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My notes for edX 8.02x "Electricity and Magnetism"

# My notes for edX 8.02x "Electricity and Magnetism"

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My notes, mostly from the lectures. Not 100% is covered, and they are absolutely not a substitute for the lectures themselves.
Also contains (my own) homework and exam solutions.
My notes, mostly from the lectures. Not 100% is covered, and they are absolutely not a substitute for the lectures themselves.
Also contains (my own) homework and exam solutions.

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10/17/2015

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“The average energy ﬂux in the sunlight on the Earth is

S = 1.4·103

W/m2

You might need to use some of the following constants:

Distance from earth to the sun = 150·109

m

REarth = 6.4·106

m

RSun = 7.0·108

m

G = 6.67·10−11

m3

/(kg s2

)

MEarth = 5.97219·1024

kg

MSun = 1.9891·1030

kg

“(a) What force (in N) does the pressure of light exert on the Earth? Assume that all the light striking
the Earth is absorbed.”

We can ﬁnd the radiation pressure by dividing the time-averaged Poynting vector by c:

253

S

c = 1.4·103

3·108 = 4.6667·10−6W/m2

m/s = 4.6667·10−6

Pa

We can then multiply this by a number α, which depends upon whether the radiation goes through (α = 0
for a fully transparent material), is absorbed (α = 1 for 100% absorption) or reﬂected (α = 2 for 100%
reﬂection). In this case, α = 1, so the number above is the one we need.

We then multiply this by the Earth’s cross-sectional area (as if it were a circle, facing the Sun) - I previ-
ously (during the lecture sequence) solved this by integrating it as a cross product, which gave me exactly
the 0.02 N that was marked as correct in that case, but it turned out the correct answer was found using

πR2

, and the answer was then rounded up to 0.02.
Therefore, I’ll use the πR2

method here, of course.

F = pA = 4.666·10−6

·π(6.4·106

)2

≈6.004·108

N

Wow, that’s much more than I would have guessed. Well, the Earth’s radius is huge compared to the
other example of an asteroid with a 100 meter radius, so it makes sense. Not to mention that it goes with

“(b) What is the gravitational force (in N) that the Sun exerts on the Earth? (Think about how that
compares to the force due to the pressure of light. Does your answer make sense?)”

Time for Newton to shine.

Fg = Gm1m2

r2 = 6.67·10−11(5.97219·1024

)(1.9891·1030

)

(150·109

)2

≈3.52155·1022

N

Whoa, that was also larger than I would have expected. Still, it should be way higher than the radiation
pressure, and indeed it is.

254

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