Astronomy 201 

Problem Set ONE


  1. If the Earth is rotating, you, by standing on the Earth's surface, must be moving through space. [Ignore the Earth's orbital motion around the Sun in answering these questions.]
  • Assume for simplicity that Jupiter's orbit around the Sun is a perfect circle. Calculate the velocity with which Jupiter moves through space as it orbits the Sun? (Your final answer should be in km/sec; see links for Jan  14-18 for help; use appendix in text for needed numerical values.)

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  • If the plane of the Moon's orbit stayed absolutely fixed in space (the lunar, orbital plane is tilted about 5 degrees to the ecliptic plane), about how often could a solar and/or lunar eclipse occur?  What would your answer be if the tilt of the lunar orbital plane were 0 degrees? 90 degrees?

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  • Use Kepler's third law to calculate the orbital periods for objects orbiting the Sun at distances of a) 0.1 AU and b) 100 AU.

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  • Calculate:

  • the mass of Jupiter in units of the mass of the Earth ("how many Earth masses is Jupiter?")
    the diameter of Saturn in units of the diameter of the Earth
    the mass of the Moon in units of the mass of the Earth
    the mass of Vesta in units of the mass of the Earth
    the volume of Pluto in units of the volume of the Earth