While initially believed to have a circular orbit, the orbit of the Earth is actually elliptical. In 365 days, the Earth makes a complete orbit around the sun. During the Earth's one year period, the closet distance the Earth gets to the sun is 147 million km, while the greatest distance is 152 million km.
Amazing But True
- According to Newton's law, every object in the universe attracts every other object with a force that is directly proportional to the square of the distance that separates them. Newton determined that the force between two bodies is given as:
if we rewrite the speed of the orbit in terms of its period we get,
- Learn more about the Earth's elliptical orbit: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/orbv.html
Show What You Know
Using the information provided above, answer the following questions.
- What force is keeping the Earth in orbit around the Sun?
- From the link provided, determine the reduced mass if
m1=4 kgand m2=6 kg.
- If the Earth had a uniform density, how would you expect the force of gravity to change as you get closer and closer to the center of the earth?