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Conceptual Questions

1. Two satellites A and B of the same mass are going around Earth in concentric orbits. The distance of

satellite B from Earths center is twice that of satellite A. What is the ratio of the tangential speed of B to

that of A?1

a) b) c) d) e)

ANS: B

Both satellites orbit the Earth due to their mutual gravitational force of attraction:

2. A little mass m is a certain distance from the centre of a globular cluster of masses and there is a certain

force of gravity, due to the cluster of masses, on m that pulls it toward the centre of the cluster. If

neither m or the centre of the cluster moves, but uniformly expands, the force of gravity on m from the

cluster will2

a) increase

b) decrease

c) remain unchanged

ANS: C

Newtons law of universal

gravitation assumes point masses. If the masses are sufficiently far away, the assumption is very

appropriate. At smaller distances, an objects centre of mass is used when calculating, and for perfectly

symmetric object (or groups of objects, like above), the centre of mass will be located at the centre of

the object. Hence, neither the distance nor the direction from clusters centre of mass changes in both

cases above, so neither does the gravitational force (Another way of looking at it is as some parts of the

cluster get closer, others get equally further and so both changes cancel each other out).

1

Peer Instruction A Users Guide, Mazur, Gravitation CT 3

2

Peer Instruction A Users Guide, Mazur

SPH4U1 - Dynamics Problems Set

3. Choose each of the following locations that could be considered as a non-inertial frame of reference:3

a) on a merry-go-round d) on the sun

b) on the equator e) at the centre of the milky way

c) on the north or south pole

ANS: A, B, C, D, E

A merry-go-round is spinning and so accelerating. The Earth spins on its axis and so every point on the

equator (and all others not on the poles) is spinning. The Earth itself is rotating around the Sun, and so

the poles are still accelerating. The Sun rotates around the centre of our spiral milky way galaxy, and our

galaxy is also accelerating due the gravitational attraction of all the other galaxies around it.

4. The Suns gravitational pull on the Earth is much larger than the Moons, yet the moon is mainly

responsible for the tides. Explain [Hint: Consider the difference in gravitational pull from one side of the

Earth to the other.]4

5. Will an object weight more at the equator or at the poles? [Hint: Consider the difference in motion of the

object and the parts of the Earth at the equator compared to the poles.]5

3

Almeida, F., Physics Department, Victoria Park C.I.

4 th

Physics 6 Edition, Giancoli, Chapter 5 Questions, #14

5 th

Physics 6 Edition, Giancoli, Chapter 5 Questions, #15

SPH4U1 - Dynamics Problems Set

6. The mass of Pluto was not known until it was discovered to have a moon. Explain how this discovery

enabled an estimation of Plutos mass.6

Problems

7. Earth is a satellite of the Sun with an orbit radius of 1.51011 m. What is the Suns mass?7

8. A satellite is in a circular orbit around an unknown planet. The satellite has a speed of 1.70104 m/s, and

the radius of the orbit is 5.25106 m. A second satellite also has a circular orbit around this same planet.

The orbit of this second satellite has a radius of 8.60106 m. What is the orbital speed of the second

satellite?8

6 th

Physics 6 Edition, Giancoli, Chapter 5 Questions, #24

7

Physics Book Two, Irwin Publishing, Chapter 2 Problems, #62a

8 th

Physics, 7 Edition, Cutnell & Johnson, Chapter 5 Problems, #27

SPH4U1 - Dynamics Problems Set

9. A satellite has a mass of 5850 kg and is in a circular orbit 4.1105 m above the surface of a planet. The

period of the orbit is two hours. The radius of the planet is 4.15106 m. What is the true weight of the

satellite when it is at rest on the planets surface?9

10. Four 9.5-kg spheres are located at the corners of a square of side 0.60 m. Calculate the magnitude and

direction of the total gravitational force exerted on one of the spheres by the other three.10

9 th

Physics, 7 Edition, Cutnell & Johnson, Chapter 5 Problems, #33

10 th

Physics 6 Edition, Giancoli, Chapter 5 Problems, #39

SPH4U1 - Dynamics Problems Set

11. At what period must a cylindrical spaceship with a diameter of 32 m rotate with if occupants are to

experience simulated gravity of 0.60g?11

rate of 1.00 rpm. The radii of the cylindrically shaped chambers have

the ratio . Each chamber A simulates an acceleration due to

gravity of 10.0 m/s2. Find the values for rA, rB and the acceleration

due to gravity simulated in chamber B.12

( )

( )( )

11 th

Physics 6 Edition, Giancoli, Chapter 5 Problems, #45

12 th

Physics, 7 Edition, Cutnell & Johnson, Chapter 5 Problems, #35

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