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You are on page 1of 13

1. Taylor 8.12

a) By examining the eective potential energy (8.32) find the radius at which a planet (or

comet) with angular momentum ` can orbit the sun in a circular orbit with fixed radius. (b)

Show that this circular orbit is stable, in the sense that a small radial nudge will cause only

small radial oscillations. Show that the period of these oscillations is equal to the planets

orbital period.

`2

Ue = +

r 2r2

The planet can orbit at a fixed radius only if there is no force in the radial direction. This

corresponds to the derivative of the eective potential with respect to the radial coordinate

being zero, i.e., the planet is at an extremum of the potential. Taking that derivative and

solving for this equilibrium radius, which we will call r0 , we get

0=

r0 =

`2

dUe

dr r=r0

`2

0= 2 3

r0 r0

`2

0 = r0

b) For the orbit to be stable, the planet must be at a minimum of the potential. Therefore

the second derivative must be positive, or

0<

d2 Ue

dr2 r=r0

`2

0 < 2 3 + 3 4

r0

r0

1

`2

0 < 4 2 r0 + 3

r0

2

1`

0< 4

r0

where we used the expression for r0 in the last step. Indeed we see that this is positive

since the reduced mass must be positive.

Page 2

From

the chapter on oscillations, we know that the frequency of oscillations is given by

! = k where k is the second derivative of the potential. We can write this as

12

1 `2

! = 4 2

r0

1 `

= 2

r0

To show that the orbital period is equal to the period of these oscillations, it is equivalent

to show that the angular velocity is equal to this frequency. As we have circular motion,

we can write

Fgrav = !02 r0

r02

Eliminating

= !02 r0

!02 =

1

r03

!02 =

`2

2 r04

Page 3

2. Taylor 8.13 Two particles whose reduced mass is interact via a potential energy U = 12 kr2 ,

where r is the distance between them. (a) Make a sketch showing U (r), the centrifugal potential energy Ucf (r), and the eective potential energy Ue (r). (Treat the angular momentum `

as a known, fixed constant.) (b) Find the equilibrium separation r0 , the distance at which

the two particles can circle each other with constant r. [Hint: This requires that dUe dr

be zero.] (c) By making a Taylor expansion of Ue (r) about the equilibrium point r0 and

neglecting all terms in (r r0 )3 and higher, find the frequency of small oscillations about the

circular orbit if the particles are disturbed a little from the separation r0 .

a) For two particles that interact via potential energy U = 12 kr2 , from equation (8.28) in

Taylor we have the centrifugal potential energy is

Ucf (r) =

`2

2r2

(1)

where ` is the angular momentum of the system and is the reduced mass. The eective

potential energy is given by

Ue (r) = U (r) + Ucf (r)

1

`2

= kr2 +

2

2r2

(2)

b) In the central force problem, we assume we set the particles initially with r = 0, and so

they remain at a constant radius as long as r = 0. From equation (8.29) in Taylor, we have

r=

dUe

dr

(3)

Page 4

We can solve

dUe

`2

= kr0 + 3 = 0

dr r=r0

r0

`2 14

r0 =

k

(4)

c) We can Taylor expand the eective potential about this equilibrium point

1

Ue (r) = Ue (r0 ) + Ue

(r0 )(r r0 ) + U e (r0 )(r r0 )2 + O((r r0 )3 )

2

(5)

The second term vanishes due to the definition of r0 being the equilibrium point. The first

term is just a constant. A oset in the potential has no eect on the dynamics since we

can always redefine the zero energy point to remove it. We can evaluate Ue

(r0 ) as

Ue

dUe

d[kr `2 r3 ]

=

=

= k + 3`2 r4

dr

dr

Ue

(r)r=r0 = k + 3`2 r04

Ue

(r)r=r0 = k + 3(`2 )(k`2 ) = 4k

(6)

Therefore we see that the eective potential has the correct form for periodic oscillations

when (r r0 ) is small, i.e., Ue (r) = 12 k (r r0 )2 , where k = 4k. From the machinery built

up in the oscillations chapter, we can write the frequency of a particle of mass m in a

potential with eective spring constant k is given by

k

!=

(7)

m

In our case m is the reduced mass , and k = U e (r0 ) = 4k. Therefore we have

!=

4k

Page 5

3. Taylor 8.17

If you did Problem 4.41 you met the virial theorem for a circular orbit of a particle in a central

force with U = krn . Here is a more general form of the theorem that applies to any periodic

orbit of a particle. (a) Find the time derivative of the quantity G = r p and, by integrating

from time 0 to t, show that

G(t) G(0)

= 2 T + F r

t

where F is the net force on the particle and f denotes the average over time of any quantity

f . (b) Explain why, if the particles orbit is periodic and if we make t sufficiently large, we can

make the left-hand side of this equation as small as we please. That is, the left side approaches

zero as t . (c) Use this result to prove that if F comes from the potential energy U = krn ,

then T = n U 2, if now f denotes the time average over a very long time.

a) First, we can dierentiate the quantity G to get

dG

= r p + r p

dt

= mr r + r F

= 2T + r F

G(t) G(0)

= 2 T + F r

t

as integration on the right hand side is linear, and we used the fundamental theorem of

calculus (or a special case of the generalized Stokess theorem) on the right hand side.

r(t) < for all t, i.e. r

is always finite. Further, as Newtons laws give second order dierential equations for the

coordinates, our solutions must be twice dierentiable. Therefore r can never diverge for

finite r, and p must be finite for all t. Therefore G(t) < for all t.

These somewhat formal arguments allow us claim that in the limit as t , the left hand

side of the above equation goes like K 0 as we just argued K is finite (or it could be

zero).

c) Applying this limit to the equation derived in part a), we can solve to get

1

T = F r

2

r = nkrn1 r. Therefore F r = nkrn = nU .

We can put it all together and write

T =

n

U

2

Page 6

4. Taylor 8.18

An earth satellite is observed at perigee to be 250 km above the earths

surface and traveling at about 8500 m/s. Find the eccentricity of its orbit and its height above

the earth at apogee. [Hint: The earths radius is Re 6.4 106 m. You will also need to know

GMe , but you can find this if you remember that GMe Re2 = g.]

Remember that any gravitational orbit is described by the two values of its conserved quantities ` and E. That is, if we know ` at any point on the orbit, then this must be the value of

angular momentum at all points on the orbit. Additionally, we know

c

rmin/max =

1

where c = `2 ( ). We were given the height from the earth at perigee, hp . Since perigee is

the closest approach to the center of the earth, we can find rmin as rmin = Re + hp All we need

to calculate is the coefficient c, which is given by

Where we remember

c=

`2

`2

=

GMe m2

= GMe m, and we have written the reduced mass for the system as

=

mMe

m

=

m + Me 1 + mMe

m2

m

Me

m

where we have done a Taylor series approximation for mM 1. We will assume the satellite

is at least a few orders of magnitude less in mass than the earth, so we can approximate m.

Further, we know that at perigee the velocity is orthogonal to the radius (and maximal), so

` = mrmin vmax . Therefore we have

c=

2

2

rmin

vmax

GMe

2

2

rmin

vmax

1

rmin =

GMe 1 +

2

rmin vmax

=

1

GMe

Plugging in numbers, we get that 0.197 . With this information and the formula for c, we

can get

c

rmax =

1

9910 km

Subtracting o the radius of the earth, we have

hmax 3510 km

Page 7

5. Taylor 8.23 A particle of mass m moves with angular momentum ` in the field of a fixed

force center with

F (r) =

k

+

r2 r3

where k and are positive. (a) Write down the transformed radial equation (8.41) and prove

that the orbit has the form

r( ) =

c

1 + cos (

where c, , and are positive constants. (b) Find c and in terms of the given parameters,

and describe the orbit for the case that 0 < < 1. (c) For what values of is the orbit closed?

What happens to your results as 0?

a) Given a particle of mass m with angular momentum ` in the field of a fixed force center

with

F (r) =

k

+

r2 r3

(1)

we follow the same approach as Sect. 8.5 of Taylor and write down the transformed

equation in terms of u = 1r . First we can simply substitute

F (u) = ku2 + u3

(2)

Next by equation (8.41) from Taylor, the transformed radial equation for u as a function

of is

u ( ) = u

mF

` 2 u2

(3)

u = u +

mk m

2 u

`2

`

m

mk

= 1 + 2 u + 2

`

`

(4)

To solve this dierential equation, we can use an ansatz which is really just another way

of saying guess and check. Our ansatz for the orbit will be

u( ) =

1

+ cos(

c c

(5)

where c, , and are undetermined constants. Our job is to show that (5) is indeed a

solution of (4) and determine these constants. Plugging in the ansatz directly we have

c

2

cos(

cos(

) = 1 +

m

1

mk

+ cos( ) + 2

2

`

c c

`

m

mk

m

) = 1 + 2 c 2 + 1 + 2 cos(

`

`

`

(6)

Page 8

If we let

1 + m `2

c=

mk`2

r( ) =

c

1 + cos(

1+

m

`2

then the above equation (6) is satisfied for any value . Therefore our ansatz is a solution

of the equation (4), and the general orbit for the force (2) is given by

b) We have already found the constants c and . As the magnitude of cosine is never bigger

than 1, if 0 < < 1 (which we can also write as (0, 1)), then the orbit has no singularities

(i.e. the denominator is never zero) and has a periodicity of 2 . Note that > 1, so the

orbit is not precisely elliptic as the periodicity of the radius is smaller than the 2.

c) For the orbit to close (i.e., repeat exactly), after has completed some integer number of

periods, which well call p, we must also have r complete some integer number of periods,

which well call q. This condition mathematically is

2 p =

=

q

p

are integers, then the orbit will close after p revolutions.

= qp where p and q

When 0, we have 1 and therefore the orbit closes after exactly one revolution,

and it is a Kepler ellipse.

Page 9

6. Taylor 8.27 At time t0 a comet is observed at radius r0 traveling with speed v0 at an acute

angle to the line from the comet to the sun. Put the sun at the origin O, with the comet

on the x axis (at t0 ) and its orbit in the xy plane, and then show how you could calculate the

parameters of the orbital equation in the form r = c[1 + cos ( )]. Do so for the case that

r0 = 1.0 1011 m, v0 = 45 km/s, and = 50 degrees. [The suns mass is about 2.0 1030 kg.]

Given a comet of mass m orbiting the sun of mass M , at t0 we observe the comet with speed v0

at radius r0 traveling at angle with respect to the line with the sun. (This means that when

= 0 the comet is traveling directly toward the sun and when = the comet is traveling

directly away.) We know the orbital equation is of the form

c

r( ) =

(1)

1 + cos( )

and we must solve for the parameters c, , and .

First, we solve for c = `2 (GM m2 ). We know that the angular momentum is given by

` =

p r

= mv0 r0 sin

c=

GM

Note that the unknown mass m has dropped out of the equations. Next, we can use the

equation for the total energy (8.58) to solve for .

G2 m 3 M 2 2

1

2

2`

2E`2

= 1+ 2 2 3

GM m

= 1+

G2 M 2 m

E=

(2)

The total energy is given by the kinetic plus the potential energy

1

GM m

E = mv02

2

r0

=

1+

v0

G2 M 2

2

r0

and again the unknown mass m has dropped out. Finally, we can set our

at t0 we have = 0. Therefore the phase is given by

c

r0 =

1 + cos( )

1 c

= cos1 1

r0

(3)

coordinate so that

(4)

Page 10

where as m has dropped out of c and , it has also dropped out of . Using the numerical

values given in the problem, we can calculate

c = 8.87 1010 m

= 0.753

= 1.72

@mD

-1 1011

-2 1011

-3 1011

@mD

Page 11

7. Taylor 8.29 What would become of the earths orbit (which you may consider to be a

circle) if half of the suns mass were suddenly to disappear? Would the earth remain bound

to the sun? [Hints: Consider what happens to the earths KE and PE at the moment of the

great disappearance. The virial theorem for the circular orbit (Problem 4.41) helps with this

one.] Treat the sun (or what remains of it) as fixed.

Before the cataclysm, the potential energy of the earth is

U0 =

GmE mS

R

T0 =

U0

2

U0 U =

GmE (mS 2)

= U0 2.

R

The earths kinetic energy is unaected because the earth has the same velocity before and

after:

T0 T = T0 =

E =T +U =

U0

2

U0 U0

+

=0

2

2

The eccentricity of the orbit with E = 0 is = 1 (see the table on page 315), i.e. the orbit

becomes parabolic. The orbital angular momentum of the earth is unchanged, and so the orbit,

which was once circular, becomes precisely the parabolic orbit tangent to the old circular orbit,

with c 2c (see eqn. 8.64) and 1.

Page 12

8. Taylor 8.31 Consider the motion of two particles subject to a repulsive inverse-square

force (for example, two positive charges). Show that this system has no states with E < 0 (as

measured in the CM frame), and that in all states with E > 0, the relative motion follows a

hyperbola. Sketch a typical orbit. [Hint: You can follow closely the analysis of Sections 8.6

and 8.7 except that you must reverse the force; probably the simplest way to do this is to

change the sign of in Eq. (8.44) and all subsequent equations (so that F (r) = + r2 ) and

then keep itself positive. Assume ` 0.]

This makes the potential energy be U (r) = + r instead of the previously used r. So the

total energy, written in terms of only r changes from

to

1

`2

E = r 2 +

2

2r2 r

1

`2

E = r 2 +

+

2

2r2 r

Attractive force

(1)

Repulsive force

(2)

The first two terms are always positive, since r and r are squared. With the third term

positive in the case of a repulsive force, the total energy must always be positive.

Next we can follow through the derivation of section 8.6 in Taylor changing all the s to ,

and we find

and

`2 ( )

1 + cos

r( ) =

1+

2E`2

2

(3)

(4)

where and E are now both positive in these equations. That r( ) is a conic section, and

with > 1, due to positive E, it is a hyperbola. However, rather than curving around the

attractor, it curves away from a repeller.

Page 13

9. Taylor 8.34 Suppose that we decide to send a spacecraft to Neptune, using simple transfer

described in Example 8.6. The craft starts in a circular orbit close to the earth (radius 1 AU or

astronomical unit) and is to end up in a circular orbit near Neptune (radius about 30 AU). Use

Keplers third law to show that the transfer will take about 31 years. (In practice we can do

a lot better than this by arranging that the craft gets a gravitational boost as it passes Jupiter.

Taylors figure 8.13 of example 8.6, which is reproduced below, shows the transfer path to be

taken. It is an ellipise with perihelion at the Earths orbit and aphelion at Neptunes orbit.

The length of the semi-major axis is a = 30+1

2 AU .

To find the period of the transfer orbit, we use Keplers third law:

where

2 = 4 2

a3

2 = 4 2

a3

GM

(The period does not depend on the mass of the comet, only the total mass, M ). Since the

comets mass is negligibly small compared to the suns mass, it is a great approximation to

use M = Ms . So,

a3

2 = 4 2

GMs

Plugging in the constants:

Ms = 1.99 1030 kg

we get,

1 AU = 1.5 1011 m

= 1.93 109 s

The time taken for the transfer is one half of a full period, so

Ttransfer = 0.97 109 s = 30.63 yrs

Gratuitous trivia: While it is a straightforward task to convert the time in seconds to years

using a calculator, you should also get in the habit of estimating things without a calculator;

being able to quickly make order of magnitude estimates is a standard physicist skill. To help

with that, youll want to build up a set of useful facts. One such fact is that one year is

approximately 107 seconds. So, 109 s 30 years is easy without a calculator.

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