# Lab 04_Intro to Kepler's Three Laws_2013.pdf - Rowan...

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Rowan Introduction to AstronomyLab 4/ An Introduction to Kepler’s3 LawsName:________________________________________________Score:__________________________ObjectivesReproducing ellipses via the “string-and-pencil method,” students will draw ellipses and determine their eccentricities.By measuring the orbits of five of Jupiter’smoons, students will test Keple’s third law.By using characteristics of Plutos orbit,students will confirm Kepler’s second law.ProcedureKepler's three laws are simply a mathematical way of describing motions of objects that orbit a large central mass, such as the planetswhich orbit around the Sun or the moons which orbit around Jupiter. This lab explores each of Kepler's three laws.Kepler's First Law[45 pts; you must draw and submittwoellipses to receive credit for this part]Kepler’s first law states thatorbiting objects travel inellipticalpaths with the central mass at one focus. In this section, you will getacquainted with ellipses by sketching one yourself.Steps to draw an ellipse(a)Get two tacks or push pins and a piece of string. On your paper, place the two tacks or pins a small distance apart. Place yourstring loop around the pins. Be sure to leave some slack in the string. Use a piece of cardboard to help secure the pins or tacks.(b)Using the string as a guide (i.e., place the pencil inside the string loop and pull the loop taut), draw an ellipse.[10 pts]Attach your sketch to this lab report.(c)Now measure and write down the distance between the foci and the length of the major axis of the ellipse.[5 pts]distance between foci = _______________ mmlength of major axis = _______________ mm(d) Divide the distance between the foci by the length of the major axis. This quantity is known as the eccentricity, “e.”[5 pts]axismajoroflengthfocibetweendistanceeWhat is the eccentricity of the ellipse you drew?e= _______________ [round to 2 places](e)What familiar shape (it is a conic section) is an ellipse with an eccentricitye= 0.0? ____________________[5 pts]To draw anellipseloop string around thumb tacks ateach focus and stretch string tight with a pencil whilemoving the pencil around the tacks. The Sun is at onefocus.

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