# What is the radius of a geosynchronous satellite?

• warfreak131
In summary, the conversation discusses finding the radius of a geosynchronous satellite orbiting the Earth using the formula T=2π√(R^3/GM) and given constants for the universal gravitational constant, Earth mass, and Earth radius. The correct answer is 4.23×10^7 m, but one individual initially gets a different answer due to incorrect order of operations when calculating. The conversation also mentions the importance of using parentheses in calculator inputs.
warfreak131

## Homework Statement

Find the radius R of the orbit of a geosynchronous satellite that circles the earth. (Note that R is measured from the center of the earth, not the surface.) You may use the following constants:

* The universal gravitational constant G is $$6.67 \times 10^{-11}\;{\rm N \; m^2 / kg^2}$$.
* The mass of the Earth is $$5.98 \times 10^{24}\;{\rm kg}$$.
* The radius of the Earth is $$6.38 \times 10^{6}\;{\rm m}$$.The correct answer is $$4.23\times10^7\;{\rm m}$$, but I get a different answer.

## Homework Equations

$$T=2\pi\sqrt{\frac{R^3}{GM}}$$

## The Attempt at a Solution

Since T is measured in seconds, and there are 86,400 seconds in a day, some simple algebra gives me the answer of 1,994,400,816 m. What am I doing wrong?

The formula is correct, do your calculation again. Use the normal form of the numbers.

ehild

what is the "normal form" for these numbers?

EDIT: I did the calculation a different way, and I got the right answer, but the only thing I did differently was the order that I did the algebra in. I don't know where my error lies.

I normally did:

$$\frac{86400\times\sqrt{GM}}{2\pi}=\sqrt{R^3}$$

and solve for R, but instead, this time I did:

$$86400^2=4{\pi^2}\frac{R^3}{GM}$$
$$\frac{86400^2\times{GM}}{4{\pi^2}}=R^3$$

and it worked... what did i do wrong the first time?

if you square the first equation, you get the same thing...2nd edit, nevermind, i know what I did wrong.

this has been a nice lesson for me in making sure I properly place parenthesis in a calculator to ensure teh correct order of operations. because $$x/2\pi$$ is not interpreted as $$x/(2\pi)$$, but instead as $$\frac{x}{2}\pi$$

Last edited:
warfreak131 said:
this has been a nice lesson for me in making sure I properly place parenthesis in a calculator to ensure teh correct order of operations. because $$x/2\pi$$ is not interpreted as $$x/(2\pi)$$, but instead as $$\frac{x}{2}\pi$$

Never forget the parentheses in the denominator!

ehild

No idea why radius of a satellite should depend on the Earth mass.

## 1. What is a geosynchronous satellite?

A geosynchronous satellite is a type of satellite that orbits the Earth at the same rate as the Earth's rotation, allowing it to maintain a fixed position over a specific location on the Earth's surface.

## 2. How does a geosynchronous satellite stay in orbit?

A geosynchronous satellite stays in orbit by constantly moving at the same speed and direction as the Earth's rotation. This is called a "synchronous" orbit.

## 3. What is the purpose of a geosynchronous satellite?

Geosynchronous satellites have a variety of purposes, such as telecommunications, weather monitoring, and navigation. They can also be used for military and scientific purposes.

## 4. How high is the orbit of a geosynchronous satellite?

The orbit of a geosynchronous satellite is approximately 35,786 kilometers (22,236 miles) above the Earth's surface.

## 5. Why is the radius of a geosynchronous satellite important?

The radius of a geosynchronous satellite is important because it determines the distance between the satellite and the Earth's surface. This distance is crucial for maintaining a stable orbit and ensuring the satellite's functions are not affected by external forces.

• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
5
Views
2K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
4
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
1
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
4
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
11
Views
2K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
5
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
15
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
3
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
6
Views
1K
• Introductory Physics Homework Help
Replies
7
Views
2K