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Solar
System

AST
103
-‐
Fall
2010

Newton’s Second Law

F

a= or F = ma

m

Newton’s version of Kepler’s Third Law:

4 π 2

p =

2

a 3

G ( M1 + M 2 )

Since the mass of the Sun is so much greater

than the planets, we can simplify the equation:

4 π 2

p ≈

2

a 3

GM Sun

We can use observations of planetary motion

and the above equation to measure the mass of

the Sun.

pEarth = 1 year = 3.156 × 10 seconds

7

11

−11 −1 −2

G = 6.67 × 10 3

m kg s

4π a 2 3

M Sun ≈ Earth

2

≈ 1.99 × 10 kg

30

G p Earth

Summary

1. Examples using the Law of Universal Gravitation

2. Orbits and the Center of Mass

3.The Principle of Equivalence

4. Curved Space

5. Tests of Relativity

6. The Correspondence Principle

Motion in a Circle

• Motion of an object in a circle is an example of

acceleration causing a change in direction.

directed to the center of the curve along which an

object is moving.

Centripetal

Force

Direction

of motion

Examples using the Law of Universal Gravitation

2

v

a= v = 1020 m/s

r a = 0.00027 m/s2

= 9.8 m/s2

602

Weight on different planets

of the earth, how would our weight be

different?

same mass as the Earth, but double the

radius?

the radius and four times the mass as the

Earth?

Orbits and the Center of Mass

a force on each other...

object.

called the center of mass.

Instead, the Earth and Moon orbit a common

center of Mass.

Beyond Newton

Newton’s theory of gravity was the first to

successfully unite the motion of objects on Earth an

in space.

checked, and combined with other laws into a simple

unified theory we call “Newtonian Mechanics”.

objects than Kepler’s laws because it was a more

fundamental theory.

The General Theory of Relativity

cannot explain.

gravitational mass appear to be identical quantities.

theory of relativity in the early 20th century.

The Principle of Equivalence

The Principle of Equivalence

The principle of equivalence

can distinguish between motion due to acceleration

and an equivalent motion due to gravity.”

a gravitational field and a corresponding acceleration

of the reference system." (Einstein 1907)

between being on the surface of the Earth, and being

in a spaceship in deep space accelerating at 9.8m/s2).

Curved Space

Mass curves space, which distorts the motion of objects.

C: Circular Orbit

E: Elliptical Orbit

U: Unbound Orbit

• For Einstein, as objects move they follow the

curvature of space created by the presence of

mass.

curvature tells matter how to move.”

gravitational force between objects.

instead a result of our being unable to follow a

path through curved space, because of the

mechanical resistance of the Earth.

Testing the theory of relativity

• The many tests of the theory of relativity shows that it provides

a better description of gravity than Newton’s theory.

Test 1

the presence of a massive object.

This prediction, made in 1915, was first confirmed

during a solar eclipse in 1919.

1. 2.

Apparent

position

Actual

position

Test 2: The Orbit of Mercury

its orientation in space changes over time.

• The total precession is 574 arcseconds per century.

• 531 arcseconds explained by the influence of the

other planets, particularly Venus and Jupiter.

• 43 arcseconds was unexplained by Newton’s theory

of gravity.

another planet closer to the Sun called Vulcan,

which perturbed Mercury’s orbit.

• Einstein applied his theory of relativity to the problem.

• The 43 arcseconds of Mercury’s precession could be

explained by curvature of space caused by the Sun.

“...for a few days I was beside myself with joyous

excitement.”

Test 3: Time Dilation

• Fly one around the Earth and compare them again

There are two opposing effects of relativity that

cause the clocks to no longer be synchronized

travelled faster than the one left on the ground.

it was in a weaker gravitational field.

speed, so the clock on the plane was faster

compared to the one left on the ground.

Test 4: Gravitational Waves

masses will cause ripples in space called gravitational

waves.

other apeared to confirm this theory.

predicted by the loss of energy as gravitational

waves.

The Correspondence Principle

theory it replaces in cases where the previous theory

has been found to be correct.

Newtonian mechanics where the old theory provided

correct results.

it, but Newton’s theory is still often used for

convenience.

Summary

1. Examples using the Law of Universal Gravitation

2. Orbits and the Center of Mass

3.The Principle of Equivalence

4. Curved Space

5. Tests of Relativity

6. The Correspondence Principle

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