1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Velocity of Comet at a given distance

  1. Aug 1, 2016 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Halley’s Comet travels in a highly eccentric (non-circular) orbit. At its closest approach, it is about 9×10^7 km away from the sun and travels with a speed of 54.6 km/s. What is the comet’s speed when it crosses the orbit of Neptune, about 5 billion kilometres from the sun?

    2. Relevant equations

    Conservation of Energy, Ei = Ef

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I have made numerous attempts utilised conservation of energy because I don't see why we would need to bring angular momentum into it (given that we're not told that 5 billion km is the apopasis and therefore cant reduce it to mvr), why does my conservation of energy equation give me an answer of 8.3 km/s when the answer should be 0.8 km/s? Any help would be much appreciated. Whenever I insert the provided answer into the conversation of energy formula, it just doesnt work out.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2016 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    We might be better able to find errors in your work if you were to show your work. Set angular momentum to one side and show us one attempt at a conservation of energy approach.
  4. Aug 1, 2016 #3


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    You are right, conservation of energy should work. I got nearly the same result as you.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted