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sample_midterm_solutions

sample_midterm_solutions - 1(6 points 3 for each answer...

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1 . (6 points, 3 for each answer) Planets are easier to detect around low mass stars because a planet with a given mass causes a star with a lower mass to move more quickly than one with a higher mass. This can be seen using the momentum-conservation equation V * = M p V p /M * . As M * decreases, V * must increase, and that makes the changes in the star’s radial velocity easier to observe. Planets with small orbits are easier to detect because they have higher velocities than planets further away. Since V p increases, V * increases, and the star’s radial velocity is then easier to observe. 2 . (4 points): A larger planet blocks more light from the star during transit. The depth of the eclipse tells you what fraction of the star’s light is blocked by the planet, which indicates the relative size of the planet and the star; from this, one can derive their relative radii assuming that both are circular in cross-section. Knowing their relative radii gives the radius of the planet if you know the radius of the star through other means. [The star’s radius can be obtained through stellar models,
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