Physics 341: Problem Set #3
due September 30
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.
1. For this problem you can use my
orbitps03
spreadsheet, or you can write your own
program. You can download an Excel version of the spreadsheet from
http://www.physics.rutgers.edu/ugrad/341/orbitps03.xls
To use the spreadsheet, you will need to edit the ﬁelds that are shaded yellow.
(a) For this problem we will use natural units for the solar system, measuring lengths
in AU and time in years. Use Newton’s precise version of Kepler’s Third Law to
show that
GM
±
= 4
π
2
AU
3
yr

2
. This value is ﬁxed in the spreadsheet (cell B3).
(b) We will compute the orbit of Eris, the infamous “tenth planet” that caused Pluto
to be demoted to “dwarf planet” status. Eris (also called 2003 UB
313
in the
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 Fall '08
 Keeton
 Physics, Energy, Work, supermassive black hole, Eris, speciﬁc total energy

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