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Astronomy - Essay Example

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Every object has certain amount of energy which is the sum total of its kinetic and potential energies. Same way a planet which revolves around sun in fixed orbits also has energies which are the sum of the…
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Orbital Energy and Escape Velo The energy which keeps planets in its orbits is called orbital energy. Every object has certain amount of energy which is the sum total of its kinetic and potential energies. Same way a planet which revolves around sun in fixed orbits also has energies which are the sum of the Kinetic and potential energies. The kinetic energy of a planet is the energy processed by it due to its orbital motion which can be calculated using the formula KE = 1/2 mv2 where ‘m’ is the mass of the planet and ‘v’ is the velocity of the planet. Potential energy for the planet is provided by the gravitational energy which can be calculate 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 towards the sun. So total energy of the planet E = KE +PE =1/2 mv2 - GMm/r (Orbital Energies, Keplers 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)
(Escape Velocity)
Works Cited
1. “Orbital Energies, Keplers Laws and Other Relationships”. 18 September 2009.
2. “Escape Velocity”. 18 September 2009. < http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/vesc.html>Read More
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