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2/27/2017 Kepler'sThreeLaws

CircularMotionandSatelliteMotionLesson4PlanetaryandSatelliteMotion

Kepler'sThreeLaws
Kepler'sThreeLaws
CircularMotionPrinciplesforSatellites
MathematicsofSatelliteMotion
WeightlessnessinOrbit
EnergyRelationshipsforSatellites

Intheearly1600s,JohannesKeplerproposedthreelawsofplanetarymotion.Keplerwasableto
summarizethecarefullycollecteddataofhismentorTychoBrahewiththreestatementsthat
describedthemotionofplanetsinasuncenteredsolarsystem.Kepler'seffortstoexplaintheunderlying
reasonsforsuchmotionsarenolongeracceptednonetheless,theactuallawsthemselvesarestill
consideredanaccuratedescriptionofthemotionofanyplanetandanysatellite.
Kepler'sthreelawsofplanetarymotioncanbedescribedasfollows:
Thepathoftheplanetsaboutthesunisellipticalinshape,withthecenterofthesunbeinglocated
atonefocus.(TheLawofEllipses)
Animaginarylinedrawnfromthecenterofthesuntothecenteroftheplanetwillsweepoutequal
areasinequalintervalsoftime.(TheLawofEqualAreas)
Theratioofthesquaresoftheperiodsofanytwoplanetsisequaltotheratioofthecubesoftheir
averagedistancesfromthesun.(TheLawofHarmonies)


TheLawofEllipses
Kepler'sfirstlawsometimesreferredtoasthelawofellipsesexplainsthatplanetsareorbitingthe
suninapathdescribedasanellipse.Anellipsecaneasilybeconstructedusing
apencil,twotacks,astring,asheetofpaperandapieceofcardboard.Tack
thesheetofpapertothecardboardusingthetwotacks.Thentiethestring
intoaloopandwrapthelooparoundthetwotacks.Takeyourpencilandpull
thestringuntilthepencilandtwotacksmakeatriangle(seediagramatthe
right).Thenbegintotraceoutapathwiththepencil,keepingthestring
wrappedtightlyaroundthetacks.Theresultingshapewillbeanellipse.An
ellipseisaspecialcurveinwhichthesumofthedistancesfromeverypointon
thecurvetotwootherpointsisaconstant.Thetwootherpoints(represented
herebythetacklocations)areknownasthefocioftheellipse.Thecloser
togetherthatthesepointsare,themorecloselythattheellipseresemblestheshapeofacircle.Infact,
acircleisthespecialcaseofanellipseinwhichthetwofociareatthesamelocation.Kepler'sfirstlaw
israthersimpleallplanetsorbitthesuninapaththatresemblesanellipse,withthesunbeinglocated
atoneofthefociofthatellipse.

TheLawofEqualAreas
Kepler'ssecondlawsometimesreferredtoasthelawofequalareasdescribesthespeedatwhich
anygivenplanetwillmovewhileorbitingthesun.Thespeedatwhichanyplanetmovesthroughspace
isconstantlychanging.Aplanetmovesfastestwhenitisclosesttothesunandslowestwhenitis
furthestfromthesun.Yet,ifanimaginarylineweredrawnfromthecenteroftheplanettothecenter
ofthesun,thatlinewouldsweepoutthesameareainequalperiodsoftime.Forinstance,ifan
imaginarylineweredrawnfromtheearthtothesun,thentheareasweptoutbythelineinevery31
daymonthwouldbethesame.Thisisdepictedinthediagrambelow.Ascanbeobservedinthe
diagram,theareasformedwhentheearthisclosesttothesuncanbeapproximatedasawidebutshort
trianglewhereastheareasformedwhentheearthisfarthestfromthesuncanbeapproximatedasa
narrowbutlongtriangle.Theseareasarethesamesize.Sincethe
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ofthesetrianglesareshortest
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whentheearthisfarthestfromthesun,theearthwouldhavetobemovingmoreslowlyinorderforthis
imaginaryareatobethesamesizeaswhentheearthisclosesttothesun.


TheLawofHarmonies
Kepler'sthirdlawsometimesreferredtoasthelawofharmoniescomparestheorbitalperiodand
radiusoforbitofaplanettothoseofotherplanets.UnlikeKepler'sfirstandsecondlawsthatdescribe
themotioncharacteristicsofasingleplanet,thethirdlawmakesacomparisonbetweenthemotion
characteristicsofdifferentplanets.Thecomparisonbeingmadeisthattheratioofthesquaresofthe
periodstothecubesoftheiraveragedistancesfromthesunisthesameforeveryoneoftheplanets.As
anillustration,considertheorbitalperiodandaveragedistancefromsun(orbitalradius)forEarthand
marsasgiveninthetablebelow.
Period Average T2/R3
Planet
(s) Distance(m) (s2/m3)
Earth 3.156x107s 1.4957x1011 2.977x1019
Mars 5.93x107s 2.278x1011 2.975x1019

ObservethattheT2/R3ratioisthesameforEarthasitisformars.Infact,ifthesameT2/R3ratiois
computedfortheotherplanets,itcanbefoundthatthisratioisnearlythesamevalueforalltheplanets
(seetablebelow).Amazingly,everyplanethasthesameT2/R3ratio.

Planet Period Average T2/R3


(yr) Distance(au) (yr2/au3)

Mercury 0.241 0.39 0.98


Venus .615 0.72 1.01
Earth 1.00 1.00 1.00
Mars 1.88 1.52 1.01
Jupiter 11.8 5.20 0.99
Saturn 29.5 9.54 1.00
Uranus 84.0 19.18 1.00
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Neptune 165 30.06 1.00
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Pluto 248 39.44 1.00

(NOTE:Theaveragedistancevalueisgiveninastronomicalunitswhere1a.u.isequaltothe
distancefromtheearthtothesun1.4957x1011m.Theorbitalperiodisgiveninunitsof
earthyearswhere1earthyearisthetimerequiredfortheearthtoorbitthesun3.156x
107seconds.)


Kepler'sthirdlawprovidesanaccuratedescriptionoftheperiodanddistanceforaplanet'sorbitsabout
thesun.Additionally,thesamelawthatdescribestheT2/R3ratiofortheplanets'orbitsaboutthesun
alsoaccuratelydescribestheT2/R3ratioforanysatellite(whetheramoonoramanmadesatellite)
aboutanyplanet.ThereissomethingmuchdeepertobefoundinthisT2/R3ratiosomethingthatmust
relatetobasicfundamentalprinciplesofmotion.InthenextpartofLesson4,theseprincipleswillbe
investigatedaswedrawaconnectionbetweenthecircularmotionprinciplesdiscussedinLesson1and
themotionofasatellite.

HowdidNewtonExtendHisNotionofGravitytoExplainPlanetary
Motion?
Newton'scomparisonoftheaccelerationofthemoontotheaccelerationofobjectsonearthallowed
himtoestablishthatthemoonisheldinacircularorbitbytheforceofgravityaforcethatisinversely
dependentuponthedistancebetweenthetwoobjects'centers.Establishinggravityasthecauseofthe
moon'sorbitdoesnotnecessarilyestablishthatgravityisthecauseoftheplanet'sorbits.Howthendid
Newtonprovidecredibleevidencethattheforceofgravityismeetsthecentripetalforcerequirementfor
theellipticalmotionofplanets?
RecallfromearlierinLesson3thatJohannesKeplerproposedthreelawsofplanetarymotion.HisLaw
ofHarmoniessuggestedthattheratiooftheperiodoforbitsquared(T2)tothemeanradiusoforbit
cubed(R3)isthesamevaluekforalltheplanetsthatorbitthesun.Knowndatafortheorbitingplanets
suggestedthefollowingaverageratio:
k=2.97x1019s2/m3=(T2)/(R3)
Newtonwasabletocombinethelawofuniversalgravitationwithcircularmotionprinciplestoshowthat
iftheforceofgravityprovidesthecentripetalforcefortheplanets'nearlycircularorbits,thenavalue
of2.97x1019s2/m3 couldbepredictedfortheT2/R3 ratio.Hereisthereasoningemployedby
Newton:
ConsideraplanetwithmassMplanettoorbitinnearlycircularmotionaboutthesunofmassMSun.The
netcentripetalforceactinguponthisorbitingplanetisgivenbytherelationship
Fnet=(Mplanet*v2)/R
Thisnetcentripetalforceistheresultofthegravitationalforcethatattractstheplanettowardsthesun,
andcanberepresentedas
Fgrav=(G*Mplanet *MSun )/R2
SinceFgrav=Fnet,theaboveexpressionsforcentripetalforceandgravitationalforceareequal.Thus,
(Mplanet*v2)/R=(G*Mplanet *MSun )/R2
Sincethevelocityofanobjectinnearlycircularorbitcanbeapproximatedasv=(2*pi*R)/T,
v2=(4*pi2 *R2)/T2
Substitutionoftheexpressionforv2intotheequationaboveyields,
(Mplanet*4*pi2 *R2)/(RT2)=(G*Mplanet *MSun )/R2
Bycrossmultiplicationandsimplification,theequationcanbetransformedinto
T2 /R3 =(Mplanet*4*pi2)/(G*Mplanet *MSun )
Themassoftheplanetcanthenbecanceledfromthenumeratorandthedenominatoroftheequation's
rightside,yielding
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T2 /R3 =(4*pi2)/(G*MSun )
Therightsideoftheaboveequationwillbethesamevalueforeveryplanetregardlessoftheplanet's
mass.Subsequently,itisreasonablethattheT2/R3ratiowouldbethesamevalueforallplanetsifthe
forcethatholdstheplanetsintheirorbitsistheforceofgravity.Newton'suniversallawofgravitation
predictsresultsthatwereconsistentwithknownplanetarydataandprovidedatheoreticalexplanation
forKepler'sLawofHarmonies.

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