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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

    jbriggs444

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    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

    ehild

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    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You are right, conservation of energy should work. I got nearly the same result as you.
     
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