Astronomy 3 - is 150 million kilometers from Earth Once you...

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February 14 th , 2008 Astronomy 101 Professor Orosz Homework Question #3 How is the mass of the sun determined? How can you measure something that is so far away from you? It is difficult to find a measurement for something without physically measuring it. Thanks to Johannes Kepler and his work in the 17 th century we can determine an object’s distance and size. From his work we could calculate the distance of an object by the size of the shift of its position relative to its background. This shift is known as a parallax and it must be seen from two viewing points. Using the parallax shift to measure we have found that the sun
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Unformatted text preview: is 150 million kilometers from Earth. Once you know the distance from Earth to the sun it is easy to find the sun’s mass. Newton’s third law explains how there is a gravitational force between two objects. The distance between the two objects explains the mass that is necessary for one object to keep the second object at a constant orbital speed. The sun’s mass is about 333,000 times the mass of Earth. By using Kepler’s and Newton’s discoveries we can find the mass of just about anything....
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