Physics 341: Problem Set #2
due September 23
You are encouraged to work in groups on these problems, but each student must write up
the solutions individually. You must also list your collaborators on your solutions, and cite
any external sources you used (other than the course notes or textbook).
I will give partial credit for partial answers, but only if you show your work and explain your
reasoning. Be careful with units. Don’t neglect problems 3 and 4 (on the back)!
1. We showed that for circular orbits, Kepler’s Third Law can be written as
P
2
=
4
π
2
GM
r
3
where
M
is the mass of the central object.
(a) Use this expression and a Taylor expansion to derive the following approximation
for the orbital period of a satellite in “low Earth orbit”, with a constant height
h
above the surface of the Earth, assuming that
h
R
⊕
:
P
≈
P
0
1 +
3
h
2
R
⊕
(b) What is the constant
P
0
(in symbols), and what is its value (in minutes)?
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 Fall '08
 Keeton
 Physics, Solar System, Energy, Work, The Land, Planet, Hubble Space Telescope

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