determine the comet's orbital period and distance from the sun, which can provide valuable information about its composition and behavior.

2. How is aphelion typically calculated for comets?

Aphelion is typically calculated using the comet's orbital elements, which are a set of numbers that describe its position and movement in space. These elements include the comet's semi-major axis, eccentricity, and inclination, among others.

3. What could be causing errors when solving for aphelion of a comet?

There are several possible sources of error when solving for aphelion of a comet. These can include incorrect or incomplete data, mistakes in calculations, or using an inappropriate formula or method.

4. How can I troubleshoot my calculations when solving for aphelion of a comet?

To troubleshoot your calculations, check your data and make sure it is accurate and complete. Double-check your equations and calculations for any mistakes. You may also want to consult with other scientists or reference materials to confirm your methods and formulas.

5. Are there any tips for accurately solving for aphelion of a comet?

Yes, there are a few tips that can help ensure accurate results when solving for aphelion of a comet. First, make sure to use reliable and up-to-date data. Second, carefully double-check all calculations and equations. And finally, be open to seeking advice or assistance from other scientists or resources if needed.

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