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March 27, 2017

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Pluto’s minimum orbital velocity is 3.7 km/s. What are the values for vP (perihelion velocity) and vA (aphelion velocity)?

  • Physics - ,

    The minimum velocity occurs at aphelion (farthest from the sun). Using just the information you have provided, you cannot say what the perihelion velocity is. It can, however, be derived from the orbit eccentricity and the aphelion velocity (Va), easily using Kepler's second law:
    Va/Da = Vp/Dp
    Get the distance ratio Da/Dp from the orbit eccentricity, e = 0.249

    Da/Dp = (1+e)/(1-e)

  • Physics - ,

    Vp = Va(A/P) = 1.66

    1.66(3.7) = 6.14km/s

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