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Orbital Energy and Escape Velocity - Essay Example

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The author of the essay entitled "Orbital Energy and Escape Velocity" states that The energy which keeps planets in its orbits is called orbital energy. Every object has a certain amount of energy which is the sum total of its kinetic and potential energies…
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Orbital Energy and Escape Velocity
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Potential energy for the planet is provided by the gravitational energy which can be calculated using the formula PE = - GMm/r where ‘G’ is the gravitational constant, ‘M’ is the mass of sun, ‘m’ is the mass of the planet and ‘r’ is the distance of the orbiting planet from the central object sun. The negative sign of PE indicates that the planet is attracted to the sun. So the total energy of the planet E = KE +PE =1/2 mv2 - GMm/r (Orbital Energies, Kepler's Laws and Other Relationships)
Escape velocity is defined as the minimum velocity; an object must possess in order to escape from the gravitational field of the earth, without ever falling back. In other words, if the kinetic energy of an object thrown upwards equals its potential energy, then it can escape from the earth in the absence of frictional force. For such an object,
1/2 mv2 = GMm/R (KE=PE) or v = sqrt (2GM/R)
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