A new summer disaster movie tells the story of an astronomerwho
A new summer disaster movie tells the story of an astronomerwho notices an asteroid passing through a point in space, 19 Earth radii away from the surface of the Earth, witha velocity 100 m/s perpendicular to a line from the asteroid to the center of the earth. The astronomer figuresthat the asteroid has been captured by the Earthâs gravitational field, and so it is now on an elliptic orbit aroundour planet.In order to see if the asteroid poses a real threat to the planet, the astronomer does a quick calculation. Whatis the distance of closest approach for the asteroid, and what is its velocity when it is at that distance? Is it timeto panic?
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