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The Center of Mass for a Binary System

The Center of Mass for a Binary System - The Center of Mass...

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The Center of Mass for a Binary System If you think about it a moment, it may seem a little strange that in Kepler's Laws the Sun is fixed at a point in space and the planet revolves around it. Why is the Sun privileged? Kepler had rather mystical ideas about the Sun, endowing it with almost god-like qualities that justified its special place. However Newton, largely as a corollary of his 3rd Law, demonstrated that the situation actually was more symmetrical than Kepler imagined and that the Sun does not occupy a privileged postion; in the process he modified Kepler's 3rd Law. Consider the diagram shown to the right. We may define a point called the center of mass between two objects through the equations where R is the total separation between the centers of the two objects. The center of mass is familiar to anyone who has ever played on a see-saw. The fulcrum point at which the see-saw will exactly balance two people sitting on either end is the center of mass for the two persons sitting
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