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HW1

HW1

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Published by Colleen Lanz

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Published by: Colleen Lanz on Jun 15, 2012
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Colleen LanzDue January 30, 2012HW #11.
Celestial sphere exercises.
(a) List the right ascension and declination of the Sun when it is located at the vernal equinox, the summersolstice, the autumnal equinox, and the winter solstice.
Solution.
From figure 1.11,right ascension (hr) declination (deg)vernal equinox 0 0summer solstice 6 23
.
5autumnal equinox 12 0winter solstice 18
23
.
5(b) Raleigh’s latitude is about 35
. Calculate the altitude of the Sun along the meridian on the first day of summer and on the first day of winter.
Solution.
Recall that the first day of summer is known as the Summer solstice, and the sun is 23
.
5
north of the equator. Then, the summer solstice’s sun has an altitude of (90
35)+23
.
5 = 78
.
5
north.The first day of winter is the Winter solstice and the sun is 23
.
5
south of the equator so the altitudeof the sun on this day is (90
35)
23
.
5 = 26
.
5
north.(c) If we can observe as close to the horizon as 10
, what range of declinations is accessible? What rangeof declinations must an object have if it is never to set below the horizon?
Solution.
We know that the equator has a latitude of 0
. The closest object we can see to our horizonwould be the north celestial pole. As we traverse northward, the NCP moves higher and higher inthe sky. Its declination is 90
. Now, since we have 10
minimum altitude, we have a range of 80
declination. In Raleigh, we can see all celestial objects within 90
35
= 55
. But since we have aminimum altitude of 10
, the circumpolar stars must stay within80
35
= 45
.
(d) At what latitude(s) on Earth will the Sun never set when it is summer solstice? Is there any latitudeon Earth where the Sun will never set when it is at vernal equinox? If so, where?
Solution.
On the summer solstice, the sun never sets on latitudes of 90
23
.
5
= 66
.
5
. On thevernal equinox, all points on earth have a sunset at some point (with the exception of the north andsouth pole).1
 
(e) The third quarter moon is transiting. What time is it (approximately)?
Solution.
On January 31, the sunrise in Raleigh occurs at 7:16 am.(f) Estimate the sidereal time at the beginning of class on the day this problem set is due.
Solution.
Assuming that this is due in Raleigh on January 30, 2012 at 1:30 pm, we know that theUT = EST + 5 so the UT is given by January 30, 2012 at 18:30. Then, using the method found on
http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/GAST.php
, we will use the fact that the sidereal time is given bytime
280
.
461 + 360
.
9856473
D,
where
D
is the number of days since January 1, 2000 at noon. Let us first find
D
:
D
= 12 years
365
.
25 days1 y
+ 29 days + 6 h
1 d24 h
+ 30 min
1 h60 min
1 d24 h
= 4412
.
27
.
Then, plugging this in to find the time we get that the time istime = 1
.
59305
×
10
6
so that, dividing out multiples of 360,time360= 4425
.
13
.
Let us now find what fraction of the day is .13:
.
13
×
360
= 46
.
9041
. We now subtract Raleigh’slongitude (78
.
64
) and add a multiple of 360
to make the value positive:46
.
9041
78
.
64
+ 360
= 328
.
264
.
Then, converting this degree measurement into hours:24 h360
=
x
h328
.
264
so that
x
h = 21
.
8843 h which converts to21 h
,
53 min
,
3
.
48 s
.
2
 
2.
Comet Halley.
Halley’s comet has an orbital period of 76 yr and an orbital eccentricity of 
e
= 0
.
9673
.
(a) What is the semimajor axis of Comet Halley’s orbit?
Solution.
From Kepler’s third law,
2
=
a
3
a
=
23
= 17
.
9422 AU
.
(b) Estimate the mass of the Sun.
Solution.
Assuming the mass of Halley’s comet is insignificant compared to the sun, using (2.37) with
m
2
0 and
m
1
=
, with
G
= 6
.
67428
×
10
11
N m
2
kg
2
a
= 17
.
9422
AU 
1
.
4959787
×
10
11
m1 AU
= 2
.
68411
×
10
12
m
= 76 year = 2
.
396736
×
10
9
sThen,
=4
π
2
a
3
GP 
2
1
.
99248
×
10
30
kgwhich has a .1699% error from the accepted value of 
= 1
.
9891
×
10
30
kg.(c) Calculate the distance of Comet Halley from the Sun at perihelion and aphelion.
Solution.
Recall that the perihelion is the point on the orbit closest to the principle focus and theaphelion is the farthest from the focus. We will use (2.3) with
θ
 p
= 0
=
cos
θ
 p
= 1 for theperihelion and
θ
a
= 180
=
cos
θ
a
=
1 for the aphelion. Then, at perihelion,
r
 p
=
a
(1 +
e
)(1
e
)1 +
e
cos
θ
 p
=
a
(1
e
) = 0
.
58671 AUand at the aphelion,
r
a
=
a
(1 +
e
)(1
e
)1 +
e
cos
θ
a
=
a
(1 +
e
) = 35
.
2977 AU
.
3

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