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Homework Help: Tidal Disruption

  1. Sep 22, 2003 #1
    A comet grazes a planet at a distance R. Show that the planet's tidal force can disrupt the comet is the planet's mean density is greater than that of the comet.

    P--------R-------C

    F=-GMm/r2
    Now my TA advises me to expand this function about r=R using a taylor series. But c'mon, this is an introductory astronomy class. We're not supposed to know Taylor series!
    But even if I do, I get:
    F_g=-GMm/R2+2GMm/R3(dr)
    dr=dist from center of comet
    m=mass of comet
    M=mass of planet

    /\
    |____ Is this even right?

    Then I show that F_t>F_sg
    where F_t=?
    F_sg=self gravity=?
    I'm so utterly confused.
    Please feel free to include a lecture on tidal forces and taylor series! Whatever help you can give would be great!
    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
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