ASTRO-WIA-3

ASTRO-WIA-3 - Astronomy Assignment #3 Due week of 2/8 -...

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Due week of 2/8 - 2/12 Please write neatly and show all work Question 1: Elliptical Orbits As Prof. Helfand explained in lecture, planetary orbits are actually ellipses. We compare an ellipse to a perfect circle by stating its eccentricity – a measure of how far from circular it is. Eccentricity is denoted by the letter e and can vary between 0 and 1 (e.g., the Moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical orbit with e = 0.05). This means that there will be a point in the Moon’s orbit when it is closest to the Earth and a point when it is farthest away. We call these points pericenter and apocenter , respectively. Due to its orbital eccentricity, the moon will actually be brighter and appear larger to us when it is at its pericenter as compared to apocenter. A) How much brighter will the full moon appear if it occurs at pericenter versus apocenter? (HINT: Refer to Prof. Helfand’s first lecture for the definition of brightness via the inverse square law. You do not need to know the actual brightness, this is just a comparison.) SUN Mass = 1.99 x 10 30 kg Diameter = 1.39 x 10 6 km EARTH Mass = 5.97 x 10 24 kg Diameter = 12756 km MOON Mass = 7.35 x 10 22 kg Diameter = 3476 km
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ASTRO-WIA-3 - Astronomy Assignment #3 Due week of 2/8 -...

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